I’ve been making my way through the One Year Bible. Clara had a rough go of it in February, which led to me being behind. So while I shouldn’t be in Exodus anymore, I’m still reading about Moses and the Israelites’ adventures at Mount Sinai.
I’ve read the Bible before and studied it in depth for three years at seminary. Earlier this week, though, I came across a passage that stuck out to me for the first time. After Moses receives the Ten Commandments, he confirms that covenant with the people. Part of that confirmation included 70 elders going up on the mountain and eating a meal in God’s literal presence. Exodus 24 recounts the story:
Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Exodus tells us that they saw God and then they had a meal together. How crazy is that? Not only did God allow these men to see him, but he just sort of hung out in their presence while they ate.
This passage caught me off guard because I was in awe of the scene. Regular people just hanging out on the mountain of God. Regular people just doing regular things in the presence of the creator of the universe.
As I thought about it some more, though, I realized that I shouldn’t have been as impressed as I was. Sure the elders got to see God and most of my regular stuff doesn’t take place around glowing lapis lazuli. But I get to do regular stuff in the presence of the creator of the universe every day. God’s presence is no longer contained to a mountain, an Ark or a temple; he’s everywhere and his Spirit resides within me.
The scene in Exodus is filled with fantastic imagery that would definitely make my mouth drop if I were to experience it in real life. However, why am I any less astounded by the fact that God is present in my life every day, in everything I do? Sure, I’d like the big scene with the flashes of lightning, but we shouldn’t take God’s everyday presence in our lives for granted.
For the Israelites going to the temple was a special journey, one that sometimes took months of preparation. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence to be in the presence of God, or at least near the building where God’s presence resided. Now God is literally everywhere we are; it’s so commonplace that we forget how amazing it truly is. We can’t miss out on the miracle that is God’s presence, though.
Intentionally inviting God into our days and our experiences helps us remember that he is already there. It may just be work, driving kids around or eating dinner, but all of those can be holy moments if we recognize that God is present with us.
What helps you recognize God’s presence in your everyday experiences?