Musings 128

Exodus 33:13 “Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” 14 And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” 17 The LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.” 18 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” 19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”

What Moses had in leading the people was a heart for God and His honor and glory. What Moses wanted in order to lead the people was God and His glory. He did not have a plan to grow the number of the people and he did not have a plan to build a large and elaborate church in order to draw the people in. He did, however, receive plans (not in this text) from God on how to build the Tabernacle. The difference between the Tabernacle and a church building is enormous. The church building is meant to house people and to many today it is meant to attract people. The Tabernacle was a place for the slaughter of animals and to be a dwelling place for God. It was also where the High Priest offered the blood of a sacrifice for the sins of the people.

The Tabernacle was a place for God and a place to show forth the Gospel and the glories of God. Perhaps we should learn something from the Old Testament pictures. The Tabernacle was centered upon God, His glory, and how His people would be acceptable to Him. In our day it seems as if we try to make God acceptable to people. This is not only backwards, it is idolatrous. But we can see quite clearly that Moses wanted the presence of God with him and the people. Moses longed to see the glory of God, and this was what he cried out for. He hungered and desired to behold the glory of God. He sounded like the Psalmist who longed for God more than his daily food. He also sounded like the Psalmist in thirsting after God like a hunted deer in the desert.

It is not until the professing Church gives up all of its business ideas on how to numerically grow and gives up on the plans of the experts on all of what it does and begins to seek the Lord that it will then become the true Church. A true church must preach the true Gospel, but in order to preach the true Gospel the preachers and the people must long for and seek the presence and the true glory of God. If the true Gospel is all about the glory of God shining forth and being seen in Christ, then there is no true preaching of the Gospel unless the preachers begin to preach that way. Preachers cannot preach that way unless their hearts have been broken from self and pride and they give up on being good preachers and they long for God themselves.

Churches must give up on being big churches, rich churches, and this or that kind of church and actually become a church that seeks the face of God. They will have to become churches that have prayer meetings where God is actually sought rather than a meeting to pray about the physical, financial, and “emotional” issues of people. This is not to say that praying for those things is wrong, but it is to say that praying for the presence of God in order to behold His glory and manifest His glory is the chief end of the prayer meeting. Churches must not just pray as if using God to get things that it wants as such, but it should pray for God to change the hearts of the people where people pray for the presence of God because He is the chief desire of their hearts.

The modern professing Church is in utter shambles because it trusts in almost everything rather than God Himself. The professing Church wants to grow, it wants to get more money, and perhaps it wants a good creed. All of those things are virtually worthless unless God Himself shows His glory to the Church and unless God is present with His people. Each converted human soul is a temple of the living God and the converted souls together make up the dwelling place of God in a different sense. The only sacrifice we have is Christ and it is in His name and for His glory that we are to approach the throne of grace. Only the humble and the broken have a place at the throne of grace, so instead of building each other up (in one sense) we should seek broken hearts, self-abandonment, and humility in order to seek Him. But of course those things will only come by His grace. We must truly seek the true God or we are simply playing church.

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