With out the presence of Yahweh (Exodus 33:16)

3 May

So often Christians are powerless to guide those that the Lord would send their way simply because they neglect to spend time in the presence of their risen Savior.  Even with all the benefits and blessings that Yahweh secured for us by shedding his blood on the cross, Christians often neglect the simple truths found throughout God’s Word.  Take the scripture found in Exodus 33:16: “Is it not your going with us that distinguishes us from every people on the face of the earth?” Moses knew firsthand the consequences of walking in the flesh, as it had led him into a desert for many years of his earthly life.  During those 40 years of testing, he was being drawn into a deeper relationship with the Almighty; learning to hear his voice and to walk in his ways, thus equipping and preparing him for the task that was yet to come.  When the time came for Moses to have placed under his care the entire nation of Israel, he knew without a shadow of a doubt that with God all things are indeed possible as the apostle Paul said; but without God, nothing is possible; not even the slightest move, not even while wandering in a barren desert; seeking for the blessings and provisions of their Savior King.  As with David, who desired to relocate the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6), sacrifices were made to ensure the continued favor of the Lord.  Many Christians today think that by coming to church on a Sunday that they will automatically secure the protection and favor of God while at the same time freeing them to be able to live however they choose the rest of the week.  Moses knew better.  He knew that one false step; one hasty decision without the mind of Yahweh, and he could jeopardize his own future and fellowship with his Savior as well as consequently subjecting the entire nation of Israel to reproach and danger.  To live under that kind of pressure requires a special touch.  David too learned firsthand the dire consequences of setting out attempting to achieve things for God in his own flesh; in his case trying to bring the tangible presence of the Lord to a group of people without the proper tools and time spent in the Word (or Torah), (what we would call starting a haphazard and/or premature revival).  God wrath was kindled so much so that he punished one of the young men carrying he ark,  Uzzah and caused him to die prematurely because of the hasty, fleshly zeal of this young king.  We too can die or burn out (usually in the spiritual sense) if we attempt to try things for God that we have not been commissioned to do or made ready for by the spirit of the living God.  The apostle Paul (New Testament) had to be led into the wilderness for three years to better acquaint himself with the ways of the Lord before God granted him license for public ministry.[1] Jesus too, spent time alone with the Father to be tested and tempted in the wilderness before ever performing one single miracle, validating the necessity of time alone with God.

In Exodus we see Moses pleading for God’s continual guidance and protection, even after crossing the red sea. So often we as believers run ahead of God, which causes our Lord to go places with us that He never intended.  Though he may continue to provide protection and look out for our well-being (thus maintaining hesed or his covenant with us) we will not be effective in winning disciples to the Lord.

Another mistake many Christians make in light of this verse is once in God’s presence not having the intuition and willingness to be ready to leave.  It is not enough that we receive God’s comfort, care and promises but we must take those promises to others.  We would have no Jewish history today if Moses had wept, pleaded and talked with God but never came down from the mountain to give to those that he was responsible for the instructions and benefits of having been in Yahweh’s life altering presence.  It is not that God requires that we leave his presence in the spiritual sense, but many gather to worship only for selfish purposes and carnal motives.  Our duty is to preach Christ any way we can to win the lost, not to keep him chained and locked within our earthen vessels and within the walls of our synagogues and churches.  The early church met for times of prayer with the sole purpose of being built up in their faith, taking to heart the parable of the 5 wise virgins that had oil in their vessels (Matthew 25) thus having within them the necessary power, resources, and means of winning the lost.  Many believers in the west wonder why they do not see the miracles and provision of God like those that lived during the time of the early church.  Yet this is far from the testimony of Christians in other parts of the world: often times it is just the opposite!  In China for example believers readily suffer; laying down their lives for the sake, knowledge and love of the cross that they hold in their hearts above anything else in world.  Quality time, even whole days are set aside by many for the sole purpose of intercession and seeking the face (faces) of God, thus receiving supernatural testimony and provision to His glory; as evidenced by the many miracles and intense persecution that they are often forced to endure.  What may surprise some readers is that most Christians in these eastern regions do this joyfully while spurning all the “extras” that we so often take for granted and enjoy and have come to rely upon in the west.  State of the art sound equipment; modern choreographed drama, dances and singing may not be wrong in and of themselves, but many pastors and churches must promote these things in a shameful attempt to cover for their lack of true power and anointing that comes from knowing and loving God, and God alone.  Remarkably, the very things that so many in our sleeping churches hold onto and so highly esteem, (who prefer good times to worshiping and sacrificing themselves for the glory and causes of God) are the very things that Christ wishes to cut off and eliminate that his pure word may go forth with power and unction as in the days of old.  The greatest examples of worship that we have in the New Testament all have one thing in common: suffering and sacrifice.  Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of worship and sacrifice; laid his entire life down on the cross for us as an offering to God, while becoming for us the true Passover lamb.  The apostle Paul and numerous believers like him similarly gave their lives as a precious drink offering poured out before the Lord as an act of worship and freewill love offering.  An unnamed woman endured much scorn and was completely misunderstood and treated with contempt from a crowd of well fed, religious scoffers and hypocrites as she unashamedly kissed her Savior’s feet and wiped them with her tears.  Mary, the brother of Lazarus also endured criticism yet was not ashamed of her love for Jesus as she poured out the precious ointment on the feet of the one she adored in front of all the other disciples and guests in her home.

Sadly, even with all these examples we seem to be such a busy people as a whole that we can easily justify a lack of prayer, Bible study and praise for days or even weeks on end.  In Jeremiah 2, God cries out heartbroken and in agony: “My people have neglected (forgotten) me days without number.”  The Lord in his all consuming love for His church will not allow our luke-warmness to go on forever.  It is a slap in his face and an affront to His name.  Even if it takes a worldwide disaster (as prophesied by many in the church as well as being backed by the Word of God and all of history) for his children to relearn once again the blessings and benefits that can only come from time spent in prayer and in fellowship with God not only for ourselves but also to those whose lives depend upon it than that is what will happen.  Remember, the only thing that makes us different and that distinguishes us from an unbelieving world (as we have already seen in this passage in Exodus) is truly being able to boast of having the presence and power of God in our midst because of quality time spent with Him.

Throughout history, as mentioned before, God has been forced to withdraw his blessings, power, and presence from individuals as well as from nations who as whole neglect quality time spent in his presence, and who take lightly the things of the Yahweh. (See Malachi 1:12-13[2])

It is not enough to receive the Lord into our lives and then just expect Him to do all the work.  The Christian life is an agreement with God the Father.  Christ is our mediator and great High priest but it is up to us to keep our end of the bargain!  We are to be continually filled with the spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and to have the mind of Christ.  How is this feasible without spending time alone with Him?  What makes the difference in our daily lives is this one thing and nothing else.  We are the only people who have the ability to be able to come at any time of the day or night into the presence of a Holy God, and then carry that aroma and savor of having spent time in his presence to others who have never experienced the wonderful reality of the Jesus Christ in their inner man. We should look at this as being our responsibility.  That is why the early church was so effective.  That did not hide their light but were eager to shine for the Lord no matter how dark society became all around them.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you can afford to live as a missionary in some third world country or have the luxury to preach behind a pulpit on Sunday: we are to be missionaries and evangelist wherever we go!  Satan knows this all too well, as we see all types of his tricks and gimmicks to keep otherwise committed and faithful believers out of the prayer closet; thus focusing all of their precious time, talents and abilities and passions to things pertaining to life in the here and now, rather than touching heaven with their prayers and being burdened for the lost who are literally dying for lack of an encounter with God.

I don’t have the energy (or even the desire) to list the ways believers squander the time that the Heavenly Father gives to them (time wasted on television or just lazily surfing the internet is one) but did you know that some even use scriptures to justify their lack of power (the ability to influence others for the cause of Christ) and habit of prayer?  I know one brother who when confronted about this very issue quoted to me a scripture from Ecclesiastes, “a time to plant and a time to weep, etc., thus justifying his lack of prayer and devotion to God.

Balance is a word that some earthly minded Christians love to use when confronted about their lack enthusiasm and zeal for the things of Adonai.  Try telling that to the believers who were and are willing and ready to give their lives at the very mention of Christ’s name.  Try preaching that to Christians in persecuted lands; who often are arrested, beaten and tortured because of the radiance that they are possess while ministering with others. No beloved, we must take these examples and apply them to our own hearts.  We cannot afford to do otherwise.

Jesus said that those that have been given much, much will be required.  We especially in America have been given the very best and finest things in all the earth.  If we do not use these blessings and benefits for Him, promoting the kingdom; He will surly take them away and give them to others who will gladly use them to bring glory and honor to His wonderful name.  Selah.

Sincerely and with love,

John Mark

“Yahweh gives to those that truly desire to love and to seek Him the revelation of all things necessary and pertaining to our salvation.” [JMB]


[1] If you recall, the Jews were going to kill him within just weeks of his conversion, and thus would have abruptly brought a stop to and ending his ministry before it ever really began as the Lord would have desired it to be.

[2] Formal study on these verses coming soon with emphasis on words such as “contemptible” snuffed” etc. (KJV)

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