Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why We May Be Failing To Hear God

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Patience After Patience
Exodus 24:16-18: And the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.  And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop.  And Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

What can we glean from these three verses?

Perhaps a good place to start is to make sure we have an understanding of what the “glory of the Lord” may mean.  Matt Slick, President & Founder, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, defines it this way:

The phrase "glory of the Lord" occurs 38 times in the NASB, 36 in the KJV.  Glory is synonymous with splendor, honor, praise, worthiness, etc.  The phrase is used to describe the manifestation of God’s greatness (Exodus 16:10) and is seen as a consuming fire (Exodus 24:17), a cloud (1 Kings 8:11), radiance (Ezekiel 1:26-28), and brightness (Ezekiel 10:4).  It fills the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) and can be seen (Numbers 16:42) and can bring fear (Luke 2:9).

From our text under study here in Exodus it appears that the “glory of the Lord” moves about, and in this case, it rested on Mount Sinai.  This reminds me of two things.  First, I think of a quote, from the book, Experiencing God, by Henry & Richard Blackaby, and Claude King.  It went like this, “Watch to see where God is working and join Him” based on John 5:17,19,20. We need to find out where God’s glory is being manifested and both worship and serve in that arena. Secondly, in this passage, His glory rested on a mountain – a mountain that Moses had to climb. Many of us today just want to have His glory where we are – down here in the easy-going, soft, self-fulfilling life that we live.  God says, “No, you’ll find me on the mountain and it’s hard work getting up here.” How hard is it finding God’s “glory”?  Well, I think the next phrase tells us.

Even though God’s glory rested on Mount Sinai, a cloud covered it for six whole days. Moses had obeyed.  He made the trip up the Mountain, but he still had to wait for God’s timing for leader of Israelites in the desert to hear from Him. How would your patience, or mine, have handled that? If we answer, “not well” – perhaps we’re not ready to hearken to what He has to say to us.

And then God calls Moses on the seventh day – seven whole days after Moses was summoned to make the trip up the Mountain.  Moses obeyed; he did everything he had to, and God still made him wait.  If we question God’s action in that regard, we still need to do some work on Who God is and How He operates.  Not to mention reconsidering exactly who we are.

Meanwhile, half way down the Mountain, the other 72 leaders and elders that had joined Moses and Joshua for the first leg of the trip, saw, from below, the glory of the Lord as a consuming fire at the top of the mountain.  Can you imagine what went through their heads?  Was it possible that they thought Moses and Joshua were simply called up higher to be sacrificed in a burning fire?  If not, will they ever return and what will they be like?  And so on.  I am sure, that at the least, they would have been filled with great awe and perhaps considerable fear.  Think of your possible reaction if that had been your pastor and the head of your church’s board of directors?

And then we read, that after God called Moses (on the seventh day) from the midst of the cloud, Moses walked into the cloud (I believe without Joshua) as he continued to get closer to God.  Great, at last, we’ll have some action.  Things will happen now, won’t they?  “We need things to happen now, God.”  But they didn’t.  In fact, our text says, “Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights” after that point in time.

Here’s the lesson.  If we really want God’s wisdom, His direction, and His help – we must realize, understand, and accept the fact that we have absolutely no control over how He gives them to us.  Sometimes He acts quickly, sometimes in “a little while”, and sometimes it seems forever.  But He’s fully aware of time, and knows that although He’s not bound by it, we are concerned with it.  Until we get to the point where we can honestly believe that His timing is absolutely best, designed to both take the ultimate advantage of circumstances into account, as well as providing us with the ultimate opportunity to grow in patience and in our faith, we will always struggle with when God speaks.  I pray you get ‘there’ sooner rather than later.
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