Reflecting on God's Holiness
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
In February, I had the opportunity to attend the Cultivate women’s event with speaker and missionary Kelly Minter. She is a precious woman of God, and I so enjoyed hearing her speak.
Through her teaching in Matthew 5-7 (the sermon on the mount) God connected a few more dots for me on His holiness and His sacrifice and how it is perfectly aligned (like only God could do) with the Old Testament reading I was wrestling with at that time.
I began to think about how when God sent Jesus to be our savior, everything changed. In his sermon on the mount, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “I have not come to abolish (the law) but to fulfill it.” How powerful those words are when I think about the many, many chapters that I have read in the first several books of the Old Testament detailing the law. The very law that was established to give us a way to reconcile with God. Then, through his son, God just took care of it for us. He made a way.
During the time Jesus was teaching, the Pharisees were so busy trying to keep all the laws and go through all the motions that their hearts were not truly in it. Jesus called them out many times during his sermon on the mount. One example is in Matthew 6:5-7 “5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
In Jesus, God had sent them a savior, and many of them missed this. God didn’t want our rote obedience; he wanted our hearts. So he gave us Jesus to pay our price. 1 Corinthians 6:20
I felt this new connection to what we had been complaining about reading in the Old Testament stir in me as I listened to Kelly Minter teach this part of Matthew, and I couldn’t wait to come home and tell Craig about it. When Jennifer asked me to guest blog, God put this Old Testament-New Testament connection on my heart.
I am also struck by Matthew 27:51. It describes what happens to the curtain in the temple at the moment that the law is fulfilled. The moment that it was finished. The very moment that Jesus died in our place.
Many verses in Exodus-Numbers are spent describing the exactly how the curtain should be. These verses frustrated me, because I wanted to read something with a take away, a life application. For days, I wasn’t finding one. For example, Exodus 26:31-33 “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. 32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.”
Well, here is the connection that I would have missed if I ignored the Old Testament reading. In Matthew 27:51, when Jesus died on that old rugged cross, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split.” Wow. That blows me away.
All of this to say, when Craig and I asked, what is the significance of all these building dimensions, curtain making directions, and rules that were laboriously written out by Moses in the Pentateuch, God showed us. And He gave us the opportunity to reflect on just how Holy He is. If we listen close enough, even the Old Testament whispers the name of Jesus.
I love this song by Third Day, "Show Me Your Glory"
It's all about His Holiness.