Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Which Shadow Are You Living Under?

At the end of long season of herding cats, also known as Israel, the People of God, Moses was in the tent of meeting talking with God face-to-face. Let’s be honest, he was bargaining with God, much like Abraham did as he stood overlooking Sodom and Gomorrah centuries before.

To protect His people, God was deliberating with His friend the merits of allowing them to continue their journey through the desert without His presence. Their rebellious ways were likely to get them destroyed if God hung around.

Moses wasn’t having any of it. He needed the presence of God in his life. And, he knew the people did as well.

At the end of the conversation, he asks (or rather tells…demands) God to show him His glory.
God’s response is to offer all of His goodness, but to protect Moses from seeing His face.
As His glory nears, He places Moses in the cleft of a rock and covers him with His hand until He passes. Then He allows Moses to see His goodness which, as described in Exodus 33, is richer in meaning than the simple word alone conveys.

This story always makes me think of these words, found in Psalm 91. Though commentators are not clear on who exactly penned these magnificent words, tradition holds that it was likely Moses.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. [Psalm 91:1-4 NLT]

How interesting that God’s refuge protects us from the slings and arrows of the enemy and His refuge protects us even from Himself. We are protected from God’s wrath. We are protected from God’s judgment. 

How many times in my life have I felt like I lived in the shadow of His disappointment, not understanding that the shadow of His wings is a completely different place.

Most of us have had a busy December, working to make Christmas special for the churches we are blessed to serve. Of course, that probably means we are a little weary and in need of rest and refuge. As we hurtle toward the New Year, I’d like to invite you to take a closer look at which shadow you dwell in. Shadow living is awesome when it’s the right shadow!

I’ll leave you with these words, written by the great hymn writer Fanny Crosby.

He Hideth My Soul
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
  A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
  Where rivers of pleasure I see.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
  That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
  And covers me there with His hand,
    And covers me there with His hand.