Growing Kingdom People – “You’ll Burn Your Eyes Out!”
On August 21st Americans will be treated to an event of astronomical proportions. A total solar eclipse will be visible within a 70 mile swath from Oregon to South Carolina. The course of the eclipse is known as the “path of totality.”
I probably won’t be in the path of the eclipse. I’ll be working that day, and I have always been a bit nervous about staring into the sun, even with protective eye gear. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can burn the eye’s surface, and overexposure to the intense light of the sun can permanently damage the retina. I read somewhere that UV exposure from the sun can literally “cook your eyes right out of your head.”
Not a pleasant thought.
I know there are UV filters that are specifically designed to protect our eyes should we decide to look at the sun. I trust they are adequate.
I’m just not going to look. I’ll watch the video on the evening news instead.
The upcoming solar eclipse reminds me of an account in the Bible. When Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Law, he asked God for a favor. He said, “Now show me your glory!”
God said, “No way! You’ll burn your eyes out!”
Ok, He didn’t say that.
But He did say this…
“I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” (Exodus 33:19-23)
I don’t know if God’s glory will blind you, but it will kill you!
This means, spiritually speaking, we are always in the “path of totality.” We are always exposed to the awesome, burning, eternal glory of God. So why are we still standing?
It appears God doesn’t reveal His full glory to everyone, and when He does, He protects those who are in His presence with His hand. He hides them in the cleft of a rock (Yes, that’s where the line in the famous hymn “He Hideth My Soul” comes from).
But here is a very cool supernatural fact: it is possible for anyone to experience God’s glory in Jesus. The writer of Hebrews tells us the Son is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3). Not only this, but Jesus brings us into the presence of His Father, unashamed, through His cleansing blood. If it were not for Jesus, we couldn’t stand in the presence of God as we do, but because of the cross we come before Him in confidence and full assurance.
You might say we stand in the “path of eternal totality” and live to tell about it. We live because He died.
You can look into the solar eclipse on the 21st if you want. Be sure to wear authorized eye protection if you do.
Just make sure, the next time you come before God in prayer, you consider why you are able to do so without fear. It is because the perfect reflection of God’s glory took away your sin on the cross. Keep your eyes fixed on Him.
It’s ok. You won’t burn your eyes out.