Rev. Kimberly Orr, Associate Pastor
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
(Genesis 3:8 NKJ)
“And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.” (Exodus 12:22 NKJ)
O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me. (Jeremiah 20:7 NKJ)
As we draw near to the celebration of Passover and remember the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there is an aspect of our relationship with God that I think is often neglected: that God desires an intimate relationship with humans. When the word “intimacy” is used in our modern context we often immediately think of sexuality, but in the Bible, intimacy is anchored in the spiritual realm. From the very beginning, we see the LORD “walking” with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening. This metaphor of “walking” is one that that indicates a close relationship, a shared life, and an intimacy of personhood–sharing life to life. When our first parents turned away from God, that immediate intimacy with our Creator was broken, and God has been pursuing and wooing us ever since!
As we look at the Passover story in Exodus, we notice that the Passover meal was to be eaten inside, behind closed doors. Inside, the people of Israel were safe behind doors bespeckled with the blood of the lamb. This was an intimate space into which the LORD called His people: an intimate gathering with family and neighbors around a dinner table to come and dine with Him. What better way to get to know someone and cement relationship than at a table around food?
The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the LORD’s intimate pursuit of him in a way that indicates that the LORD had, like a persistent lover, eventually overwhelmed his personal inclinations to believe himself unworthy or unprepared to speak on behalf of the LORD. Remember in Jeremiah chapter 1, Jeremiah doubted his ability and tried to wiggle out of the clear call that God had placed on his life. We also see in the text (Jeremiah 20:7) that Jeremiah’s acceptance of God’s call to intimacy cost him something. It cost him the seeming stability of his social structure (family, friends, and peers) among a people who had abandoned their walk with the LORD. Jeremiah began to realize that the intimacy he found with the LORD at a deep spiritual level was the solid rock upon which he stood when the people around him walked away because of his dedication to the LORD.
For us today, that love relationship with our LORD and Creator is still foundational. We can find safety in the shadow of His wings behind the protective door of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. However, because of life’s challenges, some of us find it difficult to allow the LORD to love us at a deep and personal level. Like Jeremiah, we resist the intimate love of our Creator because of our own brokenness. However, if we will but allow Him to come and sit down with us at the table of our heart—for, behold He stands and knocks!–over time we will be able to sing with the great hymn writer Charles Wesley, “Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly, While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high. Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past; Safe into thy haven guide; O receive my soul at last.”
May your relationship with the LORD grow deeper during this Passover season!