Getting To Know God
Jehovah Mekoddishkem - Worshiping His Holy Presence
The LORD Who Sanctifies - The Tabernacle -The Worship Of God - The Holiness Of God
Separated From Labor
The concept of God as “the LORD Who Sanctifies Us” is presented early, in a compelling way. The Bible teaches that god sent the standard of what it is to be “sanctified” on the 7th day of creation, when He “separated” that day from the others. What did God do differently that day, from the previous 6? He rested. So, God’s ultimate goal as “the LORD Who Sanctifies Us” is to provide rest to our souls from the burden and labor of sin. As Christians, we struggle so much, trying to deny our flesh, trying to avoid the temptation of the world, and trying to fight against spiritual opposition in the heavenly places. One day, that struggle and labor will cease! To capture this idea, we wanted to illustrate the quality of peace and rest that will come to our souls, by showing some sort of creature that is normally heavy laden by nature. We went to the zoon and saw these rhinos. Rhinos are burdened carrying the insane weight of their own body, pursued by predators often, and these white rhinos are actually endangered. Scientists know that rhinos can sleep either standing up, or laying down, but when they are laying down with their feet curled up, they are in exceptionally deep sleep, to the point that they can easily be approached without them knowing. We just so happened to find a family of them in that exact position at the zoo, in the midst of some beautiful green pasture, all by themselves, enjoying the absence of threats and struggle, enjoying the peace and rest in their protected environment. One day, we’ll all be able to be at peace in similar fashion because of the LORD who separates us from labor, from threats, and is eternally able to protect the integrity of His blessing.
Dedicated To Him
The testimony of 2 Chronicles 2:4 highlights the work that went into the sanctuary for the priests. It talks about the showbread, the incense, the vessels that were to be used by the priests, and how all of those things were specially dedicated to the LORD to equip the priests in the work God commanded them, to intercede on behalf of God’s people. The mention of the bread and incense are particularly important as they relate to the worship service of the priests and the presence of God. So long as the priests did their jobs in humble and obedient faith, God promised to dwell with His people in the sanctuary. The bread was to be prepared fresh every day, placed in two stacks of six, totaling twelve loaves, symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel. The incense was to be burned every day as a symbol for the prayers of God’s people, lifted up to Him as a sweet-smelling aroma. When trying to illustrate the idea of being separated unto God’s purposes, we really set out to show the sanctuary in a way that highlighted the sweetness of the bread, and the aura of the incense. We wanted to show the importance of “sanctification,” by photographing the bread and incense really close to make them look big, prominent, and as an important element of worship, being that God values His people, especially when they’re worshiping Him through prayer.
Dwelling With Us
The idea of God dwelling with us in this world is an incredible thought. In Isaiah 57:15, the Bible describes how highly exalted God is, but that He has plans and will fulfill the requirements to dwell with His people, who are corrupted in nature. Though it’s impossible to fully illustrate this amazing truth, we wanted to capture the bigness of God’s promise. We wanted to show the vast expanse of the sky filled with stars in comparison to the smallness of us as people. To communicate the connection that the transcendently great God makes with us by His Spirit, we had someone hold a flashlight pointing towards the sky, to mimic light coming from the stars, down to the individual that would normally be consumed in darkness. When we took this picture though, we got an interesting effect by accident. The amount of “leakage” that came out of the flashlight was pretty interesting in the shot. Since we took such a long exposure to get this image, the camera picked up and exaggerated the residual light that was coming off of the back of the flashlight, thereby illuminating almost the entire ground around the person we photographed. We thought this was a great addition to the principle of God’s sanctification and the effect of God dwelling with us. When the greatness of His glory meets us here on Earth, it doesn’t just affect us from within, but also affects our surrounding environment with the light of His glory. He dwells with us by His Spirit, thereby separating us from darkness, whereby we are able to cast His light into our surrounding environment, that would otherwise be consumed by darkness.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is a difficult concept to portray visually. In John 14:26, Yeshua taught that He would send the Holy Spirit to teach His people things pertaining to Himself, thereby separating the children of God from condemnation, unto the eternal and spiritual purposes of the Father. Yeshua is the Chief Administrator of all this work since the Word of God is the primary tool the Spirit uses to “help” God’s people. Since the Bible uses olive oil as a symbol for the Holy Spirit, we felt that the image of an “appetizer” would be a fitting illustration, using bread, coupled with oil, to show the relationship of Yeshua as the Bread of Life, paired with the Holy Spirit. In this photo, we wanted to use the glow of our light source shining through the bottle of oil from the back, to primarily light the scene, since the Spirit is the means by which we see the things pertaining to Christ. We set the table with the bread split in two, showing that the Bread of Life had to be broken before the Oil of the Spirit could be poured out. Then we wanted to show the oil, representing the Spirit, being served from above, but in a dramatic and “overflowing” manner. It took 158 shots to get this one of these oil drops frozen in time, coming from above, splashing beautifully in the dish, ready to be eaten!
The concept of being “separated” from something isn’t quite so easy to illustrate in photography, so that it communicates the principles that the Bible teach about God’s sanctification. We went through a ton of ideas before realizing that the simple nature of this photo communicated the beauty of God’s sanctifying work, in spite of the pain and difficulty associated with it. In this image, our subject began to blow the dandelion so as to remove the petals from it, as we’re all accustomed to seeing. We wanted to compose the photo uniquely though, to capture the total removal of just a few petals from the full flower, floating up towards the sun, super close up using a macro lens to magnify the movement that might seem simple otherwise. We wanted this photo shown here, to illustrate our experience with sanctification. There are bits and pieces of our soul that God seems to work on gradually, progressively conforming us into His image. Here, that’s pictured by two small parts of the dandelion being totally separated from the stem, which is actually a weed, and being illuminated beautifully as it floats towards the sun, symbolizing Christ. We also wanted to utilize the power of suggestion to show God’s perspective. Even though only two small parts of the flower are separated in this moment, we are all familiar with these flowers enough to know that, as she keeps blowing on the flower, all of the petals will be totally separated, only leaving the naked stem of the weed. That’s how it works from God’s perspective. In His eyes, all of the parts of us that are being conformed into His image, are separated from the ugliness of our flesh. It’s only a matter of time until we realize that truth.