What Moses Really Wanted from God

March 28, 2016 at 11:27 am | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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In instructing Moses to proceed into Canaan, the Lord said that He would withdraw His presence further from them, and that He would assign an angel to lead them and fight for them, because they were stiffnecked.

And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.

Exodus 33:2-3

God expressed concern that He might be forced to destroy them when they disobeyed again. The people did not like this. In their repentance they wanted God near them. The Lord arranged for a new meeting place with Moses – a tabernacle outside of the camp.

And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.

Exodus 33:7-10

Here Moses continued to intercede for a full restoration of God’s presence with the people, to which God ultimately agreed.

For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

Exodus 33:16-17

This favorable response from God emboldened Moses to ask for “the big one:”

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Exodus 33:18-23

Moses did not want fame, comfort, security, or even health. What he longed for was more revelation of God – a greater understanding of God. This came from spending time with God in whatever ways God had allowed already. It came from unquestioning obedience to God, and a love for others, in the sense of wanting to bring them into fellowship with God. May we want God Himself and not just what He provides, and may our evangelism be motivated by unselfish love. May our motivation for evangelism be centered on trying to get people to God for His glory and their good.

False Prophecy and Disappointment

January 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Posted in Micah | 7 Comments
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Micah was prophesying to a people with whom God had made a covenant. But He was letting them know that the fact of being in covenant with God does not excuse two sins in particular.

One was covetousness.

Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.

Micah 2:1-3

The second was false prophecy.

Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame. O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?

Micah 2:6-7

Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.

Micah 2:10-11

Prophets who are truly sent from God are seldom popular. One of the marks of a false prophet is that, in telling people they are good, he is loved by the people. Satan had been at work in the false prophets being addressed by Micah. In the Old Testament, we can often identify Satan trying to do two things: one, trying to contaminate or kill off the line of the Messiah before His birth; two, trying to kill the Jewish people in general. The sins of covetousness/greed and counterfeiting God’s words (false prophecy) are two of Satan’s favorites. Micah did not bring God’s judgment upon the people. He foretold it. He was the messenger, not the destroyer.

Micah 2:7 asks if the Spirit of the Lord is “straightened?” The people didn’t want to hear any true prophecies. They only wanted prophecies that were “happy,” but God’s Spirit is not straightened just because people don’t want to hear Him. God can reveal Himself through means other than prophets. Christians should be so excited about God’s Word that we can’t help but tell about others about it, even though we are not receiving new, immediate, private revelations from God. The Bible itself, and its sufficiency, reveals God to us. Creation, and even the scientific study of it, should reveal God to us. Our consciences, when they are sensitive to the Spirit, will reveal God at work in us.

For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.

Micah 1:12

If we are waiting for “good,” and then we perceive that “bad” comes to us instead, it is a recipe for disappointment. We must be careful, for disappointment can be a form of blaming God. The Bible says that “evil came down from the Lord,” because the people were looking for good somewhere else besides God. We should we look for good to come from the Lord, and, even better, we ought to just to look for the Lord Himself to come. Whether He brings good or evil from our perspective, it will really be good, because it will be His will.

Presumed Guilty

March 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Selected Psalms | 2 Comments
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God has revealed Himself to us in creation and in His Word (the Bible). These are what we might call “external” revelations of God. God has also revealed Himself within us (internal revelation).

It’s good to see God around us. It’s better to have a revelation of God in our hands (the Bible). It’s better still to get the knowledge of God’s revelation into our heads. But the best is to get the revelation of God down into our hearts – where it transforms us.

There is a revelation of God in every heart (the moral law), but the more revelation we get from the Bible, God’s moral laws, and Biblical teaching, the more of our sins we see. Before this happens to us, they are sins of ignorance.

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

Psalm 19:12-13 (emphasis added)

Presumptuous sins are sins we are fully aware of and intend to commit knowing we are doing them.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

We need a Redeemer to save us from presumptuous sins. Jesus Christ is that Redeemer.


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