In Exodus 15 there’s an incident that carries weight for today. Israel has come to the springs of Marah. The water is bitter. The people turn to Moses. They challenge him and the complaint voraciously. “Why have you brought us here?” They press Moses to the point of mutiny. They are furious.
Some commentators believe this bitter water was a laxative, and anyone who drank this “bitter” water made many trips to the outhouse!
Moses is shown a branch of a common tree. The Lord speaks a word of ďirection he’s to throw the branchaďirectly into the spring. It’ll cure the water, and make it sweet.
It seems to me that Jesus’ awful cross cures the bitterness we absorb as we make our way through life.
“Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord was speaking about when he said, ‘I must be respected as holy by those who come near me; before all the people I must be given honor.’ “ So Aaron did not say anything about the death of his sons.”
Leviticus 10:3, NCV
We dare not become casual by our contact we have with the Lord. Intimacy is obvious, but it must be done with certain precautions. He asks for us to respond with a sense of holiness. It is vitally important to Him, and it is vital for us. We must honor Him as the One who is holy.
The closer we come, the more significant our response. We are carefully monitored, to see what we will do after we confront the reality of Him. He insists that we should honor Him as ‘holy’. He passionately desires and requests that we do what is appropriate and honorable as we meet Him.
Giving Him honor is critical. It should be the first thought of every man or woman who presses in to know Him. Honoring Him as holy is not regarded as an option to be debated or brought out for consideration. It is essential to follow Him faithfully.
We live with ‘lightning’, and a flamethrower, it seems. He is a tiger who we have grabbed by the tail, we have but a few options. One is too release our hold and let Him go. The second is too hold on to Him with all our strength. He loves those who make the second choice. Grab hold of the Lord Jesus, and hang on for dear life!
“Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
Isaiah 33:14, NKJV
He is dangerous, but in a good way.
We should anticipate Him coming and disrupting our Sunday services. We need our ushers to hand-out ropes and life-jackets before the service starts. We should expect Him to explode in our congregations, in a whirlwind of holy love. He wants us to expect Him. We must be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is a sense here in Leviticus 10 of something that is needful and mandatory on our parts. Often we will discover that entering and abiding in His presence requires us to honor His holiness. When we do so, we find we will trigger a response from the Lord, which will it turn be a true blessing to our own souls.
The moment you come to realize that only a holy God can make a man godly, you are left with no option but to find God, and to know God, and to let God be God in and through you.
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”
1 Corinthians 1:27, NLT
God has particular preferences when it comes to peculiar people. He selectively chooses. These choices are made up in his mind and heart. For us to criticize them, is by association, faulting God. It just happens to be that He likes losers. He choses uneven performers over the gifted and learned, (1 Cor. 1:26).
There have been very many men and women tossed out on the trash heap of humanity. They are often regarded as useless and irrelevant. But God loves the outcast and forgotten.
We who are the disabled know weakness intimately. We must deal with it 24/7; and it never takes a holiday, We are broken believers who are in love with Jesus and still we are broken. Talk about having faith for healing? What about the faith to be sick?
People who have experienced dealings so harsh– most likely— there is little pride or arrogance left. These are usually the marginalized, the losers. People like Moses,
“Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Someone once said, “When God intends to use a man or woman He takes them and crushes them.” The inevitable breaking is followed by a release of the Holy Spirit from their lives. Moses is proof of God’s renovating presence. You want the presence? Prepare for years of roughness, and misunderstanding. Prepare for the crushing.
At the burning bush, Moses was given the assignment of returning, confronting Pharaoh, and leading all the captives to the Promised Land of Canaan. He had just spent 40 years as a refugee/shepherd. In spite of a good education he had received while in Egypt as a prince, that wasn’t why he had been selected.
Moses has definite feelings of inadequacy and failure. And his time in the desert did nothing to relieve this. But a 40 year “prison” term will do that. In chapter 4 of Exodus we read “the back and forth” conversation between Moses and the Lord God. All of Moses’ objections were consistently volleyed back with comfort and promise.
As you read this, you may be aware of God’s presence. He has called you to do something for him. You have wandered off the path, gotten lost and suffered much. The “desert” will do that. But it all can be forgiven. His alert grace is a velvet battering ram of grace and love. He will (and does) discipline you–but only because he is passionately in love with your soul, and His glory.
When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it.16 The glory of the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud.17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a fire burning on top of the mountain.18Then Moses went into the cloud and went higher up the mountain. He was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
When we think real hard about ‘glory’ we end up gravitating to something that is invisible. We work it out and it becomes something like honor, prestige, fame or respect. This is a good start for us, and we do benefit from this sort of mental gymnastics.
Moses gets an invite from God to join Him on top of Sinai. I can see Moses trembling with excitement as he climbs up into the Glory of God. I’m willing to guess that the concept of just mere ‘invisible’ attributes was about to go through a major overhaul. Moses entered the glory. And nothing would ever be the same again.
Glory is a repeated experience that touched the children of Israel.
First of all, during the Exodus they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire. It protected and provided all that they needed. All they had to do is look up.
Secondly, God’s glory took residence on Mt. Sinai. There was much to do. The Israelites commented that this glory altered the mountain top to ‘a consuming fire’. I have been in a forest fire and it was quite intimidating; frightening is a very good description.
Thirdly, we see the glory of God is at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. We are told that the presence of God was so powerful that it temporary incapacitated the priests that were present. It totally undid them and it laid them out on the floor (1 Kings 8:11).
The fourth time we see the Glory of God was at the Transfiguration in Luke 9:29-31. Three disciples were present, and inexplicably Moses and Elijah. But it was Jesus that took center-stage. He seems to be the ‘focal point’ of lots and lots of glory.
I’m coming to see that glory is a whole lot more than esteem or honor. Glory has a bolder and more intense quality about it. Yes, it is respect and honor. But it goes beyond this–it seems to be turbocharged with the supernatural. I have been in revival meetings that were quite glorious. Perhaps we need to seriously look for or anticipate more of these “disturbances of glory.” (I’ve been saving this verse for the end.)
Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Cor. 3:18, NCV
We are simply ‘display cases’ that take in His glory and magnify it through our humanity. It changes us to become more Christlike, and this verse seems to suggest that this keeps increasing, it doesn’t fizzle out. And I’m thinking that this is tremendous!