A Question

It’s good to study Scripture on your own. Reading His personal letter of love and grace and forgiveness in the quietness of your own room. But if you are anything like me, it’s nice having a bit of help and guidance.

I just started a new Beth Moore Bible Study at my church. Jesus, the One and Only. I was formally introduced to her studies two summers ago when I did her Esther study. It was so life changing. I haven’t been in ‘Bible Study’ since then and I have missed it dearly. I especially love her ‘down-to-earth’, southern nature. It’s fun being able to relate to this woman.
Today I was struck by something in particular. She asked a question:

What if God gave us every thing we ever wanted, including eternal security? But there was a catch – No God. Would you take it?

The answer might seem obvious. Of course not! But I began to really think about what my answer is to that question. Do I really walk in that – clinging to God rather than all of my have not’s?

She read the passage in Exodus 33.
God was basically telling the Israelites that He was sick and tired of them. He was done. He would give them the promised land. He would fulfill His promise and give them the land flowing with milk and honey. Even send an angel before them to destroy their enemies. And as Beth pointed out, He would even secure their position as His chosen people. But He would not go with them.  He said, “You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.” vs.3

Wow! You can just feeeeel the tension! God was mad. He was frustrated. I was totally relating to this passage. I was thinking of my mommy-days of late. I think I have even said something like that, “What am I going to do with you?” Even Beth shared one of ‘those’ mothering moments – If you know what’s good for you, make yourself scarce! talking through your teeth – kind of moments. It was, again, comforting to know that I’m not the only one who gets frustrated. God has even had those moments of exasperation with his kids.

Back to the Question:
Would you? Would you take whatever it is that would make your life complete? Would you take it, and leave God?

First I had to ask myself, what is it that I want? What keeps me from being satisfied? What creates a longing inside of me? What makes me grumble and complain? Am I stiff-necked? I really didn’t have to think long. I knew immediately. I think we all know that one or two or ten things that constantly nag at us, making us nag our husbands or children or God.

Back to Exodus:
Moses went into the tent of meeting. This was a big deal. It was set outside the camp, away from the multitudes. Just knowing that Moses was in there talking to God made the people stand and worship. vs. 10 “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” vs. 11

So Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” We’d rather stay in the desert. We’d rather eat mana every day. We’d rather deal with the sand and the sun and lack of water. Please, just don’t make us go without you!

Back to the question:
Can I honestly say that? Would I rather deal with the desert? Would I rather deal with ‘starvation’? Would I rather deal with discomfort? Would I rather not have my dreams fulfilled? Can I be ok with that?

Back to Exodus:
Moses is still talking, “What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” The presence of God was what made them special, set apart. The fact that He spoke to them, that was their identity. Without that, who would they be? If God was not WITH them, there would be a major identity crisis. You can almost hear the pleading in his voice.

Back to the Question:
How do I want to be identified? Who do I want to be identified with? I mean really? My relationships? My mothering? Ministry? I think I have been allowing the idols of my heart to take precedence. I think the Israelites were in the same boat. And then God gave them the ultimatum. I think it would be safe to assume that He was serious. He had given people over before – over to their depraved hearts. He had departed from them, never to return.

Back to Exodus:
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.'” vs. 17
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” vs.18

I had to look down at the commentary in my study Bible for this one. Did Moses really demand to see the glory of God? But further more, did God really change his mind? I think this interchange is really neat. It shows the kind of relationship that God and Moses had. It had come a long way since the first conversation they had had. As the commentary pointed out, Moses was terrified when God spoke to him the first time through the burning bush. He couldn’t even raise his head at the relatively ‘small’ display of His glory. Now he had a boldness before the God of Israel and wanted to see His unbridled glory fully! And God had such a tender, intimate love for this flawed man Moses. He told him that yes, He would show him Himself, but not fully. This time he had asked too much, he could not see His face.

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.” vs.19
The next day on Mount Sinai:
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…” 34:6-7

Back to the Question:
Or rather, the answer. Christ is the only answer. He is the only way to true fulfillment, true satisfaction. We are unsatisfied when we aren’t seeking hard after him. It takes an element of work, it takes focus.

I have needed serious reminding of that lately. I have had my ‘coast’ button on. I’ve been tired and wanting a break. But the only break we get is when we are resting in Him, in His compassion and grace, the fact that He is slow to anger, His abounding love and faithfulness, His forgiveness…

 Isa 55:1-3: 1“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

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