Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Miracles before negotiation
Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the
sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw
it, they trembled and stood afar off (Exodus 20:18).
Here is God up on the mountain. There's smoke, thunder, sounds of
trumpets, and lightning. This is when God introduces Himself to the
nation of Israel . He didn't hand them a sheet of facts about who He was.
He didn't hand them a set of propositional truths, and then give them an
experience with Himself later on in their walk. Israel had the exact
opposite. God said, "Experience Me, and then we'll talk."
This is the opposite of the way we do it. We think that we have to talk
and prep people for a possible experience that they may or may not have
with God. I'm not saying that this is always wrong, but this isn't the
way that God revealed Himself to His people here.
It's going to take some level of aggressiveness for us to enter into the
unexplainable dimensions of God. It's not just going to drop into our
laps; we're going to have to press in.
The tragedy will be if there are unexplainable dimensions that we don't
come into because: (a) We feel that if we can't explain it then it must
not be legitimate or valid, or (b) we don't recognize that we have to
press in to enter into those areas.
What was the purpose of God introducing Himself like that to the
Israelites? God was revealing Himself as "One which is altogether other."
Jesus is our Friend and our Brother and we need to approach the throne of
grace with boldness. But there is going to come a time when we need to
recognize that He is altogether other than us.
The other thing that God was doing was curing them from ever trivializing
God and His abilities. Once you're introduced to a God who creates a
sensational event up on a mountain, and later on He tells you He's going
to get you into the Promised Land, you can easily believe for Him to
move. You don't doubt once you've seen and embraced the mystery of God.
If God were presented to you as someone understandable, when you got into
a situation where you could not understand it, you would be stuck. If
we're not being fed on the mystery of God, it will be a mystery as to how
we're going to get through tough situations. We must have a revelation of
the mystery before we can have a manifestation of the mystery.
Our church services are more of a reflection of our nature than that of
I believe that this place of revelation is where our churches need to
come. It's as if we're saying, like the Israelites did, "Moses, you speak
to us and give us what man can give us; we're comfortable with that. But
if God shows up in His mystery and awe, we're going to back away."
Now God told them the reason why He presented Himself the way He did; he
said, "I did it to test you. To see if you would have the fear of God in
your heart." In other words, "I want you to have the awe of who I am in
your heart." God manifests the mystery to test our hearts. You've heard
the phrase, "God will often offend the mind to reveal the heart." That's
exactly what this is.
Mystery is here to find out if we have another agenda. Is your agenda to
figure it all out? Do you have to be in control? Maybe you have to be
able to manipulate it to be palatable; to be socially acceptable. Does
everybody have to feel good about it? Or are you all right with embracing
that which you don't fully understand?
John 8:32 says, "You will know the truth and the truth shall make you
free." The word "know" is experiential knowledge. It is truth that has
been experienced, not intellectual knowledge. If we don't experience the
truth, we'll be limited in our comprehension of it.