To say the least, Yahweh’s chats with his ancient friends were subject to one devastating concern, namely that people who have a one-to-one with him die. At least they could have expected to be changed – something has to die or be discarded. Jacob’s experience on the journey between Padanaram and Canaan lights our way to a better conversataion environment and to content that eclipses the chats of antiquity.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.Genesis 32:30
Moses, amid terror and dangerous natural upheavals, chatted with God and survived. Why do Christians cling to the idea that God devours people who approach him, if they make mistakes in doing so? It could not be anything wrong with God. By the way, who was it that died trying to approach God that caused the apprehension in the first place?
Back to my opening thought. Chat and die. The chat in Eden did not go well, ending in exclusion and futility. The Sinai chat, with the covenant at the centre, ended as death sentence with no defence or appeal. The chat with Abraham hits bullseye with a commendation and two oaths.
You’ve not withheld your son
And said, By myself have I sworn, says the LORD, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, yours only son:
Your descendants will be numerous
That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
An international blessing
And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.Genesis 22:16-18
It can only be a view of God that is divorced from the wisdom of God’s justice. Not only is God talking directly to us, is fully acquainted with our experience and language, he is speaking freedom, righteous standing, and eternal parental love and permanent grace. He is not condemning anyone, neither Jew nor Gentile, neither insider nor alien.
One problem with the believer’s chats is that the language of ancient chats are in a language that leaves no doubt about effectiveness. Why so many died without having a chat with God is no mystery. The law does not speak righteousness. It is not God’s righteousness that people are declared guilty and condemned to death. You will cetainly die is not a condemnation. It is a prescription for the only way to fellowship with God. Every day, year after year, the tabernacle service continued with the law declaring everyone guilty and enforcing silence on the accused. Let us face it. The law did not begin speaking condemnation because Paul says so. The messenger of that covenant (commands, statutes, and judgments) is an accuser/prosecutor, while the messenger of our covenant turns the hearts of children to their fathers and vice versa.
It comes as no surprise when we see that God shifts his chats over to his son. The word incarnate comes to give life through his own death. It is the only way to life. P’niel (face of EL, (פניאל) brings us to the face of God that is not angry.
In the face of Christ light beams. In the Holy Spirit every truth become accessible and help to walk in the light is guaranteed.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.2 Corinthians 4:6