“Look, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God has commanded me, so that you may do them in the land which you are entering to possess. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God [is to us] whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation has statutes and judgments so righteous (upright, just) as this whole law which I am [a]placing before you today? – Deuteronomy 4:5-8
God was nigh unto them in respect of relation, being their covenant God and Father, and they his sons and daughters, to whom the adoption belonged; and with respect to place and presence, his tabernacle being in the midst of them, the seat of his Shechinah, or divine Majesty, being in the most holy place, between the cherubim over the mercy seat; and he going before them in the pillar of cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, and who might be applied unto at all times for whatsoever they stood in need of; and who was always near unto them, to give them advice and counsel, help and assistance; to hear their prayers, and communicate unto them things temporal and spiritual they stood in need of: and so the Lord is nigh to all that call upon him in faith, with fervency, and in sincerity and truth; and herein the glory and greatness of a people, as of Israel, lies, in being nearly related to God, a people near unto him, both as to union and communion; and in having a communication of good things from him. – Gill’s Exposition
We place the blame on the God who is distant, but He, with eyes of fire, looks directly into our hearts melting all our excuses exposing our lack of desire for His nearness. It is one of the greatest tragedies that we as believers in the 21st century consider God aloof and distant. We must allow the Spirit to expose and search our hearts that it may be clear to us just why we have settled for the distant God when the story of history clearly shows God’s increasingly radical steps to draw near to us. Why then do we do not believe that He is near to us?
The Mark of every church, family and believer is God’s presence in their midst – sets them apart from everyone.
God’s laws are intended to enable Israel to flourish in concrete, this-worldly ways, but also— and even more fundamentally—to guide us in creating a society animated by justice and care for the powerless. Moses’ instructions remind us that (sometimes) numbers matter, but spiritual and ethical greatness matter far more; his subtle weaving of law and divine presence offer us a potent promise, one which Jews have carried with them wherever we have gone: that “God draws near in the law that God gives.”
- Christians Can’t Help Abiding in Christ (christianitytoday.com)