Pressing Past the Motions into the Meeting with God

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November 14, 2021

Exodus 33:7-11 (NIV)

7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 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.

CONSIDER THIS

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

I have some strong encouragement for you today. It’s those last thirteen words from today’s “blast from the past” text. 

but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

In those days I think of Joshua as maybe somewhere between 16 and 20. He was Moses aide-de-camp. A couple of questions for us.

Why did Joshua go to the Tent of Meeting? Because Moses, his leader went. 

Why did Moses go to the Tent? To meet with God. 

The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.

Now, why did Joshua “not leave the tent,” when Moses left? 

My hunch: Joshua was learning to meet with God, and something tells me, “The Lord would speak to Joshua face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” Something tells me Moses actually invited Joshua into his meeting with God and they shared in this face to face encounter with God and each other. 

Growing up in the church, it never really occurred to me that “going to church” was “meeting with God.” It was, well, “going to church.” And for the longest time, “daily quiet time” was not really a “meeting with God.” It was reading a devotion and saying a prayer (and slipping in and out of sleep if I’m honest). These “practices” of going to church and daily devotions were my faithfulness to the motions as I had learned them, but I’m afraid these faithful practices missed the movement of God altogether. Well grooved forms of faith, but no power of God. 

When we started the New Room Conference almost eight years ago we decided we didn’t want to do another conference; nor did we want to do an “un-conference” or some other “this is different” novel approach. We had one intention: Meeting with God. We had one prayer: “Lord Jesus, could we have a meeting with you.”

David inspired us: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2)

We wanted to create a time and space where people would come—not because of a theme or topic; not because of who is speaking or leading worship—but simply to meet with the living God. And friends, it has been all at once nothing spectacular and the most extraordinary thing I have ever been a part of.  In fact, our team is praying now about no longer listing the names of our speakers and worship leaders save one name: Jesus. This is a Meeting with Jesus. Come and expect to be surprised and delighted by Jesus. Something tells me you would come to a meeting like that. 

Back to Joshua. Josh knew God because he met with God, day after day, year after year, face to face, as a person speaks with their friend. There comes a point in this journey, if we can stay awake with Jesus, deepen our awareness of his presence, our attention to his words, our attunement to his voice, our attachment to his heart, we will find him abiding in us all the time and we in him. Though we leave the tent, the meeting never stops. Moses left the tent, but he never left the meeting with God.

but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Joshua was learning to meet with God. 

Years later, when it mattered most, Joshua was able to give encouragement to others because he had the courage of God coursing through him. 

Your heart longs for this. It’s the life we were made for—person-ing the presence of Jesus everywhere and all the time.  

[O.K., so I’m needing to see a few hundred more hands to pull the trigger on this. Would you share the invite with friends and see if they might be interested? January class—Learning How to Read the Bible Better.  If you are interested, Let me know here.

THE PRAYER

Father, thank you for inviting us into the “tent of meeting.” And thank you for showing us that our very body is the tent—the place of meeting with you that can go on and on all the time. Teach us this way of abiding, of moving from awareness to attention to attunement to attachment to unceasing fellowship and communion with Jesus. Come Holy Spirit and break through the movements and motions and into the deep mystery of abiding in Jesus. In his name we pray, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

Are you drawn into this way of learning to leave the tent– so to speak– but never leave the meeting with Jesus? Talk about your own experience with this. 

P.S. ONE MORE SWING AT ADVENT (Scholarship Opportunity)

So this upcoming Advent Experience— today’s text is what it will be all about—learning to meet with God, and we will be doing it together every single morning. I want you to break with your ordinary pattern and try this. Advent intentions to be an Awakening Season. Because I know some of you have not registered because you can’t spare the money just now, I want to offer you a full ride scholarship—no questions asked. Email me at jd.walt@Seedbed.com and I’ll be in touch this week with the details. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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