Our Service to God

Close your eyes and picture a servant of God. What does this person look like? What does this person do? How does this person act? How does this person live? How does this person talk?

Regardless of our background or “religion” our mind comes up with a very similar picture so I won’t bother drawing one for you; however, what does the Bible have to say about serving God?

Multiple times in Exodus, Moses spoke to Pharaoh and related God’s words: “Let My people go that they may serve Me in the wilderness.” But what exactly did God want the children of Israel to do in the wilderness? Exodus 5:1, 17 state: “”Let My people go that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness…let us go and sacrifice to Jehovah.”

So what does it mean for us to serve God today? Are we supposed to back our bags and head out to Death Valley and have a party? Well, as we know, the Old Testament are types and shadows, pictures of a divine truth revealed in the New Testament. Let’s look at a story from the Gospels:

The Lord and His disciples were walking through Samaria. It was lunch time so the disciples went off to buy food for themselves and the Lord. The Lord then went to wait by a well. While He was waiting a woman came to draw water. He and she get into a religious discussion about the place where one is to worship God. Eventually the Lord reveals two things to her: One that true worshippers worship in spirit and that He is the One who gives living water that quenches man’s thirst. The woman, after this encounter runs off to tell those of her encounter with the Lord. The disciples then return with food and the Lord tells them that He has food that they know not of. The disciples, of course, are confused. Are you? Do you see the connection here? That woman, by drinking of the Lord as the living water (believing in Him) became a servant of God (held a feast for Him). So, going back to Exodus, the sole purpose of the children of Israel in the wilderness was for them to believe God, love God, experience God. Their being with God, and living with God was their service to God.

Today, God is still seeking these “True Worshippers.” He is still seeking servants. He doesn’t need us to “do” anything for Him. He simply wants us to spend time with Him. We need to “shut off” all the things that distract us and enter into a tranquil and transparent realm where we can meet with God. When we meet with Him, He gives us the experiences we need of Him so that He then has a way to shine out through our living. Our living, our very being becomes an expression of God and all that He is (love, light, holy, righteous).

This is to serve God. May the Lord have mercy on us that we could live a life of “feasting with God in the wilderness.”

Know God, Know His Ways

A few days ago, I had a realization: I have a very difficult time giving up control. This was a brand new realization, I always actually thought I was a pretty easy-going, hands-off type person. Over the last few years, (maybe longer) I have been in an internal struggle with the Lord over so many different aspects of my life. So the realization came about because I just realized, I want to control all parts of my life and yet, I don’t know what God is doing in me, or where He is going in my life. At the moment, the verse in Psalms came to mind that says something like: My thoughts are higher than your thoughts and my ways are higher than your ways. Inwardly, the struggle was over (at least for this particular thing) and in its place was just a peaceful, “Amen, Lord.”

Well, the second message was a confirmation of this experience. In Exodus 33:13 Moses offers a prayer to God in which he says, “Please let me know Your ways, that I may know You.”

Moses was led by God to know God’s ways. His ways refer to the ways in which He deals with us. This is a personal and intimate matter. God does not deal with every believer in the same way, rather He deals with each one of us in a very particular, intimate, detailed way. Our Christian journey is an eternal memorial between us and the Lord. Thus it is a matter that includes only us and the Lord, not any other person. This means that we cannot compare our walk with the Lord to anyone else’s. This means that our complaining to the Lord because His ways of dealing with us differs from His ways of dealing with someone else is vain.

We need to learn this crucial matter of knowing God’s ways of dealing with us. When we know His ways, we will come to know God. To know God means that we know Him as the God in our life. We will see that, actually, He is God and He is very good at being God. He knows what He is doing. Then, all that is left for us to do is accept His ways and to bow down and worship.

When we know God, accept His ways, and worship Him as God, then we will no longer be opinionated toward God, we no longer will attempt to give God advice or counsel, we no longer will demand that He explain and vindicate Himself because of what He chooses to do or not to do in our life. Instead, we will see what God does and simply be able to say, “Amen, Lord. I still just love You.”

When we relinquish control; when we know God; when we know and accept His ways; then and only then can we experience a peaceful life. This kind of a life is a simple life, it is a trusting life.

What can I say? Inside there is only an echo of Moses prayer, “Please let me know Your ways, that I may know You.” I pray this for myself and for each one of God’s children. May we each individually come to know and accept God’s ways of dealing with us and in this way, come to know Him as the only True and Real One.

A Matter of the Heart

Idols. Everyone has heard the word and we all have some particular idea of what is an “idol.” In the book of Exodus (Chapters 32,33) there is a clear instance where the children of Israel worshipped an idol: the golden-calf. While Moses was on the mountain top receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the children of Israel led by Aaron, forged a golden-calf and in the name of The Lord, worshipped it!

What happened was that when Moses was sent down to the camp, he broke the tablets that God had given him and took his tent and pitched it outside of the camp. If anyone, then, desired to receive a word from God they had to go outside the camp to Moses’ tent because here was God’s presence.

In Hebrews we are told that the children of Israel and their experiences are examples to us. So what is this matter of the golden-calf and the worshipping of it?

First of all, it is a matter of our heart. An idol, isn’t just a golden-calf (or otherwise) statue that we glorify. An idol is anything set up in our heart that usurps God’s place in us. Ezekiel 14:5, 7-8  shows us this; it reads: “That I may lay hold of the house of Israel in their heart, who have become estranged from Me because of all their idols…For each and every man of the house of Israel or of the sojourners who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart…I will set My face against the man, and I will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people…”

What “thing” is usurping God’s place in our heart? How can we remove the idols from our heart? Well, in the case of the children of Israel, Moses reacted by pitching his tent outside the camp. What does this mean? Did you notice the words that I italicized in my recounting of the story above? “In the name of the Lord.” That’s right, look at the verses themselves:

Exodus 32:4-6 And he [Aaron] took the gold from their hand and fashioned it with an engraving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; then Aaron made a proclamation and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to Jehovah. And they rose up early on the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

Did you catch that? “a feast to Jehovah.” They also did it with an altar and with offerings, just the way God had ordained all of their forefathers to worship Him. But was this the true worship that God desired? Obviously not, when God saw this He told Moses that the people had “corrupted themselves.” In fact, the reason Moses left the camp was because the entire camp had become corrupted. These were God’s people! The camp here signifies corrupted religious people who though they belong to the Lord in name, in actuality worship idols, that is they worship something and seek for something other than the Lord Himself.

We need to be those who remove the idols from our heart so that we “leave” our own corrupted religion and seek the Lord “outside the camp.” In Hebrews, we are given the secret of how to do this. Hebrews 6:19 states “Which we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm and which enters within the veil” To enter within the veil is to come into the Holy Place. This is our spirit. When we turn our heart to the Lord, then the Lord has a way to work within us to remove all of the idols from our heart and give us a pure heart that seeks after only God Himself.

So, I will leave you with this: Psalms 27:8 “When you say, Seek My face,/ To You my heart says, Your face, Oh Jehovah, will I seek.”

Remember how God said He would turn His face against the one with idols set up in his heart? Well, Just like those who sought after God’s presence were required to go outside the camp, so when we answer the call in Psalms 27 to seek His face, we too will automatically be brought “outside the camp.”

Seek God, while He may yet be found. 😉