The Glory of His Presence
We go live now to the Sinai Desert. Our program is not called Happy Days. A more appropriate title might be That's Incredible. As the camera fades in, we see sand, lots of it. We see people, lots of them. The announcer tells us briefly of the events from the previous episode. "As we looked in last week," he begins, "our traveling entourage of Hebrew complainers were discontent due to a dietary deficiency called "nolike novariety". Following their customary pattern of routine rebellion, they had complained to their aged tour guide, a meek but dedicated gentleman by the name of Moses. Moses it was, you remember, who wielded the rod of God and caused the Red Sea to part as though it had been zipped up and folded back until more than two million Hebrews were safely on the other side."
"For Moses on this occasion of questionable cuisine, the problem was one of a grossly ungrateful spirit. The God of Israel had supernaturally rained down manna, a strange wafer-like product made in the ever-loving ovens of eternity. For a short while, a meat delicacy named quail came tumbling out of the sky as well. You may remember the quail had long since ceased and the wilderness wafers were all that remained for the Israelites. You probably remember the rest. The murmuring sheep verbally attacked their shepherd and they longed for the leeks, the onions, and the garlic of Egypt. (We trust the breath mint concession as well)."
"So Moses calls his superior, who just happened to be named Jehovah. Jehovah responded, 'Quail? They want quail? Okay.' So Jehovah sent twenty billion quail raining down. The cries went up and God judged the Hebrews that day for their discontented spirit. Death, you remember visited the Hebrew camp. So there is our re-cap," describes the announcer.
We look in, now, as our Jewish journeyers travel on. The title of the lesson is, The Glory of His Presence.
The two million murmurers have traveled further south now. They are past Rephidim. They are approaching Mt. Sinai in the Sinai Desert. I remember traveling by bus from Jerusalem, southwest across the desert to the Suez Canal. We went on a boat across the Suez Canal and then by bus again to Cairo. Desolate is not an adequate adjective to describe this desert. I think I know now where the word "deserted" came from. For mile after mile after mile, there was nothing but sand. Acres and acres of sand were being re-baked by a scorching desert sun. This was in March. We were told that it rains on that desert at the most, three to four days a year.
So the accommodations would be a minus 5 stars in the Mobil Guide Book at best. The only water the children of Israel had was at the hand of the Living Water who knew all about their thirst, but provided for them only as their needs arose. As our scene unfolds, we see Reverend Moses seated in his counseling office ministering to the spiritual needs of his somewhat enlarged, overgrown flock. Then occasionally, we see him throw down his counseling hat, run next door to the local precinct court and put on his judge's robe and settle a myriad of disputes that arose between his short-tempered travelers. It was sort of a one man show.
Suddenly, the phone rings and Moses picks it up. "Sinai Counseling Center, Moses the mountain mover here." The old man's eyes light up. The call is from the Grimy Gulch Bus Station announcing the arrival of the Goshen Greyhound. It was none other than Moses' wife, his two sons and Jethro his wise old father-in-law who was obviously the escort service for the other three. So a grand reunion soon fills the screen. It was a short-lived reunion, for Moses had to race back to the office where the line of counselees now wraps itself around the mountain. Scuffling Hebrews beat on each other awaiting their appeal before their Mosaic Magistrate. Pappa Jethro looks on in stunned disbelief. Let's read about it in Exodus 18:13:
And it came to pass on the morrow that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood by Moses from morning until evening.
14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did with the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Why do you sit all alone and all the people stand by you from morning until evening?"
15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God.
16 "When they have a matter, they come to me and I judge one between the other, and I make them know the statutes and the laws of God."
17 And Moses' father-in-law said unto him,
"The thing that you do is not good.
18 "You will wear yourself away, both you and your people for this thing is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone."
Jethro said, "Mo, my boy, you don't have the gift of administration. This sixteen hour a day thing is too much for you. Why the one-man show?" His seemingly defenseless son-in-law replied, "Aw shucks, Dad, it's nothing. I'm just in demand, that's all. They come to me and inquire about spiritual things, so I help them. If they have an argument, they come to me and I settle it. I keep an appointment book, Dad. I'm in demand." Jethro replies, "This is a bad deal Moses. It is bad for you because you will wear out and be no good for anybody. It is bad for the people. One man can't handle two million people's problems."
So much for the problem. It is a problem many of us find not uncommon. It is an inability to delegate responsibilities. So we take on the world and crater under the pressure. But Jethro did more than preview the problem. He proposed a plan. Tucked within this plan lies the key to spiritual multiplication within the kingdom. It is an Old Testament parallel to II Timothy 2:2 - The things which thou hast seen and heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who in turn shall be able to teach others also. Jethro outlines a dynamic for discipleship. In verse 21-23 Jethro tells Moses to look around until he finds faithful men. These men need to reverence God and seek truth and hate evil. He was to put some of them over thousands and some over hundreds. He was to place lieutenants under the captains and sergeants under the lieutenants. In other words, Moses was told to get organized. Back in verses 19 and 20, Jethro gives us his method of multiplication. Memorize it. Here is what you do for those under your care, Jethro advises,
19 "Hearken now unto my voice; I will give thee counsel and God will be with you. Be thou for the people Godward that you may bring their causes to God,"
The first step for Moses was to pray for the people he was responsible for. He was to take their needs and bring them to the Lord. That would settle half of the problems before they ever got to him. Step number two was called "show and tell" in verse 20:
20 "And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and thou shalt show them the way wherein they must walk and the work they must do."
Now if you believe in discipleship you ought to memorize that verse. Jethro said, "First Moses tell them. Teach them the ordinances, the laws, the absolutes and the principles of God. They won't need you, then, as much, Moses. They will know the will of God." As a leader, that was not enough, though. It was not enough to teach. Moses needed to show them two things. He needed to show them the way they must walk. Secondly he was to show them the work they must do. He needed to show them how to walk the walk and how to minister the message. Jethro wanted Moses to show them and let the people see it in his life. It is no small wonder that Paul confirmed the same message to Timothy. Show and tell a few at a time. Tell them and teach them to pass it on. It is called discipleship.
So Moses did exactly what Jethro had suggested. Jethro was happy. He got on the next bus and went back home. Have you ever thought how neat it is that a gracious God lets people pass into your life at just exactly the right time to help you correct a problem or meet a need? Then, seemingly as quickly as they came, they are gone, but God fulfilled His purpose.
So Moses had the plan of God in gear. Now Jehovah wanted to teach Moses the most beautiful lesson of all: How to enter into the presence of God, how to enjoy the fellowship of God and how to behold the glory of God. In other words, the thrust of this passage of Scripture is this: God wanted Moses to receive and pass on His word. But the way He wanted it done was the key. He wanted Moses to come up to the mountain and leave the multitudes that clamored for his attention behind for awhile. He wanted Moses to come apart and just be with Him. He would remind him of the prerequisite of the purity and the power, if Moses would just stop what he was doing and get alone with God.
I will make no apologies for sharing so early in the lesson that our objective is singular where application is concerned. The lesson wasn't just for Moses or just for the children of Israel. It is for the family of God and that is us. The bottom line of this lesson for you and for me is this: there is nothing we can do in our Christian experience that can substitute for spending quality time alone with God. Not going to church, not listening to tapes, not listening to Christian radio, not attending Bible studies or growth groups or being discipled or going to seminars. All of these activities will help us to know more about our God, but the final objective is not only to know about Him, but to know Him as a person. You only know someone intimately when you set aside quality time to be with them. Jesus had to do it. Paul had to do it. Moses had to do it. Abraham had to do it. Elijah had to do it. It is the bottom line of this whole lesson. Going in, you might ask yourself these questions. No questions we have ever asked are more important than these:
1. How faithful am I in spending quality time alone with God? How regular? How consistent?
2. What is the magnitude of the kinds of things I allow to interfere with that time? Fun & games? Food? Rest? What?
3. Do I spend more time alone with God, than I did a year ago? Than I did three years ago? Do I spend less?
4. How at home am I in His presence? Or am I uneasy?
5. Have I come to progressively know more of His character in the time I have spent with Him? Or, have I been too busy talking about me? Or making lists of wants as though God was a super Santa Claus?
Ask yourself those questions as we climb that mountain with Moses. Let's learn with Moses the secret of the glory of His presence. Chapter 19:
1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were going forth from the land of Egypt, the same day they came to the wilderness of Sinai.
2 They were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai and had pitched their tents in the wilderness; and there they camped in front of the mountain.
3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain and said, "This is what I want you to say to the children of Israel:
4 "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and you have seen how I bare you up on eagles wings, and brought you to Myself.
5 "Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice and keep My covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all the people; for all the earth is Mine;
6 "And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words I want you to tell the children of Israel."
7 And Moses came and called the elders and told them exactly what the LORD had told him.
8 And the people answered, "All the LORD has spoken we will do!"
So God was preparing Moses and the people for the glory of His presence. He began with a reminder. He said, "Do you remember what I did to your enemies?" Ask yourself that question. "I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself." So often God likens His care to how an eagle or another bird cares for its young; lifting, carrying, feeding and protecting. A good passage is Deuteronomy 32:9-12:
For the LORD's portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in a waste howling wilderness. He led him about and instructed him. He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, so the LORD alone did lead him.
We also read in Isaiah 31:5 as God describes Himself -
As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem. Defending it, He will deliver it; and passing over, He will preserve it.
Then Moses is reminded of the requirement: If you obey My voice and if you keep My commandment, My covenant, I will. Obedience is the super simple key that unlocks the door to spiritual blessing. It doesn't earn it because it is all of grace, but obedience releases the grace and allows it to bless us.
Then Moses gets the reward. God tells Moses, "You will be a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Was it because they were so deserving? Not on your life. Deuteronomy 7:6-9 reminds us of the Jews' qualification for greatness. Do you remember it? Let's look at it beginning with verse 6:
"For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God; the LORD thy God has chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself above all of the people on the face of the earth.
7 "The LORD did not set His love upon you nor choose you because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people;
8 "But because He loved you."
Were their qualifications any different than ours? Not according to 1 Corinthians 1:26-27.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
The Jew was precious to God. He set them apart as a people, wholly devoted to His name. But the King of glory came as a servant to redeem man, and the Jews as a people missed it and rejected Him. So God in His mercy has called out a new people for a time, Jew and Gentile alike, to reveal Himself to the world. Those people He calls the church. So now in 1 Peter 2:6-10 Peter gives the titles God has bestowed upon us. Look at the comparison in verses,
9 You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people that ye should show forth the praises of Him whom has called you out of darkness and into His light;
10 for in time past you were not God's people, but now you are; then you had not obtained mercy, but now you have.
Do you see the balance? In Exodus 19 Moses said of the Jews, You are a peculiar treasure above all priests, above all people. To the church Peter said, You are a chosen generation, a peculiar people. To the Jew, Moses said, You are a kingdom of priests. To the church Peter said, You are a royal priesthood. Moses said to the Jews, You are a holy nation. Peter said to the church, you are a holy nation. That is the way God sees us, as a holy people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. That is why we should be spending time in the presence of the King.
Now God says one more thing to Moses. He says, "I am a holy God and I will provide the holiness you need, but you and your people must recognize that holiness as you come into My presence and experience it or you cannot receive My power." Let's look at verse 9:
9 And the LORD said to Moses, "I am coming down in a thick cloud, so that the people can hear when I speak, and may also believe in you forever." Then Moses told the words to the people of the LORD.
10 The LORD said also, "Go out and set the people apart and sanctify them and let them wash their clothes;
11 "And let them be ready for the third day, for the LORD will come down in their very sight."
The key is that the closer we stand to God, the closer we are to the light. The closer we get to the light, the more impurity we see. Is not that why we so often avoid spending time in His presence? Unconfessed sin makes us uneasy in the light so we get busy or active or zealous, or even doctrinally argumentative. Having a form of godliness, we deny the power thereof and we will do anything but be alone with God. Why? Because as we spend more time with Him, the slightest infraction against His holiness breaks His heart, so it breaks ours. We voluntarily, increasingly, want to lay aside anything that might be an affront to His holiness. That is why, during the times we are so struggling with sin, and fighting it, we don't want to be alone with Him, but those are the times we need it the most.
So God has revealed His plan and His purity. The next step is that He wants to reveal His power. It is the awesomeness of His holiness that makes the revelation of His power possible. Let's look at the next verses,
16 And it came to pass on the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a voice of the trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
18 Now Mount Sinai was in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
19 When the voice of the trumpet sounded long and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him by a voice.
God had revealed His purpose, to call out a kingdom of priests. God had revealed His purity, undefiled and incorruptible. Now God wants to reveal His power, the power that is revealed when you spend time in His presence. When a man or a woman becomes available to stand in the presence of God and wait before God, God will reveal His power to that person in ways that the natural man cannot believe. Such was the case with the children of Israel. God revealed His power to His children to remind them that the holy God of Israel who bore them up on eagles' wings still possessed the power to do on this earth anything He pleased. He always has and He always will.
Picture if you will the sense of awe you might have felt if you had been at the edge of the mountain that night. God had said to His people, "Gather around, the I AM is coming to call. Purify yourself and stand in awe of who I AM, but don't come too close. Don't be presumptuous in My presence. If you touch the edge of the mountain you will die."
So you have come to the foot of Mount Sinai and you wait and your heart beats with expectation. Suddenly, it begins to thunder. Can you hear it? Then the lightning begins to flash. Soon, a bright cloud covers the mountain and there is the piercing sound of a trumpet. The thunder gets louder and louder and the lightning fills the sky until the streaks of fire rival the noon-day sun. Then the trumpet blast gets louder and longer and louder and longer until the sheer intensity of it causes you to tremble. Suddenly, smoke pours from the top of the mountain, for it is on fire. But, like the burning bush, it is not consumed. At once, the ground beneath you begins to shake until it is all you can do to stand up. The whole mountain begins to quake before your eyes. Louder and louder the trumpet blasts, louder and louder. Then suddenly, God begins to speak.
My friend, that is only a tiny demonstration of the power of God. On a trip we took a number of years ago, we sat in the shadow of the pyramids and the sphinx just outside of Cairo, Egypt for what was billed as one of the world's most fabulous sound and light shows. You may not believe this, but through quadraphonic sound and electronically controlled lighting, the ancient pyramids, including the largest one, which is billed as one of the seven wonders of the world, were alternately bathed in light at a distance. The performers pretended to speak through hidden speakers that surrounded you. They spoke to us of death, of immortality and of resurrection. The people around us were impressed. The lighting was beautiful. The audio was creative. However, the message was empty. As the sphinx spoke, it proclaimed, "The Nile be praised." The Nile be praised?
Ah, but quadraphonic sound is not the answer, for God has said the gods of Egypt have tongues, but they cannot speak. The gods of Egypt have eyes, but they cannot see. They have ears, but they cannot hear. They spoke in this program as though those pyramids were the one thing that would last forever. But my friend, the God of eternity only has to whisper if He chooses and those ancient wonders will crumble like toy blocks or like castles in the sand. Our God can but blink His eyes and one tear drop will wash them into oblivion. I could not help but compare that "magnificent sound and light show" with the one God put on for Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai. I thought to myself, "Dear God, these people do not know what real power is. One day they will know." One day God will put on the final sound and light show. We read about it in 2 Peter 3:10:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat; the earth and everything in it will be burned up.
That, my friend, is power. The God of eternity who has that kind of power would like to unleash it in all of its splendor in your life and mine. All He is asking of us is that we take the time to spend time in His presence. The key to it all is, will we do it? Will we set aside adequate time to bathe ourselves in the glory of His presence? Or, will we find excuses to do everything else but that which counts? Verse 20 continues:
20 And the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mount; and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount, and Moses went up.
24 And the Lord said unto him, "Get thee down and thou shalt come up, thou and Aaron with thee".
God said, "Now everything is ready. Moses, you leave the people down there." We will find out in the next few lessons that they didn't fare too well. But that wasn't Moses' problem. That was God's problem. It is a hard lesson to learn. We need to learn that we need to take the time to go and be alone with God and God will be responsible for what we leave behind. "Moses, you leave the people there. You and Aaron come up here with Me," God instructed. Do you remember God's plan for these two men? Moses was to receive the word from God and Aaron was to take the word from Moses and communicate it to the people.
This paints a beautiful picture of the Trinity. In those days, God the Father spoke to Moses. Moses received the word and then passed it on to Aaron who communicated the word to the people, God's holy people, the Jews. Today, God the Father speaks through the Living Word, Jesus. Jesus allows the Holy Spirit once again to communicate that word, because the Holy Spirit cannot speak concerning Himself, but that which He hears is what He speaks to God's holy people, the church. So the pattern of the Trinity was being formed by the relationship between Moses and Aaron.
Now the secret was that God had a new message, a new commandment. He wanted to change the world. He wanted to change Moses first. That is the way He always does it. You and I can be a part and parcel of that transformation if we are willing, like Moses, to just get away and be with God. Jesus, our Moses, will speak through His Word. The Holy Spirit, our Aaron, will translate that word in such a way that we will know how to walk. We will also know how to work until He comes again. The truth is that it will change our lives. It will change the way we look, the way we live. We will become so intimately acquainted with the Living God that others will look at us and see His glory as they did with Moses. We will cry out, "We want to know Him more." That is the secret. It is unlocked for us in Exodus 33,
11 And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to a friend.
12 Then Moses said to the LORD, "You are saying to me, 'Bring these people up!' but You haven't let me know who You are going to send with me yet. You have said, 'I know Thee by name and that I have found grace in Thy sight,'
13 "Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, show me the way that I may know You."
If you want to read a pattern on how to pray, study this passage again and again. It will teach you how to intercede. This is a prayer from Moses, not that he would know the way, but by seeing the way, Moses would know God's mind and His heart. Let's look now at verse 14:
14 And God said to Moses, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."
15 And Moses said, "If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.
16 "For how then can it be known that I have found grace in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not by Thy going with us, so that we, I and Thy people, may be a separated people upon the face of the Lord?"
17 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight and I know you by name."
Verse 18 is a good verse to memorize. Don't you think that Moses would have been satisfied by now? God had said that wherever Moses went, He would go. They were in good shape going together. Moses asks one more thing -
18 "I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory!"
God said, "Okay. I will make all My goodness pass before you and proclaim My name. But you can't see My face. No one sees My face and lives."
21 But the LORD said, "Behold, there is place right by me, and you shall stand on the rock; (the rock stands for Jesus)
22 "And it shall come to pass that when My glory passes by that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and I will cover you with My hand and I will pass by you.
23 "And I will take away My hand and you shall see My back, but My face you shall not see."
Do you see the picture? Here was a man who knew God so intimately it is said that God spoke with him as a man talks to his best friend. There is the supreme compliment that can be paid to any human being by the Living God. So infused with His presence was he, that Moses would not move unless God would be with him; leading him, protecting him, directing him. Moses had the John 15 principle. "Without you, I can do nothing," Moses said. "Good enough," God agrees, "My presence will go with you and you can rest and relax. I am in control." Moses cries out the Lord, "Show me Your glory." There is the secret. The more time you spend in the presence of God, the more you hunger to know Him even more. But you need to ask. Moses asked, "Lord, show me Your glory." Our precious God hides His beloved friend in the cleft of the rock and passes by. He revealed exactly as much of Himself as this man Moses could handle at the time. Moses could handle perhaps more than any other man on the face of the earth. Why? Because he had spent so much more time in the presence of God.
You see that is what II Corinthians 3:18 means when it says: "In ever increasing splendor from one degree of glory to another", That is what I Corinthians 13:12 means when it says, Now we see Him through a glass darkly, one day we will see Him face to face. That is what happens when we spend more time in His presence. We become more like Him. That is why John wrote in 1 John 3:1-2:
Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know this, that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him because we will see Him as He is.
Do you see it? One day we will totally be like Him for we will totally see Him. In the meantime, we can become progressively like Him as we spend time, much, much time in His presence. I think some of us are going to have to wear sunglasses in heaven, because we are so unaccustomed to His face.
Maybe it is time that we, like Moses, laid aside some lesser things and climbed up into the mountain of His presence to spend some real, quality time with God. We need to spend so much time that we can reach a place where we can cry out, "Lord, show me Your glory. I want to know You better. I want to know You as few men or women have ever known you before. Lord, pass by and show me Yourself." Here is the question: Think about this scenario: Imagine that you were born into a royal family and were announced to be the heir of the king and that all of his privileges and all of his power would one day be yours. You, like him, would one day rule and all the king wanted from you was for you to spend time, much time in his presence. He wanted you to become accustomed to how the kingdom was ruled and become enough in tune with your father, the king, that you would know how he thinks in every situation. Would you be too busy to sit at his feet so he could prepare you for the day you would reign with him? Too busy? What a privilege to be asked to spend time at the feet of the king. Who would even count the hours?
Suppose you enlisted in the military and you were preparing for imminent warfare. You were assigned to serve under the greatest military commander in history, the only one who had never lost a battle. He had invited you to walk beside him so that you could become more than conqueror. Would you hang around the barracks and play ping pong? Or would you not follow every move of this mighty victor until you knew his every thought?
Or, if you were engaged to be married and claimed to be hopelessly in love with one who loved you so much that he had offered his life in exchange for yours, and he had made himself available to spend time with you during your engagement period, all the time you wanted. Would you have time? Or, would you be too busy shopping for the wedding cake to be alone with the one you loved?
You see, you and I are the children of the King. He wants us to come and sit at His feet to learn of Him and His kingdom. You and I are participants in the most crucial battle in history, the war between principalities and powers, between the rulers of the darkness of this world. We are involved in a battle between God and spiritual wickedness in high places. If we don't walk alongside our Commander-in-chief, we may lose the battle, even though He wins the war. We may cease to be usable as soldiers.
You and I are engaged to the lover of our soul. He is coming back for us to celebrate the greatest wedding feast in history. He will spend eternity with us. If we don't spend every available moment we have in His presence now, will we not still be like strangers when we ought to know His every breath?
So the question ought never to be: "How can we find time to be alone with God?" Beloved, the question ought to be, "How can we find time for anything else?" In the history of Christendom there stand above the crowds, the names of a handful of men whose lives have literally changed their worlds. God has used them to move mountains, while the rest of Christendom seemed to be scooping sand with toy spoons. If you read their biographies, every one of them has one thing in common. Every one of them spent time, much, much time alone in the presence of God. They assigned it the primary priority of their life, until like Moses, they were so accustomed to being in His presence, they thought His thoughts. They transmitted His image and were one with Him so that He could do in them and through them as He could through few other men or women.
Our task is to do whatever it takes to spend time alone with Him. Some of us need to make a vow one week at a time. I say one week at a time because that is all many of us have the faith to believe God for. But that is enough. That is why He broke the months into weeks and the weeks into days: so that He could give us workable segments to exercise faith. We could make a vow for one week at a time, and maybe every Sunday as we arose for church, we could renew that vow for one more week. That vow would be something like this: On any given day, we would not sleep or eat until we have been alone, really alone in His presence; alone for a sufficient amount of time in order to come to know Him more perfectly and intimately. The end ought to be that we, like Moses might begin to be so at home in His presence that He will proportionately increase our capacity to behold His glory until we come one day to that natural transition from time to eternity and we will be immediately, perfectly at home in the glory of His presence.
Oh, to stand beneath that mountain
Where God's children were amazed,
Where at Moses' firm commandment
They but stood in awe and gazed,
As the thunder of His Presence
Shook the very mountain's sod;
And the lightning filled the heavens,
As there cried the trump of God.
For Focus and Application
1 - Try reenacting the scene Jethro found when he arrived with Moses' wife and children. What was Moses' problem? Why do you think he was doing it all himself? What was Jethro's solution? How can this be likened to the church today?
2- Compare Jethro's plan with Paul's plan in 2 Timothy 2:2. What do you think that passage means?
3- Describe how God, Moses and Aaron typified the trinity.
4- Honestly answer the five questions on page 5. In the light of God's priorities for your life, do your answers make sense?
5- Study the analogy of God and eagles' wings. What truths speak to you?
6- Try to close your eyes and imagine that you were at the foot of that mountain with the children of Israel. What thoughts would be going through your mind? Is this the kind of awesome respect you have in God's presence today?
7- Read Exodus 33:11-23. Be prepared to extract principles from that passage to apply to your own life.
8- Reread the three illustrations on page 13. Weigh your commitment to being alone with God in the light of those illustrations.
9- Make a covenant with God that, for one week, you will spend the quality of time and the quantity of time in His presence, even at the expense of sleep or food. It could change your life.
© Russell Kelfer. All rights reserved.