I am back in Colossians again. How many times have I read through the New Testament? I have no idea really. I read through the Bible about every year and have since 1989 and in that time, I have read through the New Testament at least four times to every one time I read through the Old. My reading has not been on some kind of schedule; I just read, a chapter or two in the Old Testament, a chapter from Psalms, and a chapter from the New Testament. Sometimes I don’t get past a verse because it jumps right off the page at me and I must stop and chew on it and absorb what He is speaking to me of Himself. I’m not married to a reading plan—I am betrothed to the Author. I am passionately in love with Him. One day He is going to call me to the wedding feast He has been preparing for me and I want to know Him as much as I possibly can before that. He has given me His whole story from beginning to end so I am very intimately acquainted with Him. He’s written me into that story and I am keenly aware that my story matters, every bit as much as the stories of the men and women in the Bible mattered and still matter today. I am a part of His story.
There are some portions in His living, active, energizing Word that stop me in my tracks every time and Colossians 1 is one of those portions. Ephesians 1 and 2 would also be included. It is as though when I begin to read these passages, I leave this temporal place and am transported to the above-the-line Heavenly place, a Holy of Holies spacious room. I can barely breathe, the air is heavy with the weight of His glory—the “Kabod” of Him. When Moses boldly declared “Show me Your Glory” God consented, putting Moses into a cleft in the rock so that He couldn’t look directly at Him because looking directly at the glory of God meant death—not as punishment, but as protection—because our earthly eyes cannot absorb that kind of light. That light won’t merely blind us as gazing at the sun will do; it will literally kill us. But God honored Moses’ outrageous request and as He passed by, this is what God proclaimed about Himself—This is how God sees God!
“The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Ex. 34:6-7).
Colossians 1 is weighty with His Kabod. In Colossians 1, I am in the presence of this same God who passed by Moses and proclaimed Who He is—the IAM that I AM—merciful, gracious, patient, abundant in goodness and truth, merciful to thousands. He forgives my iniquity (my perversity, my moral evil), and my transgression (my revolt and rebellion against Him), and my sin (my offensive, habitual sins).
If you are having difficulty feeling the presence of God—If you are having trouble focusing on Him and worshipping Him—I suggest simply reciting His own word back to Him in the form of a prayer. This prayer moves eloquently and effortlessly among the triune Godhead—it is a Holy place—like being invited to listen in to a private conversation among the Trinity. Dare to ask Him to show you His glory in this passage—set down everything that is on your heart this morning and sit here in this Holy place as you find rest for your soul.
I Thank You God, for You, God have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son of Your love, Jesus, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of my sins. You, Jesus, are the image of the invisible God, You are the firstborn over all creation. For by You all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by You and for You. You are before all things, and in You all things hold together—You are holding me together! And You are the head of the body, the church; You are the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything You might have the supremacy. For You, God, were pleased to have all Your fullness dwell in Jesus, and through Jesus to reconcile to Yourself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Amen and Amen.