The glory in your midst

I am walking through part of Zechariah in preparation for a message on June 14.

Two things the Lord wants us to know in our lives, and I am thinking specifically for our church right now:

1. He is passionate about his people.

He is passionate about his Church. He is passionate about Heights Church.

2. He is the glory in our midst.

His presence keeps us. His presence brings safety and abundance. His presence drives off the enemy.

Today, rejoice in his abundant presence.

The necessity of waiting on God

Moses was called up to the mountain. There he was in the powerful presence of God 40 days and nights.

Moses spent the forty days in the presence of God and received the blueprint for God’s heart concerning Israel.

Israel “waited” at the bottom of the mountain and fell back to their old patterns from Egypt.

Moses received the heart of God. Israel built a golden calf.

When God “delays,” how do we RESPOND?

The Presence of God is NOT a Good Luck Charm

1 Samuel 4

When Israel was pummeled by the Philistines yet again, they turned to the ark of the covenant. They didn’t turn there to seek God. They turned to it as a good luck charm. They thought if they took it into battle it would bring them the luck they needed to defeat the Philistines.

When the ark came into the camp, the place went crazy. The emotions were high. The Philistines even heard the noise and got worried for a minute. Then, Israel went out and not only lost the battle, but lost the ark. 

Israel was so far from God they didn’t know what the ark was about any longer. To them it was simply a symbol of the presence of God. It was not about coming into his presence to hear from him.

When we do not know what to truly do with worship, the Word, the presence of God, the table of the Lord, etc., they can become our good luck charms. 

“I can’t feel the presence of God, so I need to listen to my music.”

“I can’t hear from God, so I need to listen to (fit name of favorite preacher here) so I can get rejuvenated.”

“I am not feeling God, so I need to get to youth camp.”

On and on it can go.

God is not a good luck charm. We don’t go to him to our “feeling” back.

He is holy and worthy of worship. We go to him for his agenda not so he can rubber stamp our agenda.

I want to worship because he is worthy. I want to engage the Word of God in the Scriptures because HE is talking to ME, not the other way around.

The “Crushing” Beauty of the Savior

For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isa. 57:15, NIV)

We are to build up the road so people see the beauty of the Savior (v. 14). Yet, that beauty has a cost. We don’t put that cost on people. Yet, when we see the incredible power, majesty, and beauty of the Savior, there is a realization we don’t belong there.

In Isaiah 6, there is the response from Isaiah when he finds himself in the presence of God: “Woe is me!”

God dwells with those who are contrite (crushed and in the dust) and the lowly in spirit. As powerful as God is, he comes to pick us up.

But we need a powerful realization in our own lives: we don’t stand proudly before the omnipotent God of the universe. We don’t stand defiantly.

When we come before the majesty and power of God, we realize we’re in front of Someone who can indeed crush us with his voice but chooses not to. That should lead us to fall in our spirits, humble ourselves, and cry out, “Woe is me.”

There is a “crushing” quality to the beauty of our Savior. But in that crushing, we find the Savior comes to us. 

We don’t come on our own terms. We don’t negotiate our salvation. But we find out his kindness leads us to repentance. 

Our Lord is indeed beautiful, but it will crush us first.