Thursday, October 20, 2011

Face to Face

Numbers 12:8; Psalm 25:14

God said that he didn’t speak in riddles and visions with Moses, but he spoke with him plainly, face to face (Num. 12:8). David sat before the Lord (2 Sam. 7:18) and talked with him plainly.
What happens when we encounter God? What happens when we are, like the Hebrew expresses it, “before his face”? 

He is totally other than what we expected. We are always aware of his complete “other-ness.” He is infinitely beyond our imagination. Upsetting for some, he is also totally beyond our management. How did your life change when you ran head-on into this extra-ordinary God? Life changes. The Scripture tells us about how we react when we encounter God.

1.      WE REPENT: In an encounter with God, we immediately see a heart deficient before Him. When God comes walking in the cool of the day, our futile attempts to hide behind the fig leaves of our own righteousness cannot but more clearly expose our sin to His light (Gen. 3:7-10). God revealed Himself as a Provider of covering for sin through the blood of sacrifice. Like Isaiah in the presence of the Lord in His Holiness, we forsake our sin, confessing, repenting, and finding freedom from guilt (Isaiah 6:5-7; Neh. 8:6, 18; Ezra 9).

2.      WE SURRENDER: In an encounter with God, we gladly surrender our ‘Isaacs’ to Him. Abraham told his servants that he and his son Isaac would worship on the mountain and then come back to them (Gen. 22:5, 9-10). After preparing the altar and the wood, he bound his son, his only son, and laid him on the altar. Just as Abraham took the knife in obedience to slay his son, God revealed Himself as YHWH-Jireh, the Provider of the Lamb. Like Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus just to be with Him, face to face (Luke 10:39-42), we will instead pour out a costly sacrifice (John 12:3) of our lives (Rom 12:1-2). In that place of surrender, He gives us His assurance of His joy and pleasure (Psalm 16:2-3, 8, 11). Like Paul then, we can give our all for his glory (2 Cor. 6:3-10).

3.      WE ARE SENT: In an encounter with God, we receive our Commission to ‘Go’ and set the people free. Moses may have felt forgotten on the back side of the Sinai desert, tending someone else’s sheep, but God knew where he was (Exod. 3:1). In the midst of the mundane, Moses encountered God, and Moses realized in God’s presence that he was on holy ground (Exod. 3:4-6). In His presence, we hear God’s plans (Exod. 3:7-10). We hear God’s assurances that IAM is with us (Exod. 3:11-12), and that He goes before us to redeem a people in bondage to sin (Exod. 3:13-22). Like the disciples, when we worship Him (Matt. 28:17), we hear his Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) and His assurance of His presence with us (Matt. 28:20). We respond like Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).

4.      WE INTERCEDE: In an encounter with God, we receive the heart of an intercessor to stand as a priest between a righteous God and a stiff-necked, stubborn people. While Moses was on the mountain in the Glory Cloud, the people played the harlot. When God revealed the people’s wickedness (Exod. 32:7-10), Moses’ great heart of priestly intercession pled mercy between the sinful people and the judgment of God (Exod. 32:11-14). In answer to Moses’ intercession, God revealed his great grace and turned aside his judgment.

Are you encountering God? Are you spending time before His face? Are you joining with Him in His plan and purposes? Are you face to face with God?

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