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Merit

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We took another trip to the Post Falls Dam. The sound of the water from the Spokane River could be heard as we walked the asphalt trail, next to the frozen pond melting. Each step took us closer to the powerful roar of the water crashing upon the rocks as the gallons of water exited the cement fixture. Spring has come. The melting snowpack from the surrounding mountains feed back into the water sources, finding its way to the basin of Lake Coeur d'Alene, cutting through Post Falls, the churning dam, connecting to the Columbia River, and ultimately dumping into the Pacific Ocean where fresh water meets salt.

Off the path and taking a shortcut, jumping on and off the exposed boulders, we criss-crossed back and forth until our feet hit the wooden bridge where we stopped and listened. "Dad, that could fill our pool like that," our son says while gesturing with his fingers and pulling a snap silenced by the water's roar. DANGER signs peppered along the chain-link hedge that runs along side the cliffs and rushing river, warning us of the risk of jumping the fence; the certainty of an ice-cold watery grave. The slamming water against the edge of solid rocks: sharp, flat, and jagged; it produces a deafening sound, but it brings me comfort. Looking at the peaceful surface of the river to the west of the dam, the draining water onto the rocks causing the water to bubble and boil. The turbulence under the water cannot be seen; the under current being pulled by an invisible force. Harsh. Unforgiving. Deadly. The affects are alive to our eyes. The water's smooth surface is a bald-face liar; the underlying turbulence exacerbated as the water fights its way through the small funnel of the dam.

The sheer force of the water is a reminder to me as it crashes and flows on the rocks below. Standing on the foundation of good deeds, alone, thinking my good will outweigh my bad, the flood of justice would come crashing down upon me, breaking me on the rocks of deeds I thought were enough to earn my salvation. Try looking at the noonday sun: how long can you manage to keep your eyes focused on that ball of fire without looking away, let alone, blinking? The Lord's glory cannot be seen by our naked, human eyes. I'm reminded of Exodus 33 when Moses intercedes for the Israelites as they are wandering in the desert for 40 years. Moses has climbed Mount Sinai to meet with God, and after finding favor in the Lord's sight, asks to see the Lord's glory. God replies “you cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.” (verse 20). God then tells Moses that He will place Moses in the cleft of a rock and when He passes by, He will cover Moses with His hand, and after He passes, Moses will be able to see God's glory after He passes. With that promise, God does what He promised Moses. The glory of God was so intense that just His after burn made Moses' face shine. When Moses went down to the Israelities, they were so frightened of Moses' glowing skin that he had to cover his face.

We, as humans, cannot stand in the presence of God on our own, thinking our merit is 'good enough'. That would be like a mosquito taking on a speeding vehicle. Take a road trip somewhere and see how many mosquitoes tried taking on your car. The windshield wipers wipe away the carcasses of the bold bugs. The front grill a boneyard of guts and wings. Twitching legs. Smears of goo washed clean by the righteousness of a great car wash. That's where our merit gets us.

The definition of "merit" is:

mer·it

noun: the quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward.

verb: deserve or be worthy of (something, especially reward, punishment, or attention).

But God is Love. God equals Love — We read this in 1 John 4 verse 16: "So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." It was with this Love that God sent Jesus Christ, His only begotten son, to live a sinless life, die a sinless man, on the third day, He rose again." — John 3:16 and 17 says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him."

Moses' Intercession

"Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And He said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”" ~ Exodus 33:18-2

The Shining Face of Moses

"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him." ~ Exodus 34:29-35

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