The Only Distinction That Matters

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July 6, 2018

Exodus 33:15-18

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17 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.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

CONSIDER THIS

How shall we close these Old Testament Readings on prayer and open up our series on prayer and the New Testament?

Let’s begin with the piercing question posed by Moses before God.

What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

Moses knew neither he nor the people could distinguish themselves. Essential as they are, it is not our orthodox beliefs that distinguish us. Important as they are, it is not our holy habits that distinguish us. We are distinguished by God’s presence alone.

God’s presence is known and encountered by those who walk with God in a life of prayer. In yesterday’s text we were told, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” Exodus 33:11a. 

In today’s text God reassures Moses of his presence with these words, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” 

And if that weren’t enough, God granted Moses a glimpse of his glory, hiding him in the cleft of the rock and appearing to him. Moses had a unique, one of a kind relationship with God, but it bears no comparison to the kind of relationship God has opened up for us. Look at how Paul makes the comparison in his second letter to the Corinthians.

7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 2 Corinthians 3:7-8.

And then in a spectacular turn, reaching all the way back to Genesis 1, Paul drops this:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6.

Most of us have had a kind of doctrinal conversion. We have believed on the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have felt our sins forgiven at some level and we do our best to be Christian. I do not want to question the legitimacy of this place of faith. I only want to say there is a much better, richer, deeper and more alive place of faith.

The only way, really, to get from the former place to the latter is not by denouncing the former place but by becoming discontent with it. It requires an ever increasing appetite for the presence of God. This quest delves far deeper than the water table of mere religious experience. It is an abandoned seeking after the glory of God displayed in the face of Jesus Christ.

Let me close this first half of the Daily Text series on prayer with a story. Blaise Pascal was a brilliant 17th century scientist, mathematician, philosopher and later theologian. His faith had been nominal at best until one night as he prepared for bed. He encountered the manifest presence of God in a mystical and supernatural way. He described it as follows:

The year of grace 1654,

Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology. Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others. From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,

FIRE.

GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.

He later took the piece of paper on which he had written the account and sewed it into the lining of his jacket where it remained undiscovered until his death.

See you Monday in Galilee!

 

THE PRAYER

Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What are your Old Testament takeaways as it relates to prayer?
  2. How has your praying changed as a result of these past several weeks of reading together?
  3. What is the place of greatest challenge in your life of prayer right now?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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

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