Shew Me Thy Glory - Part 1
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. (Exodus 33:15-18)
Moses had a love affair with the God of the universe. He and he alone, would experience the intimacy of knowing the very voice of God, of fellowshiping with Him on the mount, of basking in His surreal presence. He would never be the same again.
He craved the presence of God, and found it so very difficult to live without it. Moses was just a man, possessing the same human qualities that you do. Do you crave the presence of God in your life? Or do you get by fine without Him.” Is Jesus someone you can take or leave? Is He just an add-on? Do you turn to Him when you need Him and ignore Him when think you do not?
Do You Crave Jesus?
Jesus was never meant to be an extra in your life. He is meant to be your life – period. Someone once mentioned to me that he was accused of using Jesus as a crutch. This was an attempt to belittle him, but the answer clearly given was, “Of course, I need Him. I can’t live without Him. Call Him a crutch if you want, but the truth is I can’t stand without Him.” Do you crave the Lord like no other?
Consider these definitions for the word crave: 1. to long for; desire eagerly; 2. To require, need; 3. To ask earnestly; 4. To beg or plead.
Do you long for and desire God eagerly? Longing also has a special meaning. The Psalmist says in Psalm 107:9, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” The Hebrew word, shâqaq, carries with it the idea of seeking greedily with a heavy appetite.
Psalm 42:1 adds, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” The Hebrew meaning of the word panteth, means to long for, to cry after. Does that accurately depict your relationship with God?
Our definition continues with eager desire. Using Psalm 10:17 as our focus verse, “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear”. The word desire holds the idea of lust. Do you lust after the God of Heaven? Can your hard-driven desire be quenched? Is it a desire that grows from day to day?
According to our working definition, crave means to ask earnestly. Are you asking and seeking God earnestly for His presence? Are you pleading with Him for a deeper relationship? What will it take to stop your search? Your desire, your longing, is measured by what it will take to stop you. If He is worth having (and He is), then nothing should get in the way between you and your Saviour. Stay focused on the love of your life, and He will meet every need. That is not to say the battle will not be hard at times, but it is to say He is faithful and is always right there with you in the good and not so good times of life.
Lastly in our definition we come to the term, to beg or plead. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). The first one He lists is, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Here the word poor means to be a pauper, a beggar – to have nothing in hand to offer, to be completely destitute.
A search for synonyms of the word beg might show the following: crave; beseech; implore; entreat; or importune. Beg and crave mean virtually the same thing. Beseech adds a touch of earnestness and anxiety, and implore intensifies the sense of urgency and anxiety. Entreat carries the idea of a persuasive pleading. Importune adds to this a sense of persistent and sometimes an annoying pleading.
Our English word for beg is derived from the Old French word begart which means one who prays. As we continually, persistently pray, beseeching and entreating God, He will hear us.
When we reach this point of total dependency on God – when we are completely empty of ourselves, He will appear, and His glory will be evident in our lives. Remember that God is a jealous God, and He will not share His glory with anyone. Pride must be removed as we become a pauper, a beggar imploring God for His presence.
The Short Circuit of Pride
Pride can so easily creep into our lives, but yet the prideful are rejected by God. We read over and over things like “Pride goeth before destruction . . .” (Proverbs 16:18). “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 16:5), and “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look . . .” (Proverbs 6:16, 17a). The heart who seeks after God, who pants by the water brooks leaves no room for the ugly sin of pride.
In the book of James, we are told, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Submitting to God is in direct conflict to holding on to pride. Pride has its roots in the devil as evidenced by the five I will’s of Isaiah chapter 14. We see this for the first time in the Garden of Eden as the devil tempts Eve to be prideful becoming a god, knowing good and evil. Therefore the devil is to be resisted. Submitting to God demands meekness. Resisting the devil calls for God’s power. Both are short-circuited through pride.
We have the promise that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. But this, like many others, is a conditional promise. The condition being that we must cleanse ourselves from sin, and purify our hearts. Then and only then can we go behind the veil, and enter the Holy of Holies. Then and only then can we stand in the presence of God.
We must cleanse our hands, the outward acts of sin, but our heart must also be purified. It is so often the bad attitudes and wrong motives that separate us from bowing before the throne. Often it is not the physical acts of sin we commit, but rather the hidden matters of the heart that interferes with our search for God.
Clean Hands and a Pure Heart
Once I was doing some janitorial work at a local business. I had just cleaned the glass on the door when a woman approached. I very kindly opened the door and allowed her to walk through. She politely said “Thank you”, and I continued with my cleaning. Then it hit me. I did not open the door to be kind or thoughtful. I opened the door so she would not touch my just cleaned glass. The act was right. The motive was terribly wrong. To some that may seem like a little thing, but it was big enough to cause me to temporarily lose sight of God’s presence in my life. I had to stop and confess my sin before I could go back to work.
Another time, I was asked by my employer to do some rather disgusting, degrading work. I obeyed with my hands, but my heart was grumbling the entire time. In a sense my hands were clean, but my heart was not pure. The presence of God requires clean hands and a pure heart, as well as the desire to draw nigh to Him. We will study this more later.
At the risk of being repetitious allow me to say again that sin begins in the heart and works its way to the hands, to the actions. Sin does not have to be something we physically do, but is often hidden in the attitudes and motives of the heart.
We will pick it up here and continue next time in Part 2. Until then . . .