Moses and the presence of God

English: Border collie dog Deutsch: Border Col...

English: Border collie dog Deutsch: Border Collie Hund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Exodus 33:15&16

I am challenged by the thought that Moses was not prepared to move anywhere without God. He insisted on following the presence of God himself, saying, “If your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here”. He wasn’t satisfied just to make things up as he went, he was not content to keep on going and hope God would turn up at some point. The presence of God was so vital to Moses that unless the presence of God went with him he wouldn’t move, he wouldn’t just guess, he wouldn’t carry on. No matter what the pressure or the embarrassment – he was happy to wait for God.

This is mirrored in my collie dog Gemma. When I take her for a walk she is constantly checking to see where I am. Now and again I try to hide from her, it is very difficult, but if I manage it as soon as she realises she has lost me she comes charging through the undergrowth to find me again. She is not prepared to go anywhere unless I am walking with her, unless she is aware of my presence.

‘We need to pay a price to see God more clearly. Moses’ whole life groomed him to see God. His success as Israel’s leader depended entirely on his ability, moment by moment to perceive and follow the presence and voice of the Lord.’ Bill Johnson Face to Face with God p86

Am I prepared to pay the price to follow the presence and voice of God? Will I lay down everything at the call of His voice? Will I be prepared to wait on God again and again for as long as it takes? Does the desire for His presence bring tears to my eyes with longing? It is challenging to ask these questions. It is easy to be in a meeting full of habits and empty of presence where there are no risks and we are in control. It is easier to follow the clear loud voice of man than the small whisper of God we may have to wait for.

The presence of God is so special we should hold it in high esteem. We should give time to it, cultivate it and enjoy it. In his presence we are changed, set free and find our identity. In his presence we glimpse heaven, see eternal truths, experience revelation and receive dreams. In his presence we find unity, freedom and flow together. In His presence we receive healing, experience miracles, sense his breath, know his touch and laugh with joy. We should never ever undervalue the importance of the presence of God.

‘Moses was the great leader he was because he was not focused not personal success but on the God who could be known.  Moses preferred the wilderness with God to the Promised Land without God, a noble choice for sure’  Bill Johnson Face to Face with God p87

Today: How much of your daily life relies on the presence of God?

A new way of being

Egypt: Gizeh

Egypt: Gizeh (Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum)

We looked yesterday about how God called us out of Egypt. Let’s take a closer look today at what that means.

Egypt in the bible is a picture of worldliness :  materialism, fashion, keeping up with the Jones. We find competition, striving, control, petty mindedness and selfishness. We see Solomon was warned by God about having horses and chariots as it represented strength in power and riches, fighting for yourself and being proud of your own achievements.

The tragedy is Egypt creeps into the church. There is control, labels of position, traditions, loneliness, keeping up with the Jones, striving,  judging each other, religion, apathy, self-loathing, depression, selfishness, jealousy, tussling and tribalism. Members of different groups say I am a Baptist, I am NFI, I am Catholic, I am Vineyard –each believing themselves to have the keys to revelation.

God is calling us out of churchy and worldly culture into a kingdom way of being. He is re- aligning our hearts to the ways of heaven. He is giving us space and room to learn a kingdom culture – a wide and open place of exploration. Coming out of one level of understanding into something new

I have had so much re-learning to do at the moment. This adventure is life changing and dramatic. Come and walk it with me.

Called out of Egypt

I recently heard on radio 4 that ‘a traveller doesn’t know where they are going and a tourist does not know where they have been’. One journeyer does not appreciate the way ahead, the other does not recognising the importance of the path behind. I do not wish to be like either one; wandering aimlessly in life not knowing how I get to where I am heading or nor having any idea how I came to be here in the first place. I want to be one who looks both ahead and behind and finds strength, solace and direction in understanding.

Culture Change

 ‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’ Exodus 19: 3-6 (MSG)

The Israelites had been slaves for many generations since their ancestor Joseph had died. They had become slaves and been ruthlessly treated. During their time in Egypt the passing generations had gradually adopted the customs of this culturally rich nation. They dressed and put make up like the Egyptians, ate their tastes in food, became used to living in the style of housing, they ate on Egyptian designed plates with Egyptian style cutlery and drank Egyptian speciality tea.  They read the language, spoke the language, understood the traditions and worshipped the same gods. They even walked like an Egyptian ( 🙂 )

God was calling them out of the land and out of a nation of people. They were not Egyptians they were Israelites and they needed to find their own identity again.

Not only did the culture became ingrained in their way of thinking they had become accustomed to the role of slavery. They were told where to go, what to do, given boundaries to live in, ordered to follow certain rules and to obey without question certain people. They had become so used to taking on the mantle and chains of slavery in a foreign land that God had to call them into a wide free space to find out their personal and co-operate identity.

We see God speak to them to start kick-start the truth of their identity in the verse above. He tells them “You are not to be slaves to men, you are a free people. You are not objects to be owned with a number – you are precious children, my special treasure. Far from being nothings and nobodies remember you are a chosen people, a priesthood, holy nation. Not only have you been chosen there are times when I carried you myself to freedom and made a safe place for you. “ This was Father God calling imparting truth into his children

The life in the desert was to be a time of re-adjustment for the people. They had to learn afresh how to be free, loved, powerful, holy, treasured and Gods. This was time to learn a whole new way of being, way of thinking to a new way. God’s way.

Today: Say out loud to yourself ‘I am not to a slave to men, I am a free person. I am not an object to be owned I am a precious child, God’s special treasure. I am not a nothing and a nobody but I am part of a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Not only have I been chosen there are times when has God carried me himself to freedom and made a safe place for me. “

The Golden Calf continued – possessing 1

When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain,

IMG_0334

IMG_0334 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt. Exodus 32:1

1.   Make us= doing

2.   Make us some gods = possessing

There are many adverts that tell me I cannot be fulfilled in life without owning an object or living a certain way. It will make me beautiful, glamorous, successful and desirable. I know that you know that. What constantly surprises me is how much this culture of ours has subtle ways of leaving its imprint on my life and affecting the way I think and live. Having spent two weeks in the Philippines around those who have nothing I realise how petty we are in the west and much time/money we spend on image and self promotion.

Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please.  I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say,’ You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’  Luke 4:5-8

The Devil tempted Jesus to own/posses all the kingdoms of the earth. To have the authority – that sense of power in owning them. The Israelites wanted to own their own influence and rule by making gods. They would have the power in owning their own gods who would have to do as they asked. Idols move where you put them, they don’t speak back, they bring a focus in your life and they look good too.

Life isn’t about having – but about kingdom. Sometimes we mix up dreams of this world for a Godly vision. We want to have a nice house, good family, respectable job, success in what we do, children that are brought up well, cook well and live well – this is no different to the world. We make it sound like a vision but really it is an earthly dream – those in the world want to have all these things.

There is a different between heart desires and kingdom vision. Kingdom vision is supernatural and not of this earth. For example I am trained as a primary school teacher. I want to influence children and families to live well, to knit together community, to bring love to the children – most teachers would desire this this is not a heaven vision. A kingdom teacher with vision will want to bring heaven to the earth – to do God’s will in heaven as it is in the earth. What does this look like? Supernatural gifts of the spirit being used to bring love, peace, community, family, healing, release, binding up broken hearts etc It is the difference between wanting to have reputation and fulfilment against using all of heaven’s resources for God to be promoted and his will fulfilled.

How do I know what is precious to you? – your conversation will give it away. What is the chat as you walk? Is about what you are having for tea, who you are inviting around, what or does your conversation include kingdom talk, dreams, healings, revelation and heaven excitement?

Panic strikes! The Golden Calf is born

Dont Panic

Dont Panic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4 months into the journey and crisis hits! What is the dramatic news? Enemy attacks, drought, famine, pestilence? – no Moses goes up a mountain for 40 days. The people see him go up – but now don’t know what to do.

The people are learning to stand up on their own for first time. In Egypt they were always told what to do, where to sit, where to sleep – they had no choice of there own. Moses then led them with a strong arm out of Egypt – they followed him and his faith in God. Now they have been left on their own with their own thoughts, time on their hand and choices to make. Panic strikes!

When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain,they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt. Exodus 32:1

Why did the people struggle so much?

In the next few days we will unpack what it was that caused this crisis and how we can learn from it. We will draw parallel with Jesus time in the wilderness. It is interesting that even the Son of God has his training time in the wilderness. A time where God called him close for intimate, undistracted fellowship.

1.        Make us = doing

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’ Luke 4: 3&4

The Devil was saying to Jesus “Don’t just sit there Jesus listening to Gods words spending time with God – do something”.

The Israelites were bored from spending day in day out working until the dropped – now they have so much time on their hands. They felt useless, a spare part, not valued because they were not doing something.

Doing is where I have found solace sometimes. I can  find or hide myself in doing. I can find on days when I am angry, upset or confused that I just want to clean and tidy – or do something to distract myself. Do I measure my self worth on what I achieve. I have notice that when people greet each other they ask “What have you been doing?” The underlying message is “How have you demonstrated your usefulness? What have you achieved? Are you worthwhile? We give labels we give ourselves as doers as this adds meaning to our life – I am a gardener, a cleaner, a children’s worker, a steward etc.

Business is not godliness. We were made for spending time with God throughout the day– not meeting God in meetings. If we can’t fit time in our day to meet with our Father then we are doing something wrong and need to adjust our lives. We were made to be children of God, to be new creations, to be lovers of God

Today: think soberly about your life. Do you find identity in what you do or do you find your identity in the presence of God. Make sure that being with God is prioritized over doing.

Presence of God

English: Crop of File:Souvenir Seller - Moscow...

English: Crop of File:Souvenir Seller – Moscow – Russia.JPG focusing on woman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been struck recently as to how ordinary most days are for most people. We try to fillour lives with exciting moments – but our every day life can be mundane. I wonder how ordinary it must have been to wander around the wilderness. There must have been a lack of fun places to go, things on tv to watch or coffee places to hang out in. This is why when God shows up the ordinary day turns into something amazing

On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.  Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. Exodus 19:16- 18

In the middle of the empty landscape God comes down and it was rather dramatic! Thunder, lightening, billowing smoke, earthquake – what a sight. I don’t think you could have missed God’s entry into the Israelite camp even if you were the doziest of folk!

Here comes God letting all his people know that shop is open, he is town, the show is on the road and He is in the business of spending time with his people. Tragically the people did not want to spend time with God.

When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” Exodus 20: 18&19

The people had become so fixated on the mountainside dramatics that  they had forgotten the tender words of the Father holding them and loving them. God comes as a Father with power. This is who He is. Let us not be so desiring the big experiences, the healings, the manifestations that we miss the Fathers face and His voice. Both come together. The gentle loving Father full of power and wonder.

We sometimes hide from God when he comes to speak with us face to face. Just as Adam hid in the garden afraid to face up to God it can be due to feelings of guilt, shame, having let him down and thinking we are inadequate. Sometime it can be afraid of the demands we feel he will put on our life or of feeling unworthy. But He is the one who calls us by our name, holds us close and  carries us when we are weak. He only wants the best for us and to help us in our troubles. We need not fear his response to our mistakes, failures or lack – He only has compassion and love for us.

God calls us up the mountain and wants us to come to meet with him. Spend time with him. Share heart with him. He turns the mundane walk of life into something else! The ordinary becomes exciting, the intimate becomes powerful, the plain becomes a wondrous adventure – 3D into 9D!

Today: Ask the Holy spirit to show you if there are any hindrances in your life that stop you freely talking to God face to face. With his help deal with these issues.

You don’t belong here

Sandwich for Tea Time

Sandwich for Tea Time (Photo credit: Johnragai)

There are so many beautiful and encouraging names Moses could have picked for his first child. I know he perhaps didn’t have an A-Z of children’s names, but I am sure he could have found something a little more positive. In Ex 18:3 we find that Moses named his child Gershon which meant ” a foreigner there” .  I don’t if his mother called him in for tea loudly – but I wonder if it got some funny looks.

“Come in for tea son – You don’t belong here!”

It is strange being a foreigner in a land. You feel different, you look different, you sound different  – I probably smell different.

Moses knew he didn’t fit into the land of Egypt. He knew that wasn’t his home land and he looked forward to a homeland where he felt he belonged. He was an alien, a foreigner in a land whose culture felt strange to him – although he had lived there all his life.

I look at our society and find that as people we do all we can to fit in. Perhaps I watch TV, read magazines, discuss the right topics, wear the right clothes and do all I can to fit in and not feel different. Perhaps I am wondering if I measure up to the standards in this land – to look great, be famous. big car, nice house, successful kids. I do know that there are days where I am jealous of those who have bigger houses or seem more successful in life. All of us are so immersed in the Western society that we have allowed it to seep into us. Being away in a poorer culture has only shown to me how much we have taken into our lives but do not notice. I am to be different: I don’t belong here – I am not to use the measurements that this land uses for success. These are not my standards of being who I am meant to be. This is not who I am. I don’t belong here.

If we look at Psalm 73 we find David is having the same issues. How come those who do not care, and are selfish seem to get the big houses and the good jobs. He says his feet nearly slip off his journey until he looks into heaven and sees God. Then he knows that

“you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

God is walking with us. He is holding our hand. He is taking us somewhere glorious. We do not belong here.

Today: Fix your eyes on your home – the kingdom of heaven. Spend some time asking the Spirit how has the consumer society affected your heart?