Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Finding higher ground...

What is it to find higher ground and why is it important?

Exodus 33 vs 11 "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

There is a song which goes "Down at your feet oh Lord is the most high place..."

There was something about this two men that set them apart.

First, we'll look at Moses:

Psalm 103 verse 7 - in the literal translation from the Greek (www.scripture4all.org) says the Lord was making His ways known to Moses and to the children of Israel He made known His activities.

My ways and my activities are two slightly different things; if you know my ways you will really get to know me a bit better, you will understand my thought process, where my heart is and have some depth into why I do the things I do but if you only know my activities - you know less about me, you have seen some things I have done but we don't have intimacy which would give you an insight to my heart - you have no idea about the what that makes me tick. 

Moses knew God intimately:
  • They talked like friends as we see in vs 11 of Exodus 33 
  • Moses asked God to teach Him his ways - he was hungry for more of God. "if you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you" in verse 13a 
  • Moses did not just stop at teach me your ways or talking like friends, his hunger for intimacy was far more, he asked God a question, He said in verse 18 of Exodus 33 “Now show me your glory." 
  • I also noticed something really interesting: God ENJOYED Moses too! The feeling was very much mutual. When Moses asked God to blot him out of his book if he would not forgive the sin of the Israelites in Exodus 32 vs 32. The Lord replied in vs 33 this way "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book". Do you notice how The Lord did not directly respond to the request? It reminded me quite a bit of my mum when she ignores a question and responds to a different question than you asked. I got a sense of God not willing to let go of Moses! Under no circumstances am I letting you go son. The one who speaks with me, who carries my people on his heart for me, faithful in all I send him, who just spent the last 40 days with Me and just Me. No I won't let you go because I enjoy your company!

Now lets look at Joshua. Joshua was not a big prophet like Moses was when we see him in Exodus 32. He was just Joshua, Moses's helper. He didn't speak to God face to face, He wasn't a leader but this man desired more of God. Joshua did not let his current level of revelatory knowledge or position keep Him from God. Even when Moses was not at the tent of meeting, Joshua remained. I got a sense of someone who just said to himself "you know what The Lord may need someone to go get Moses from the camp so I'll just hang around here so he can use me".

Lord I am ready to be your butler, your houseboy, just tell me what you need Sir.

Joshua had a hunger and a value for God. He stewarded God, He knew the presence of God was precious, so he was just gonna hang around and steward Him incase He needed him for anything. This kind of attitude really helped Joshua, so much that when the camp fell and the people of Israel turned to idols. Joshua was oblivious to all of it because he was too busy stewarding the presence of the Lord.

He didn't get caught up with "The God was taking too long ideology" or "I want to be just like my neighbours ideology". Having his focus in the right place shielded him from satan's temptation which fell on the camp, this is higher ground - abiding in God's presence always so that you don't get carried away when satan throws his storms and waves of temptation.

See, it's so easy to read the Bible and judge our predecessors and say "this Israelites were so stiff necked". However I think it is important that we stop to think to ourselves and say how can I keep myself from falling where they fell? To ask ourselves about those that did not fall, and find out how did they achieved it knowing that we are all susceptible to temptation. As it is a wonder to me, how they could fall so far after the red sea was parted and they were brought out of Egypt with signs of 10 mighty plagues, and still turn around and serve an idol.

I wonder how differently things could have been if they had sat around the fires and talked about the might works of God and praised His name - shared testimonies of things He had done in times past whilst they waited on Him and on Moses's return from the mountain - where God was busy working stuff out on their behalf!

Some things I learnt about Joshua:
  • Joshua never took God's presence for granted 
  • He stewarded God's presence with the heart of a servant 
  • He was fascinated by God, He regarded God 
  • He didn't want to be like everybody else unlike the children of Israel who wanted to be like their neighbours not understanding that satan was exposing their nakedness and making them a laughing stock - see Exodus 32:25. Joshua always defined himself by God's standards. It was Joshua who said in Joshua 24:15 "As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord"! Today so many of us want to pattern ourselves against the world standards, we think we are meant to be the same - talk about the same things, copy their way of doing things and import it into the Church regardless of the impact or appropriateness to God's palate and agenda.
  • He didn't let anything limit him, it didn't matter that he didn't talk to God face to face like Moses yet or part the red sea, eventually this same Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still (Joshua 10:12). He was able to do this because persisted in his pursuit of God, he had a great regard for God's presence. 
Abide in the presence of the Lord - there is no-one more fascinating than God! Nothing else compares! It will keep you from being shaken when the world is being shaken and sift like wheat. It will deliver you from evil and keep you from temptation.

Pause and think about it.

No comments: