Jews had direct contact with God available to them. They could walk with Him and talk with Him. God presented himself to the people of Israel in Ex 19:18-20 in fire, smoke and quaking ground. The people feared God for they knew their sin. They knew who they were. They were humbled. But, they did not see it from God’s side, that He wanted to be with them. God wanted to make the whole people of Israel “a kingdom of priests.” (Ex 19:6) He had showed them His power in Egypt, He now showed them a glimpse of His glory. They couldn’t handle it. They wanted nothing of serving Him in glory, they needed to bring Him down to a level they could deal with, in some ways, that they could control, that they could understand. (Ex 20:19) They asked Moses to cover his face that shone with God’s glory (Ex 34:33). They wanted a king, another layer between themselves and God (1 Sam 8:19). God’s plan was to be involved with His people, but they wanted man not God involved with them. They rejected God’s love, His selflessness in removing them from Egypt, His direct preservation of them in the wilderness and power in delivering their enemies to them. He proved himself, though He need not. All God wants is to be with His creation, to commune with them, to love and be loved. All He asks is that He be allowed to be God. But man cannot have that.
In John 11, we see man’s ultimate act, to destroy God. Jesus, God incarnate is performing miracles. Just as His Father created fear in the people of Israel with His glory coming down the mount at Sinai, the great power of God creates fear in man, fear that he may loose control. No man can control God. But man, even in the face of God himself attempts to govern God’s glory in life on this earth. John 11:45 we see the beginning of those things as many people believed on Jesus because the power of God is in Him and they know it. Equally, in verse 46 a group of people loyal to men were reporting Jesus every move. Man gathered council with men and ignored God’s direct revelation (scriptures) and visible evidence (miracles and testimony) to act against one whom they thought was just a man that might wrest power from them, might convince the people that they do not need Pharisees or Scribes. They are too short sighted as God uses man, encourages man into His service. God uses godly men and women.
Many say God accepts them as they are. They tout this as a way to remain in their sin. To ignore God’s call for them to improve themselves, to change into His image (Rom 1:23; 2 Cor 3:18). One thing the people feared in Exodus was that God required them to have clean clothes, but they knew that it was not the outside of the body that was filthy, but their hearts. They acted out of a level of humility, although ultimately they wanted to not be seen in their sin. They wanted their comfort level assuaged and maintained.
God wants to change us for His glory. We now have the opportunity to be “a kingdom of priests” for His glory. He said it again in 1 Peter 2. God is giving us an opportunity to serve Him. Desire God’s leadership over man’s. Submit to God’s desire for your service. Don’t place things of man, even your own ideas, between you and Him. Give in. It’s a war of wills and man will loose.