Sunburns are normally a way of life for me. Fortunately, this year has been better than most. Only on a few occasions did I have what could be called mild burns, possibly due to my being outside less than usual, but more likely the careful and conscientious work of a caring wife who sees to it that I wear sunscreen.
But turning red is normal for me whenever I get any amount of sun. Someone told me once that it must be the Irish in me. But when I get a real sunburn, I practically glow in the dark. We don’t even need a nightlight in the house when I’ve not worn enough sunscreen!
All of this reminds me of Moses who, after extended visits with the Lord, would glow with an otherworldly light. In fact, so profound was his shining countenance that he had to cover his own face, veiling the aura of holiness so that others could look at him.
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.” (Exodus 34:29-35 ESV).
Consider some of the amazing things about the communion that Moses enjoyed with God. First, there is the fact that although the Lord is beyond a man’s ability to apprehend Him with human senses or comprehend Him with human reason (in other words, He is “transcendent”), God presented His infinite, and therefore spiritually “indigestible”, qualities in a manner that permitted Moses to experience God personally and deeply. This gentle touch and tiny glimpse comes from a God Who is otherwise simply too overwhelming for us to know. He nevertheless permits the hungry heart of humanity to see that there should be more to life than living for the moment, more to religion than ritual, and more to worship than praise choruses. God touched mankind through the life of Moses and introduced to the world a spiritual life that is the purpose for which each man and woman who has ever lived was created. In other words, you have been created to know God!
But just as amazing is the effect that the presence of God has upon the one who has entered it! The holy love of God radiated into the face of Moses and filled His countenance with divine energy. It not only worked on the inside of who he was, but literally emanated from him channeling authority and awe into his service for God! That holy “glow” emphasized that the One Who was working and speaking through Moses was God Himself and conveyed an awesome majesty upon the message that Moses then shared with the people of God.
Today’s Christian world needs a few more men and women like Moses. We need leaders who know both the ecstasy and the duty of fellowship with God in order to allow His truth to bring clarity to the vision of today’s church. We need those who have been met by the power and the wonder of intimacy with God to lead the church in engaging the needs of those around us with the life-saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, the whole world needs those who abide deeply in the presence of God to allow the light of His presence to shine through them into these dark and evil times, demonstrating that there is something real and incredibly authentic about the call of Christ.
The practical steps of fellowship with God are in our abiding in and obeying His Word, learning the wonder of true worship and dwelling in an ongoing attitude of prayer. Trusting His Son for salvation and then earnestly pursuing Him in everyday life produces a change in appearance in us – not physically, perhaps, but most definitely spiritually. And while it’s not exactly a sunburn, this is a “holy glow” we really don’t want to miss!
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 22 years. He is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.