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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: April 26, 2023

Exodus 34:29-35:21

Spiritually speaking, there’s a kind of chemical reaction that occurs when righteousness and sin collide. That chemical reaction being fire and heat. Sin cannot handle the presence of righteousness. It can’t survive in its presence, and so the moment sin comes into contact with it, the heat and light of righteousness overwhelm sin and burn it into nothing.

This is something that God’s people halfway recognized throughout their history. It’s why Isaiah wanted God to depart from him when the Lord revealed His glory in the temple. It’s why Peter begged Jesus to depart from him when Christ revealed His divine nature through the miraculous catch of fish. And it’s why the Israelites were afraid to draw near Moses in our first reading for today. “If we get near Moses, the righteousness of God that has soaked into his face is going to consume us, so we’d better keep our distance. Moses is apparently holy enough to withstand the burning fire of God’s perfection, but we aren’t.” So they thought.

It was, of course, true that Moses was able to withstand the fire of God’s righteousness, but it wasn’t because Moses was sinless. It was because the fire of God’s righteousness had invited Moses into His presence, invited Him to be cleansed, to receive all the light and warmth of God’s righteous love but none of His wrath and consuming rage. And now, through the same blood of Jesus that gave Moses the right to draw near God, you have the right to draw near as well.

So don’t be afraid to come near your God. Don’t be afraid to hear Christ’s word, to receive and remember the waters of baptism, to eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood that won eternal life for you upon the cross, to call upon the Consuming Fire Jesus has invited you to call your Father. Come receive Christ’s forgiveness and mercy. Come leap into the arms of the God who has incinerated your every sin and clothed you in the holiness of God. Come receive the light that will make your face glow but will not make it burn. It is true that sin bursts into flames when it comes into contact with the righteousness of God. Sin does, but because Christ has destroyed your sins, you won’t.

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