PRAYER – PREPARING FOR GOD’S APPEARANCE

In my last post in the Prayer series, “PRAYER – ARRIVE AT MT. SINAI”, I wrote about how important prayer is in a believer’s life and it certainly was in Moses’ life. He was very in tune with God. So much so that the scripture says that Moses began the ascent of Mt. Sinai before God summoned him. In the next scriptures, you will see the instructions God gives Moses for the Israelites before His appearance on the mountain. God chose to reveal Himself to the people in the smoke and fire and allowed them to hear His voice as He talked to Moses so the people would “believe” Moses forever. Here is the scripture.

Exodus 19:7-9 images

So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.”

To begin with, I want to make mention of the obvious in the first sentence. “So Moses came and called for the elders of the people…” You may remember when Jethro, Moses Father-In-Law, told Moses that he needed to choose for himself “able men”. Here is the scripture.

Exodus 18:17-21

17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.

These were men that Moses trusted and obviously the people trusted. So it is important that he call these leaders together and lay it all out for them. They represented “their own group” or “tribe” and could speak for them.

Moses laid it all out as to what God had told him to tell them. Let’s refresh our memories as to what God had told Moses to tell the people.

Exodus 19:3-6

“…Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children soartopof Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

When Moses tells the elders, they all agree 100% that they will heed the words of the Lord. Actually they agreed before they knew the full extent of what God had to say to them. When Moses went back to God to tell Him what the people said, God told him more.

How many times do we receive “the Word of The Lord”, either from a sermon we hear or from music that we listen to or from a friend that has something to share with us and are 100% in agreement with it? Maybe it is just the first lesson in a series of lessons and we agree 100% with everything that is taught that first lesson and agree 100% ahead of time on the upcoming lessons? I can’t say that I have ever done that… but the people agreed with whatever the Lord was going to tell them. Maybe we need to trust that the messages that we hear are from the Lord and not just “another person”. However, with that said, nowadays, we have to make sure the person saying these things to us is really of God. If you are connected to God and walk with Him daily, you will know in your spirit though. You can be assured by the Holy Spirit if it is truth being spoken to you or just someone’s “opinion”, but you have to have that “relationship” with God for that.

This ongoing conversation with God and Moses proves that they definitely had a relationship and it was a close one. The next time Moses treks up the mountain, God tells him to go down and consecrate the people… in other words, prepare the people for the presence of God! God gave specific instructions about how the people should prepare or “consecrate” themselves before His appearance.83f658b0f0a46f221ae5afe1a0269bd2

Do you ever make sure you are really ready to “meet with God?” Today, we really don’t have to go through all the rituals that the Israelites went through to be in God’s presence because of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our “High Priest” and He consecrates us by His death and resurrection. However, the Israelites did not have that provision for themselves. We may not have to go through all the rituals that the Israelites had to but we do need to prepare in other ways to meet God. If we walk with Jesus daily, we can be assured that our spirit will soak in some of that precious goodness of His and hopefully it will sink deep into our being and change us. If we know Jesus, we are changed from the inside out and that helps prepare us to meet God at any given moment. He is always there and loves for us to reach out and talk to Him and rely on Him in all of our daily life situations.

I remember one time I was attending another church and was singing in the choir. I had become single due to a divorce and began dating again. I began to allow the “world” a foothold in my life and before I knew it I was living as the world lives. I recognized this and removed myself from the choir. Why? Because, as a choir member, I believe that I was called to a higher standard of living and I was not living that “higher standard”. I believe if you are a “worship leader” of any capacity – choir member, praise team or worship pastor, you are called to live a life that is “pleasing” to the Father. I wasn’t. So, I left the choir. I know that sounds a bit backwards… why didn’t I just start living right instead of leaving the choir? That is a good question and the only answer I have is … I was selfish and wanted what I wanted. Not a good attitude of a Christ follower, I know. However, God and I have talked long and deep about that time in my life, among other times, and I know my God forgives and still loves me greatly! I said all that to say this … yes, there are times that we do need to “consecrate” ourselves to be in His presence, even though we have Jesus in our lives. So, let’s get back on track…

For the people to be consecrated they were instructed to do several things to purify themselves. Then the Lord would descend onto the mountain to talk to Moses. When God does descend on the mountain it is a display of His power and majesty. The people witnessed the mountain being totally covered in smoke and God descending on the mountain in the fire. This must have been an awesome sight and one that the Israelites should not forget for quite some time. From the smoke, God calls to Moses to come up onto the mountain. Moses does so and God tells him to go back and make sure the people DO NOT come near the mountain and not so much as to touch the mountain.Mt_Sinai_on_fire_1208OT-51

Now, the next thing out of Moses mouth is a reassurance to God that the people will not be coming too close. Then, the response from God seems a bit agitated.

Exodus 19:24

Then the Lord said to him, “Away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest He break out against them.”

The commentaries I have read on this particular scripture mention nothing of the seemingly agitated comment of God, so I will just deduce that God apparently was a bit agitated by Moses’ reluctance to go back down to tell the people something that he had already told them and they had made the boundaries around the base of the mountain as was instructed earlier. Maybe Moses was quite tired and didn’t want to make that trek yet, or maybe he didn’t want to leave the presence of God just yet. I do not know for sure… just speculation and that’s as good as I can do for now.

One commentator did say that because God told Moses to bring Aaron with him but no one else that Their leadership was thereby confirmed.Moses_and_Aaron_1046-237

That brings us to the end of chapter 19. We can see that God and Moses have quite a relationship at this point. One that continues to strengthen with each encounter. The next chapter is when the “Law” is given – The Ten Commandments. Again, this promises to be a challenge for me and I covet your prayers as I study and seek God’s guidance in what He wants me to share with you. God is such an awesome and wonderful God. Loving, long-suffering, patient and kind. The more I study and learn, the more I want to know. I am so blessed to have the scriptures … the Bible … to learn from. God’s Word is precious to me and I pray that I will always be able to have a copy and read and learn from. God wants all of His children to learn what He has to say in His Word. Mostly that He loves you so much! He calls you His beloved!

The Song – God Amazing – Charles Billingsley

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