“The people stayed in the tent of meeting. They murmured against Moses and Aaron and they were even blaming each other, saying, ‘It’s your fault.’ The plague had begun and multitudes were dying. Aaron took the flame from God’s altar and ran into the midst of the people. As he stood there, between the living and the dead, on behalf of the people, the plague stopped” (see Numbers 16:41-48).
We see in this passage a powerful and important image of so much of the modern-day Church—of ourselves—perpetually looking to stay inside, in “the tent of meeting,” locked in a mentality of “our needs are so great and the people outside, the heathen, the ‘unsaved’ are so evil.”
The egocentric congregation stays inside, with no time, energy or passion to take outside because of the battles waging within the four walls of the church. Religious ritual has a foot on the throat of any redemptive initiative and the church is dying. Platitudes have replaced passion. Rationalism has choked revelation. There is a religious hierarchy but no real heroes.
The disciples were on the Mount of Transfiguration standing in the presence of Jesus. The glory of God surrounded them amidst breathtaking prophetic revelation. Peter announced triumphantly what sadly became the rally cry, the anthem, for hundreds of thousands of modern believers, “It is good for us to be here. Let us build three tabernacles to dwell in and stay here.”
BE A HERO FOR GOD
The people wanted to stay in “the place of meeting” and Peter wanted to dwell on the Mount of Transfiguration. However at the foot of the mountain, there is a tormented, captive man, hopeless and abandoned by all, who needs a hero to come down from the mountain to bring him deliverance.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.