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Devotions > Moses and God's Presence

12 Jun 2012


In recent days the words and thoughts of Martyn Lloyd-Jones have become for me both informative and impactful.   Of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ book simply entitled Revival, J.I. Packer says “ I do not think that our age has seen any more powerful or profound treatment of revival than this book.”   We will not attempt to do a book review, but clearly the thoughts of this revival prayer reminder flow primarily from the pen of this great man of God.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones brings to us a contrast between the interaction of Moses, the children of Israel, and God, with the more modern day church, certain saints and their collective pursuit of revival.  In this section his central theme is more.   God wants to bring to us more.   He wants us to ask for more.   But often in the midst of our predisposition toward self-centered pleasure and our penchant against change, we not only fail to ask God for more, we find ourselves protecting and desperately defending the status quo.

Let’s look for a moment at the status quo.   How have our ideas, our methods, and our organizational skills changed or impacted the world around us for time or for eternity?   If we were to change a few words, and perhaps a few songs, would our churches and their apparent impact come across to the casual observer significantly different than any number of secular organizations?   

Moses knew the source of true and lasting power.    He knew the setting where power dwells.   He knew that the task of leading and sanctifying a sorted and sinful swarm of gone astray folks was out of his league.   Moses was in one sense hemmed in.   He was isolated with a couple of million people in the wilderness.    By contrast it seems that we have much more flexibility.   We can, for example, reduce the standards, distort the statics, and blur the bottom line, to the place that we can have the pretense of some slight impact through essentially our own efforts.

Moses knew the propensity of the people to sin; and He knew the perspective of God toward sin.   So when the people made a golden calf and began to worship it and proceeded to engage in gross sin in this mock worship, Moses took a drastic step.   He proposed to God that he would take on the sin of the people and he ask God to blot his name out of God’s book of life.

Exodus 32:30 (AMP)
30 The next day Moses said to the people, You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.

God gave Moses a short and succinct answer:  “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him [not you] out of My book.”    God said to Moses in effect, nice try but I will decide who is and who is not in My book of Life.    Then God told Moses to go ahead and lead these sinful people into the land that He had promised to give to them, but He made it clear that He would not be going with them.  He said that He would send before them an angel to overcome their enemies.

Many of us today would be ecstatic were God to promise to send us an angel to lead our church and supernaturally overcome any obstacles that may attempt to block our progress.  But not so with Moses, He wanted more.  The more that Moses desired was the very presence of God Himself.  If we look carefully at the first fifteen verses of Exodus Chapter 33 we will see how Moses with the cooperation of the people of Israel humbled themselves, repented of their sin, waited, and prayed and sought the Lord God, until in verse 14 we see God’s presence was once again committed to go with Moses and the people he was charged with leading.

Exodus 33:14 (AMP)
14 And the Lord said, My Presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.    Now let’s listen in as Dr. Lloyd Jones explains more.

“ So we have considered Moses’ prayer for God’s presence, for God’s personal assurance of power, and then thirdly he prayed for a special authentication of the Church and her mission.   That is the message of verse 16.  You can hear him argue, ‘Wherein’ – he said ‘For wherein shall it be known where that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight?  Is it not in that thou goest with us?   So shall we be separate, I and thy people from all the people on the face of the earth’   In other words, this is the Church as she is meant to be, unique.   ‘Now’ said Moses to God I am asking for something extra, because I am concern.  Here we are thy people.  How are all the other nations to know that we are really your people?  They are looking at us, they are laughing at us, mocking us and jeering at us, they are ready to overwhelm us.  Now I am asking for something,’ said Moses, ‘that will make it absolutely clear that we are not just one of the nations of the world, but that we are thy people, that we are separate, unique, altogether apart.’

The prayer for revival, then is the prayer that the Church may again become like that.  And my
argument is that nothing but some unusual outpouring of the Spirit of God can do that.”  

Ephesians 3:20 (AMP)
20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

Are you satisfied with the status quo?   Or are you hungry for more?   Are you ready to pray for revival that will set the Church apart with impact and great glory for God? Are you ready to pray for more, for a supernatural outpouring of the Spirit of God in our day? 

Jeff Williams