Vaal, Part III

In the Star Trek episode about Vaal (see Vaal, Part I; Vaal, Part II), Akuta was the only person who received communication from the deity. In the Torah, there seems to be a tension between democracy and restricted access to God.

On the one hand, everyone could consult God, as we see in Exodus 33:7:

“Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp” (NRSV).

On the other hand, God set up a system in which only the high priest could enter into the most holy place, and that occurred only once a year (Leviticus 16). According to Exodus 28:35, he had to wear bells when he went into the sanctuary so that he might come out of it alive. He couldn’t just stroll on in, for he had to alert God that he was coming. The message is that God is holy. As God was quoted as saying after the deaths of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu, “Through those who are near me I will show myself holy, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).

How should we regard God? Should our relationship with him be casual, since Christians, after all, are children of God (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). Some have argued that “Abba” means “Daddy.”

Or should we tread softly when we approach God, realizing that he is a king who holds our lives in his hands? As Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.” It’s like if you were to meet with the President or corporate executive: say what you need to say, and leave. You don’t want to waste this important person’s time or say something stupid.

Any thoughts?

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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5 Responses to Vaal, Part III

  1. xHWA says:

    It’s a fine line to walk. I think you will find ample evidence that God desires to be recognized for what He truly is – a great and awesome King without peer. Yet, on the other hand, the Bible says “go boldly before the throne”, and Jesus tore down the veil that separates, and we are God’s temple, and He should be in us in Spirit. How does one approach that? Is it merely physical? I don’t think it is.

    I think we should undoubtedly show respect and deference to God! However, He is our Father, and that is close and loving.

    I personally feel it is unfortunate that our modern casual society has torn down all layers of formality so that we no longer understand what real respect is. Even in the 1800’s the American family was a comparatively formal place. The father was always dressed nicely for his family, children were taught to always treat parents with respect, etc. Now, if we can get people to stop swearing in the presence of children it’s an accomplishment.

    Here’s how I feel in short: love and respect God with all your being, love your neighbor as yourself, and you have done all God wants. Our internal respect for God in keeping His temple a clean place for His Spirit to rest is more important than outward displays of formality.
    But at the same time I do think wearing whatever is a person’s best to church would be a great way for a person to start training their self to respect God.

    That’s my opinion anyway.


  2. James Pate says:

    Hi XHWA,

    I agree with you on dressing neatly for church. I fear what would happen, though, if that were emphasized too much in church, since it can lead to people looking down on others who don’t dress as nicely. I think it should be an individual thing, or something to that effect.


  3. xHWA says:

    Sure. It can be abused. I think it often is.
    I just see it as a best practice. Like, if you have two pairs of jeans to your name, wear the better pair to church. Or, don’t wear the Def Leppard t-shirt to services, wear something else.


  4. James Pate says:

    I know someone who wore a Tigger T-shirt to a worship service, and the sermon was on how we should all dress up for church! 😀


  5. xHWA says:

    HA! that’s funny!



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