Face Plant

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Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. (Exodus 34:8)

In the Bible there are basically two ways to respond to a God appearance:  1) dive to the dirt or 2) die.  When God pulled back the curtain on Isaiah, the prophet totally freaked: “Woe to me!” he cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!”  [Translation: “AHHHH!  I’m toast!  Nobody sees the Wizard and lives!”]  It was only because God force-fed him a Kingsford briquet that Isaiah survived to tell about it.

Not everybody was so lucky.  The Old Testament landscape is riddled with the bodies of those who tried to sneak a peek at the Nuclear Glory.  God is pretty clear on this issue.  He told Moses point blank: “No one may see me and live.”  Back then it seems the best strategy in dealing with the Almighty was to keep your head down, your eyes closed, and hope he was gunning for somebody else.

Apparently God has mellowed out a lot since then.  For a while during the Enlightenment, he took a distant vacation.  The universe was a kind of sticky note reminding everybody that he was out there somewhere but not to worry about any unannounced visits.  These days he’s reappeared as the Good Buddy, hanging out, blessing our self-esteem, and basically spending his time simply relating to us.  Gone are the flaming eyes of death; gone, the tree shattering voice; gone, the dark clouds, the crashing thunder, and the freshly laundered lightning look.  Now we’ve got Fred Rogers.  Nice guy, but not exactly worship material.

Sometimes I long for the good old days when God was a god.  Back when he still trampled out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.  We’d probably have to trade away some of our comfortable familiarity with him (no more “How’s it shakin’ Jesus?”), but in return we might get a God that would actually impress us enough to warrant a face in the dirt.  From what I read in the Bible, there’s going to be a whole lot of shakin’ going on one of these days.

I might practice a little, just in case.  But I’m going to use clean dirt.

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2 Responses

  1. It is interesting to note all of the “god” encounters everyone says they have these days yet none seem to “fall” into the Daffy Duck melt down experiences you read about it the bible … seems to me (I would have to agree) that perhaps the tendency is to take the “Let’s make a Deal” mentality and go for what’s behind curtain #3 rather than door #1 knowing that if we do take #1 we’ll get stuck with The Toaster.

  2. People have always reacted in strange ways when dealing with God. When God was trying to convince Moses that he was the man for the ultimate Tour Guide position by demonstrating the cool tricks Moses could show Pharoh, Moses really acted in a bizar manner. For instance here was the creator of the entire world, the Alpha and Omega Himself, chatting it up with Moses and Moses gets afraid, Not of God but of a dumb snake that appears out of his stick. Scripture says, and Moses ran from it! Here he is talking to a being so powerful that just His mere prescences causes your face to glow like a light bulb and a mere snake makes you high tail it out of the area?

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