After the depressing brokenness of the world in Section A, it was uplifting to see the gathering of God’s people foreshadowed (Section B). In particular, I was struck by the riches of God’s plans for the church, exemplified through Israel’s assembly at Mt. Sinai.
I’d never before noticed the importance of that particular gathering for the Israelites. They must’ve wondered at God’s promises to Abraham as they slaved away in Egypt. But at Mt. Sinai, they were finally a nation in their own right! It was also the first church gathering since the Garden. They were one people, in the one church, under the one God, where they heard God speak.
God clearly intended for all His people to be one without divisions. Yet we know that Israel was later divided. We also know, all too well, that the church today is often separated by race, gender, culture or class. I look forward to the day when the Church is truly unified under God. May we keep working towards that even in a world broken by sin.
An interesting thing I noted in chapter 3 was that God’s people did not actually see God at Mt. Sinai. Rather, they heard God as He spoke to them, which demonstrates the importance of God’s word. Ash goes as far as to say that, “Unless our first desire when we gather is to hear and heed the voice of God in his word, we have missed the foundation point of the church.” (p52) What a great reminder that is, as the world constantly pushes for Christians to update, revamp, modernise and make attractive the Gospel. The word of God, and only the word of God, should be “the driving force that shapes authentic church life.”
So in many ways, Mt. Sinai’s assembly foreshadowed the gathering of God’s people. But the gathering on that day was still at a distance from God, a far cry from the intimacy of God’s relationship with mankind in the Garden of Eden. Thank God that in the perfectly remade world, intimacy will again be possible!