I want to know You

Exodus 33:7-23
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp... 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

12 Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."
14 The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." ...
18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."

I love, love, love, love this passage of scripture. There is so much here about the kind of relationship God wants us to have with Him... and the richness of relationship He is ready to pour out to those willing to receive Him, for those willing to surrender to Him and His will.

There is a lot here, and could go on and on about these verses, but I want to focus in on a couple of key points. First, in verses 10-11 we see three different reactions to God's presence. Moses enters boldly and there he talks to God face to face, like a friend talks to a friend. Now we know that he didn't LITERALLY stand before an infinite God, looking at His face and having a conversation (see verse 20)... but this means that they talked intimately. Directly. That Moses asked and God answered. But what about the others in the community? Did they enter boldly? No... instead they stood at the openings of their own tents and bowed down. They watched Moses enter God's presence and then worshipped the LORD vicariously through him. And the one who was there with Moses, Joshua, never left the tent... He just stayed there in God's presence all of the time. I'm sure Moses would have stayed in the tent if he could have... but he knew the calling of the LORD, he knew that he had to GO and DO.

Think about that for a bit. Think about who you are. Nothing in this scripture says that what the Israelites or Joshua did is wrong, so be honest with yourself. Are you like Moses, entering the presence of God boldly, talking with him like you do your BFF? Then taking His Word to the world and leading them back to His presence? Or are you Joshua, the one who soaks in the presence of the Almighty God but never leaves the tent to share what he's experienced with others? Maybe you are among the many standing in the entrance of your own tents, unwilling [timid? unworthy? afraid?] to approach Him on your own, living vicariously through the ones who tell you how good it can be? Where are you when it comes time to worship the Almighty God?

It's comfortable to stay in the doorway of your tent. And of course it's great fun to be Joshua, basking forever in His presence. But studying this passage of scripture again I’m challenged by what Moses’ response to God is… he meets with Him face to face and then he takes God from the tent to the people. He enters the presence, he soaks in all that God has to offer him, and then he goes and acts as God's hands and feet in his community.

That doesn't mean that experiencing God personally, intimately, powerfully is a bad thing. That doesn't negate the importance of having God Encounters on a regular basis. It just means we have work to do too! Our friend, Moses had an unquenchable thirst for God and His presence. Despite the fact that he was with God for 40 days on the mountain, met with Him regularly in the Tent of the Meeting, talked to God directly and intimately… He still hungered for MORE. And in verse 18 he makes one of the most bold statements we’ll find in scripture… God agrees to go with Moses and Moses responds by asking...

Now show me your glory.

He wanted more. No matter how much he knew of God, he wanted to know more. Just before this request, Moses said to God "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you." Moses clearly knew the Lord, many times he has experienced the power, might, and intimacy of the great I Am. In fact we just read a verse before that he met with God as a man meets with his friend, yet he was wise enough to understand that no matter how much he knew about God, there was always more to know. No matter how well he understood the ways of God, there were still things to learn. So BOLDLY (you agree it's bold, don't you?) he asks God... Show me your glory! I want more! I want a new revelation! I want to experience another facet of Who You Are! Show me your glory!!!

I have had some pretty amazing God Encounters. I have studied His character in His words and deeds. I know my Abba, Father. I love my Savior. I walk daily in the Spirit... yet this knowledge of mine is like a drop in the ocean of the vastness of His personhood. We have to remember that there's always more to know, that God will never fit into our narrow, human definitions... no matter how comprehensive we think that definition is, God won't fit into it. So we need to expect that this big, big God will act on us, and in us, in ways that we cannot understand or comprehend! Are you willing to surrender to that? Does your heart burn with a passion for Jesus? Does it burn with a passion to know Him more?

[btw for a great sermon on that topic go here to listen to Seth's sermon from Sunday. click on Burning Heart. it's sooooo good.]

We need to cry out to God, teach me your ways so I may know you! We should desire to talk to Him face to face! We should have a heart for taking His Word to the people... and then leading His people into His place of promise! And even after we have experienced his power and might and intimacy over and over and over... we should cry out to Him... show me your glory!

And guess what... He will.


Jennifer said...

This was an awesome blog. I never want to be content right were I am.

Lauren said...

good word B...as always