There’s a line from an old movie bouncing around in my head. (Unfortunately, I can’t remember which movie!) A man and woman (who have some history) meet again:
The man says, "It’s good to see you."
And the woman replies, "It’s good to be seen."
As I read this chapter of Exodus, I thought about that little piece of dialogue. I was amazed (even though I know I’ve read this before!) to find this piece of information here: "Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank." (vs 9-11)
They saw God? This didn’t jive with one of my preconceived(?) learned(?) bits of info about God: that nobody can see Him and live. Now, I know full well that we’re going to run into that in a few chapters when Moses asks to see God’s glory. You remember the story, right? God puts Moses in the cleft of the rock and covers him with His hand. Then, He says that He’ll pass by and let Moses look at His backside (?!) since nobody can see His face and live.
But here, in Exodus 24, is the description of a feast that Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy other people ate in God’s presence! Wow! I am actually quite jealous. I can’t imagine what that would have been like.
And here’s what this tells me about God: He longs to be seen. He longs to be known. God isn’t out to hide from us. Rather, we know from the story in Genesis, that it’s we who are hiding from Him! He longs for us to know Him just as well as He knows us. He longs for us to see Him just as well as He sees us.
What’s even more amazing to realize is what this dinner party must have meant to those people on the mountain. They had just come out of slavery in Egypt, where there were more "gods" than you could count or keep track of. And while they had idols — statues and things to represent their gods — they had never actually seen any of those gods. (And that would be because they didn’t exist...)
They worshiped all those gods blindly. They had never actually seen them, and they never would. But Israel’s God was different. He met the people who worshiped Him — personally! He invited them up on the mountain for a meal. He spent time with them. I mean, to these people, this must have been something more incredible than they could have ever imagined. Now, when they went to worship "their God," they could put "a face" with "a name." This was a God they had seen, had talked to, had eaten with.
Today, God still doesn’t ask us to worship Him blindly. He always connects seeing with believing. Yes, He is (literally) the only God in heaven and earth. But He is also the only God who will come to you in person, who will spend time with you, and who longs to be seen and known.