Morning & Evening Devotional Reading–
by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and edited by W. C. Neff
“[God’s] people who are near to Him.'”
The time period of the Old Covenant was characterized by distance. When God appeared in the burning bush to his servant Moses, he said, “Don’t come any closer, and take your shoes off of your feet.” Later, when God revealed himself to his people on Mount Sinai, he commanded them to “set boundaries around the base of the mountain.”
This same distance was displayed in the sacred worship of the tabernacle and the temple; the thought of distance was always prominent. Most of the people never entered even the outer court. And the inner court was only accessible to the priests. In terms of the Most Holy Place, only the High Priest was to enter– and that was only once each year. It was as if the Lord in those early ages would teach man that sin was so utterly loathsome to him that he must treat men as lepers and put them outside the camp.
When the gospel came, we were placed on quite a different footing. The word “go” was exchanged for “come.” Distance gave way to nearness. We (gentiles) who used to be far off from the intimate workings of God, were brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ. Incarnate Deity has no wall of fire about it. Jesus says, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” This is the joyful proclamation of God as he appears in human flesh. The leper is no longer told to keep his distance.
What a state of safety and privilege is this nearness to God through Jesus! Do you know it by experience? If you know it, are you living in the power of it? This nearness is truly marvelous! And yet it is to be followed by a time of even greater nearness still when it will be said, “The tabernacle of God is with men, and He dwells among them.” O Lord, may that time soon come. [M&E]