Thought for the Week - 20th October

Pastor Gareth Watkins

Exodus 33: 1-14

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ 
2 And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 
3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
4 And when the people heard this bad news, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments.
5 For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.’ ” 6 So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.
7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. 
8 So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. 
9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 
10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 
11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 
13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
This week, I’ve been looking at the promises of God. The promise we read in verse 14 – my presence will go with you and I will give you rest – was not just for then. It’s also for us today, all those thousands of years later in 2019. 
It’s as real for us as it would’ve been for them back in Moses’ day. The peace and strength of God can come in. 
How many of us need the rest of God?  How many of us need to know that God is going with us?  He gives us comfort and He gives us strength.  He gives us rest. 
Sarah Young, who wrote the book I’m currently reading, said “come to me with your defences down”. Some people come to church with their defences up. The walls are up and they’re determined to leave just as they arrived.  We need to come to God with our defences down. We need to relax and feel the relief of being authentic with God. 
He strips away all the rubbish that surrounds us, the barriers, the falseness etc. God knows the inner you. In the story of Adam and Eve, they may have tried to hide, but God knew where they were. 
We need to come into this place with nothing to hide. Are our defences raised so high, that we can’t lower these things before God?  We need to leave those barriers down. We need to leave ourselves with nothing to hide before God. We need to come to that place where we can be embraced by the richness of the Holy Spirit. 
We need to relax in His presence. To feel His love, His warmth, and His blessing. 
Have you been hurt?  There’s a lot of hurt out there. Have you felt anxious?  There’s a lot of anxiety out there. Do you feel unloved?  There’s a lot of feeling of unlove our there this week. But the promises of God still stand. He is with you. That promise still exists – His presence will go with you, and He will give you rest. 
Earlier this week, I read about studying God’s promises. One teacher recommended that we let the Holy Spirit guide us to the appropriateness of the promises, as there are many types of promises in the Bible. He then said to study and research the promise, and see how you can expand how that promise can be applied to you. The final step is to act as though that promise is going to be applied in your life. 
We need to step out in faith. That’s when God does the part that we can’t do. When He brings His rest.
A season of time may have to pass before God’s promise is fulfilled. Just because it’s not quick, doesn’t mean it won’t be delivered. 
In Psalm 34: 9-10 we read:
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
We have to play our part in the fulfilment of God’s promises for us. The first part we read is “fear the Lord”. Sometimes we haven’t got that right – we can be a stiff necked people. We’re stubborn. 
We don’t want to lack any good thing, but often we don’t necessarily want to put God in His right place either. We need to put Him in the right place – above the circumstances, above the problems, etc. God is not subservient to us. We have to readdress our own priorities and start to put God back in the right place where He belongs. 
We can have no fear, thought of God. We need Him over all things in our lives. We need Him in such a place where any sin, rebellion, and old nature is brought subject to Him. 
When we put God back in His right place in our lives, then these promises will take effect. 
We need to reestablish the rightness of God in our lives. If we’ve taken Him from the place He should be in our lives, we need to put Him back. We need a rightful fear of God, and put Him back in His rightful place. And out of that, this promise will come. 

Ask Him to increase while you decrease. Ask to see things through His eyes, not your sinful eyes.

The evidence that God is with you is the unfolding of the work of God and miracles of God for you – that you will not lack any good thing.
Facades are bound in the world, the body and even the church. Sometimes a church is the last place a person can actually be free, because they’re so busy trying to be someone they’re not.
Are you free or are you bound?  Jesus came to set the captives free. Let your primary focus be on God, communing with God, and worshiping God. And then you will be able to smile at others, and you will be free within the presence of God, and you will enter His rest.
The rest that God gives is His rest to give. It’s brought by God for the people of God. God prepares a wonderful place for us to enter into where we can find rest.
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