God's had me in the book of Exodus for both homeschool and Sunday school. The girls and I have studied from Abraham to the exodus from Egypt all year long a little at a time. We're about in the home stretch with three more weeks of schooling left and we're up to the plagues.
We're working through one plague at a time and learning that all those Egyptian gods we studied were systematically defeated by Jehovah through the plagues. God was also using the opportunity to earn quite a worldwide reputation for Himself.
It all starts with Moses being called to a curiously burning bush. God's first words to Moses are,"Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." (Ex. 3:5) God's instructions continue with, "Just tell all of Israel that 'I AM WHO I AM' sent you. This is my name forever, and this is My memorial name to all generations."
Did you see it? Amazing, huh? God's holiness bars us from approaching Him, yet God approaches us and introduces Himself. He wants us to know Him forever and remember His name to all generations. Us, who can't come near, lest we defile holy ground. He wants us and goes to great lengths to tell us, show us, redeem us. It's stunning, really.
God gets very busy introducing Himself in a big, huge way, too. It appears that God, from his throne in heaven, begins to have Himself a little fun by wreaking havoc on earth. But there's so much more to it than everything on earth going crazy, Pharaoh bribing Israel with his wealth to leave, PLEASE and NOW, and people (Israelite and Egyptian alike) wondering, "Er, what just happened?!" Well, God, because of His long-standing, unforgotten covenant (and since He now has everyone's attention), is more than happy to let Israel and Egypt know why He's doing what He's doing.
Are you ready for this?
6:1 ~ ...you shall know that I am the Lord your God...
6:5 ~ ...the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord...
6:17 ~ ...by this you shall know that I am the Lord...
8:10 ~ ...that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God...
8:22 ~ ...in order that you may know that I, the Lord, am in the midst of the land...
9:14 ~ ...so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth...
9:29 ~ ...that you may know that the earth is the Lord's.
10:2 ~ ...that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your sons, and of your grandsons, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.
They're all so spread out that they're easy to miss. But when you pull them all all together like this, it seems a little bit ridiculous. He wants us to know Him. All that drama, just for us. It's quite an introduction, isn't it. Bloody Nile, Frogs, Gnats, Insects, Pestilence, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and finally Death of every firstborn.
That must have been some demonstration of might. What does He want us to know about him? What did God reveal about himself through the plagues? It's an important message, because God went to great lengths to communicate it.
I'm Holy. That's it. He's holy. "Hi. I'm your God. I'm holy."
It makes me want to do more than take my shoes off at the burning bush. It makes me want to run in the opposite direction. And Fast!
I'm not alone here, either. There are a few more times that come to mind when an Ancient was privileged to see God in all his holiness.
...I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings...and one called to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory." And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined!"
And Peter, when he first met Jesus, heard his teachings and saw him do the miraculous, fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
When was the last time you saw the Lord in all of his holiness? Have you ever crumbled at the feet of Jesus, pained by the presence of his holiness? Has it occurred to you that in light of the holiness of God, that you are RUINED and found yourself crying out, "WOE IS ME!"?
His holiness is heavy ... dreadful to me. If it is the sole thing I know of God, it does not look good for me.