DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
THE EXPECTATION OF GOD’S GLORY
Would we act any differently if God appeared in church one day? Would we allow Him to testify during the offering or would we put our programs away and humbly turn the service over to Him? Why would we act any differently whether we literally see Him or not? Surely you don’t suggest that just because we cannot see Him with our mortal eyes – we “forget” He is there? Are we not as His ambassadors supposed to be walking and ministering in His Spirit as if He were there? If many of today’s modern churches are not aware of God’s presence and are not expecting Him to conduct the services, then it makes one wonder just who is leading the church.
I have always been labeled a dreamer because I believe in miracles. I am just naïve enough to believe that when I go to church and we are in His presence that maybe God will appear or maybe His angels will reveal themselves flying around the sanctuary. I believe when the healing waters are stirred and hands are laid on the sick and oppressed – with faith something wonderful is going to happen! If I did not believe in the supernatural power of God to change lives I would not bother to attend. If I did not expect in faith that I am going to see the manifestation of God’s glory every time I would not be excited enough to participate. Yes sometimes I am disappointed but other times I am awestruck and those times of joy unspeakable keeps the fire of my faith and enthusiasm burner on high.
Moses had such an incredible life, let us look at what happened after he broke the tables of stone but before the Lord wrote on them the second time. In Exodus chapter 33 we see an incredible verbal exchange as Moses was asking God to have mercy on him and the people. Then Moses asked a bold request in verse 18, “And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee, show me your glory. And He (God) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee; and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And he (God) said, you cannot see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, behold, there is a place by me, and you must stand upon a rock: And it will come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away my hand, and you will see my back parts: but my face will not be seen.” So what was Moses really asking when he wanted to see God’s glory and why did he make this request? And just exactly what are we asking today when we also want to see God? I believe it is all about love! I believe Moses was so consumed and passionate to be at one with his creator and master that he simply wanted to be as close to Him as possible. The same is true now with those of us who get lost in the wonders of His person, who thirst to know God deeper, who love to lay their head on His chest and wipe His feet with the perfumes from the alabaster jar of their being.
Isaiah, in chapter 6, verse one mentions that either he literally witnessed the Lord in person or he saw the Lord in a vision but whatever the case, it builds our faith to know that God does appear to His people. “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. (The word train in the Wilson’s Old Testament word studies gives the meaning as the lower part or skirt of a garment and it may signify here the rays of glory issuing from His lofty throne) Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the post of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” (Verses 2-4) So, do you expect to see God and His glory when you go to church? What do you expect to experience? Do you really desire to see God’s glory? We sing the song, “Show us your glory” but I wonder how many really have an anticipation to embrace God’s presence like Moses did. It would be interesting to hear some of the answers to why people do attend but hopefully it is to connect with their Lord. Without going through books of theological debates about why the word Shekinah is not found in the bible let’s just say it was coined by post-biblical rabbinic scholars that discovered the meaning as a physical manifestation of God’s dwelling and presence. Some of the references that contribute meaning to this word are interpreted as a thick cloud or the appearance of fire from His majesty and awesome power. In Exodus 24:16-17, we notice God hovering on Mount Sinai in the cloud and fire as Moses goes up into God’s presence for 40 days to receive the Ten Commandments. We see in Exodus chapter 40:34-38, how God’s glory cloud at times filled the tabernacle of Moses and was seen during the day residing over it. And again in Numbers chapter 9:15-23, we see more references explaining how the glory cloud and fire of God’s presence determined the movement of the children of Israel in their journeys.
Remember in chapter 3 of Exodus we see Moses herding sheep and the Lord speaks to him out of a bush that is on fire but is not being burned. In verse 5 God tells Moses to not come any closer but to take off his shoes because the place where he is standing is holy ground. In church we make reference to this often because we associate God’s presence in the sanctuary with the reverential fear of His omniscience. In verse 6 it say’s, “Moreover He said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” We are not to be afraid to approach Him but to be aware of His majesty and adore Him in awe and wonder. Even in the times when humans have encountered angels they have fallen to the ground on their faces because of the extended radiance from God’s holiness.
When you come to church do you expect to enter into the holy of holies? I have mentioned before that I personally relate to praise and worship like I am entering into a spiritual “type and shadow” of the gates and courts of His tabernacle. I concentrate as I proceed to deeper levels on my journey to where God is waiting. I expect to reach my destination and I long to be with my Lord and soak in His presence. If we do not feel like going or do not believe we can go, then I can see why many people fail to be enthused. This is the difference between singing songs and worshipping Him. Religion is satisfied with a religious history lesson and learning about God from a distance. Church ceremonies and rituals are enough to satisfy those who are comfortable with knowing about doctrines and the legalism of a man made social club. But those who intimately know God personally will always desire to “see” and spend as much time with the one they love as they can. Nothing can prevent us from meditating about our Lord or quench our strong desire to know Him. He is the air we breathe, our eternal salvation, our redeemer, our peace, comfort, hope and joy. We want to touch His face, we dream of Him, we desire to please Him and tell Him how much we love Him. He is the reason we live! It is not enough to just hear about Him and it does not satisfy to just read letters from Him – we live to abide in His presence.