External vs Internal God

Psalm 32, Deuteronomy 1:19-46, Hebrews 10:19-25

I wonder sometimes about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.  They had that pillar of cloud/fire leading them.  How could they doubt when God told them to go in and take the land?  And yet, it seemed so easy for them to believe the words of the spies instead of the word of God.

And then in Hebrews we see them drawing near in confidence — Hebrews 10:19-22

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

In Hebrews we see words like “confidence” and “full assurance”.

I was thinking this morning that one difference between the Old and New Testament is where God is in our lives.  In the OT, He’s an external God — leading them visibly by cloud and fire, seated visibly (in some sense) on the cherubim.  Despite that, the people had trouble following Him.  In Deut 1, Moses retells how they refused to follow into the land even though He was leading them, and then they plow ahead into the land, even when He’s not leading them.  It seems a simple enough lesson — let’s only go where and when is leading!

In the New Testament, God indwells us.  His Holy Spirit lives in us.  Is that what gives us confidence?


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