Image by mehul.antani via Flickr
Preached Sunday, 1-17-11 by Pastor Chris, FBC Prescott
Excerpts From The Fellowship Group Questions and Sermon Notes:
“Each of the following passages demonstrates a time when God’s glory was seen due to His presence with the people. For each passage, list the ways in which God’s glory is demonstrated, state how the people reacted, give any reasons you can find why the people would react that way, and consider any practical ways their life might change as a result of experiencing God’s glory.”
Exodus 19:1-25, Exodus 34-38, Isaiah 6:1-13, and Ezekiel 1:4-2:7
God’s glory was demonstrated in each of these passages with smoke, fire, brilliant light, lightening, great earthly trembling, and in Isaiah 6, the Lord sits on a throne.
The people reacted by cleansing their outward appearance in Exodus 19 (according to the NIV Study Bible, outward preparation to meet God symbolizes the inward consecration that God requires of people), and abstaining from sexual activity (not because it was a sin, but because the mere act would make them unclean). Isaiah reacted in Isaiah 6 in agonizing godly sorrow for the actions of his people and himself. Ezekiel fell face down when he faced God’s glory. Each of them reacted thus because they were faced by this all consuming Glory and in Isaiah and Ezekiel case, they knew it was a death sentence to see God’s face.
Seeing God in all His glory changed the people in practical ways like obedience; In Exodus 40:34-38, the Israelites waited until the glory of the Lord lifted from the Tent of Meeting before they moved to a different location. In essence, they were obediently following the Lord’s direction. Israel was viewed according to the NIV Study Notes as an “extended family household” and God was with them, tenting among them.
Read Exodus 32-34
I hardly take notes during the sermon. I sit and absorb and reflect later. However, Pastor Chris asked a question after saying this (paraphrased from the sermon):
In Exodus, the Lord was honoring the promises He had made to the Israelites. They could have the Promised Land, but instead of God traveling with them, God would send only His angel to lead the way. He did this in reaction to the Israelites building a golden calf and worshiping it in Moses’ absence. This angered God. Moses chose not to accept these terms. Instead, he begged God to come with them. He did not want all that was promised if God would not dwell among them.
If God gave us good health, plenty of money, comfort, and everything that we wanted and needed in this world, but He would not be a part of our life, would we want it still? Pastor Chris charged that many Christians would not hesitate to go for what makes them comfortable in this world over having God dwelling among them. Am I so easily bought? Would I turn away from God in exchange for whatever this world offers? What would wealth and power do to me? Would I change?
While it’s comforting to have God dwell among us, there’s a certain uncomfortable accountability with God dwelling among us as He did with the Israelites. The sinful person in me squirms at the thought. Yet, I am retraining my brain to verbally think of God as Father. Doesn’t a child wish that her Father was close to her and would spend His free time with her, sharing His thoughts and encouragement? A child doesn’t balk at her earthly father’s discipline. She accepts it because she knows he disciplines her out of love and not hate.
If the ocean spreads out to the curvature of the earth, the sun spreads its rays over the jagged mountains, and the large moon lights the night forest in silvery blue light, God’s glory must be greater, more magnificent, and I can’t imagine it. I know my frail being would tremble if faced by God’s glory and I would fall face down like Ezekiel in fear and awe. I want to intentionally live each day to keep God in His rightful place as Lord over my life and treat Him like my Father and the God of the Universe—personal and close by, and yet powerful and holy.
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