Daily Worship

When God socially distanced himself

January 31, 2021 1
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Image credit: Unsplash

Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 (NIVUK)

15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire any more, or we will die.’

17 The Lord said to me: ‘What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.’

Today’s reading plunges us into a discussion about holiness and perhaps even freedom. It’s a text that describes the changing attitudes of a nomadic people who find themselves becoming settlers in a strange land. Do they adapt to the customs and cultures of those around or do they keep their distance? Verse 16 suggests that they asked God to keep his distance, his presence seems to terrify them. God in his otherness and holiness is too much for the people to bear. This is the beginning of prophets now being given the responsibility to speak for God.

However down through the centuries in times of spiritual awakening whole communities find the presence of God has come close to them and his Spirit is at work in hearts; no prophets are needed for each person can hear the voice of God saying “This is the way walk in it.” (Isaiah 30: 21).

PRAYER:

Thank you Father
That you are not distant
You have always longed to be close to your people
Forgive us when we shy away from your presence
When we hide from you 
When we make ourselves 
Distant from your voice
When we ignore the signs and symbols of grace
When we are fearful of your presence coming among us
When we look for the warmth
Without the fire
When we look for the 
Wholeness 
Without the holiness
When we search for your promises
But ignore your words

Come purifying fire, Spirit of God
Burn up the dross in our lives
Make us into a holy people
Holy and approachable
Loving and compassionate
Living out justice and mercy
Full of laugher and joy
Knowing your presence fills our hearts