The Children of Israel pitched their tents at the edge of the wilderness of the great Sinai desert in the presence of a smoldering mountain sharing its name. The Lord has brought them safely out of Egypt and they are taking a break for the journey ahead. Moses, their leader, left camp and went up into the mount to present himself to God after He had called to him out of the mountain. It is here that God reminds Moses of what He had done and why; “Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (Exodus 19:4).
The value of our public service for God is measured by the private and profound communion we have with Him. It is in the midst of this quiet time with God that He instruct, answer and remind us of the things done for us out of the abundance of love He has for us. We have to pitch our tents where we can hear “the still quiet voice” of the Lord when He calls us to him from His Mountain. Regardless of how noisy our world may be we must have some quiet time with the Lord. This is the difference in being called and going on your own accord.
Moses understood the three stages of a spiritual life—worship, waiting and work. He understood that service to God requires discipline as well as obedience you cannot get into all three at once. Some of us go about the worship and work stages like spiritual frogs, jumping from worship to work to worship, leaping over the waiting. God’s purpose for us is that the three stages should go together you cannot have one without the other two. Moses kept them in perspective, he was never rushed or impatient in worship or work and was willing to wait for the call from God.
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:6). The reality of being in God’s presence is not dependent upon being in any particular place, but is wholly dependent upon the saint’s determination to set the Lord always before us in humble submission. The problem for the modern believer is rooted in a refusal to rest on the assurance of God’s presence. We will not be a peculiar treasure to the Creator until our faith is based on the reality of His presence and not the conscious awareness of it. He is present at all the time: “Walk before me.”
Moses made three trips up and down that mountain to be in the presence of the Lord, how many are you willing to make? God has a tendency to show up in the places that He has called us to meet Him. Too many Christians stay where they are because they are so concerned about the people camped out with them at the foot of the mountain. When you do not heed the call you rob them of the opportunity to receive God’s Words that He may give you to speak to them. You and they are robbed of the promise, covenant and the right to be “a peculiar treasure” unto God.
When we heed the call of God to come up a little higher and leave all consequences to Him, the Lord will go before you as a cloud by day and a pillow fire by night. Simply put, He will lead you, instruct you and order your steps along the path He has laid before you. If you do not obey you are in the way. Be careful not to debate with God and put what man call duty in open competition with the calling of God. “I know He told me to go, but then my responsibility was here” that means you do not believe that God means what He says; “and thou shall come up.”
“So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them” (Exodus 19:25). I am amazed by the generosity of God. Moses made three trips up the mountain carrying only His staff and a hunger for communion with the Lord. The irony is that although he went up empty-handed he always returned bearing treasure, the words and glory of God. I cannot imagine the condition this world would be in had Moses failed to hear the trumpet or heed the call. We would not have the promise, covenant or the Ten Commandments of God—His rules for worship, waiting and work. I am so glad that Moses went up. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- On the Mountain with God — Lectionary Meditation (pastorbobcornwall.blogspot.com)