Da Lifnei mi atah Omed - Is often inscribed over the Ark in many Synagogues. Know before whom you stand. I stumbled on that and it rolled over and over in my mind as I was studying the Bible. It reminded me where Paul tells the Corinthians, we see through a glass darkly, we know in part but a time is coming where we will know as we are known of God.
All through the bible, God gives us instruction that "they might know that I am the Eternal." He gave them His Sabbaths, and He held things back from them and He even sent His Son to them so that they would know before whom they stood.
But they didn't know. So often we don't know the One before whom we stand. How many times did Christ ask, Don't you understand? Do you know who I am? Do you hear what I'm saying? Can you hear me? Are you listening?
In Psalms 50 there is a chilling reminder that it is not beyond our capacity to assume we know and understand God because we think He is like we are.
"These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." (Psalms 50:21 KJV) Or as it is rendered by Samuel Horsley, "These things ye have done and thought that I AM (Eheyeh) is such an one as thyself."
The statement is proceeded by pointing out that they hated instruction and ignored His Word, slandered their own brethren and stole and lied and lived contrary to the laws and ways of God. And yet, these were people who knew his covenant and his law. People who bore his name and assumed that they were close to God. People who lived contrary to the ways of God unaware they were falling dreadfully short of the requirements.
One would have to come to that conclusion by making a determination that wickedness does not lie within themselves but only all around them and in their piety of creating a religious aura about themselves, they missed the point of their religion and did not know before whom they stood. It means they didn't get to Know God on His terms. They misunderstood because they perceived his intent through a carnal morass of all things finite.
He is a God of infinity. He sees all things through to their conclusion from the beginning. He knows the destination of every path we choose. He not only sees what we're doing but he knows our intent in our doing it. We are the ones who fall short in our assessment of God. We are the ones whose heart is deceitful above all things because we lie to ourselves best and most of all. We seldom consider the end of a matter, where it will all end up. We assure ourselves we know what we're doing, We convince ourselves that we're using sound judgment. We rationalize immorality based on circumstances and acceptability. We create complicated exceptions where God uses simplistic terminology.
Thou shalt not. Do Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. Fear God. Keep the Commandments.
He pulls back the wrapping and exposes the contents. He lives in reality but we surround ourselves with exception clauses, postulations, conditions prerequisites, fine print, stipulation and compromise and are shocked to find He wasn't negotiating.
If we stand on His ground, we take our shoes off. If we sign the contract, we've made a blood pact. He was willing to lay it all on the line for us... and did.
Da Lifnei mi atah Omed
Know Before Whom You Stand