At the End of Ourselves

2 God said, “Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him up as an entirely burned offering there on one of the mountains that I will show you.” 3 Abraham got up early in the morning, harnessed his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, together with his son Isaac. He split the wood for the entirely burned offering, set out, and went to the place God had described to him. (Gen. 22:2-3, CEB)

God takes Abraham to the very edge. He puts Abraham in a place of no retreat. The knife is up in the air then God stops him. Abraham gets to the place of possessing nothing… yet having everything.

Now he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing.” (A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God)

Repenting of Sin? Or Sorry You Got Caught?

To fear the Lord is to hate evil.
I hate pride and arrogance,
the path of evil and corrupt speech. (Prov. 8:13, CEB)

“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them.”
— Francis Chan, Crazy Love

As one cartoon I once saw said, “I haven’t really died to sin, but I did feel faint once.”

God Waits to be Wanted

15 Moses replied, “If you won’t go yourself, don’t make us leave here. 16 Because how will anyone know that we have your special approval, both I and your people, unless you go with us? Only that distinguishes us, me and your people, from every other people on the earth.”

17 The Lord said to Moses, “I’ll do exactly what you’ve asked because you have my special approval, and I know you by name.”

18 Moses said, “Please show me your glorious presence.” (Ex. 33:15-18, CEB)

A.W. Tozer:

Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted.  (The Pursuit of God)

Something needs to cry out in us that Jesus is worth pursuing! There is a thirst that needs to rise up in us. Moses had that thirst. He was not going to move in any direction until God promised his presence. He then boldly moves into another level of seeking. He blurts out, “Show me your glory!”

This isn’t about “earning” anything. It is about desire. Moses desired. God didn’t berate him and say, “Hey! You have enough already!”

God showed Moses all he could. Moses asked.

God waits to be wanted.

Thirst For God

Just like a deer that craves streams of water,
my whole being craves you, God.
2 My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.
When will I come and see God’s face?
(Psalm 42:1-2, CEB)

A.W. Tozer’s great book, The Pursuit of God, was one of the first Christian classics I was introduced to in college. The past few weeks I have been on a quest. I want my tastes changed for the Kingdom of God. I want to THIRST again.

Tozer:
The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be ‘received’ without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. A man is ‘saved,’ but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact, he is specifically taught to be satisfied and is encouraged to be content with little.

I can understand being content with “little” in this world. This world just can’t satisfy. But to be content with “little” from God is just crazy. Yet, that has been my life. I need a new thirst.

What is the Song God Sings Over You?

You are my secret hideout!
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of rescue! Selah (Psalm 32:7, CEB)

17 The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory.
He will create calm with his love;
he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17, CEB)

Propositional truth is good. It is necessary. We need to understand what God has done for us and what we can do in return.

But the songs of love are good as well. THEY are necessary. We get our heads exploding with knowledge. Sometimes we just need our souls to sing. And sometimes we need to get quiet and hear our God sing over us.

Listen for his song!

Are We Faithful or Are We Drifting?

Doom, obstinate one,
the defiled one,
the violent city.
She listened to no voice;
she accepted no discipline.
She didn’t trust in the Lord,
nor did she draw near to her God.
The princes in her midst are roaring lions.
Her judges are wolves of the evening;
they leave nothing for the morning.
Her prophets are reckless, men of treachery.
Her priests pollute that which is holy;
they do violence to the Instruction. (Zeph. 3:1-4, CEB)

As the American Church, we may need to pay close attention to this warning to Judah. Sometimes, if we will do ANY self-examination, we may find that we have become obstinate. The church on the “left” easily accuses the church on the “right” of being obstinate. And the favor is often returned. Yet… look inside. Perhaps there are times we are all obstinate in some way. We have failed to listen to God. We have failed because we are too busy talking and not caught up with listening any more.

We don’t trust God for alternate reasons. We are leaning on the public sector to be our supply… or we are leaning on rugged individualism. Both cases demonstrate a lack of trust in God.

And the spiritual leaders… Are we reckless? Do we care about people any more? It is a careful walk to be a pastor and spiritual leader in the Kingdom of God. We have to be able to see people. We have to be careful with the Word of God. Instruct people faithfully.

These words are harsh from Zephaniah. The easy thing to do is leave them in that era. Yet… we need to carefully hear those words once again. Do we TRUST God? Are we faithful to his Word?

The Singing God

17 The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory.
He will create calm with his love;
he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17, CEB)

We serve a God who rejoices over us. We serve the One who has set us free from bondage. We are brought out of our barrenness into abundance…

So why in the world are we so BORED with God? 

He is the One who sings over us. His joy is overflowing toward us.

It is time to wake… to rejoice… TO SING.