Summary: Regular, deliberate seeking of God’s presence will result in a closeness with God that is far more intimate than most people believe we can have
1. Title: Coffee With God
2. Text: Exodus 33
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, April 10. 2005
-for the people to understand the nature of our relationship with God and how we can make it grow through prayer
-for the people to feel a longing for God’s closeness and love that will be satisfied only by spending time with Him in prayer
-for the people to establish a pattern of time with God that will ultimately help them be closer to Him by spending more regular time in prayer with Him
5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to better understand the potential for our closeness with God and to work at it through more regular prayer time
6. Type: expository
7. Dominant Thought: Regular, deliberate seeking of God’s presence will result in a closeness with God that is far more intimate than most people believe we can have
“So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mt. Horeb.” (Ex 33:6)
There are times when it’s just not appropriate to wear ornaments – times like when God says, “If I were to stay with you people, I might just destroy you. Take off your ornaments. I’m going to decide exactly what to do with you.”
God had just told them to go ahead – go ahead into the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – go ahead, I’ll drive out all the enemy nations ahead of you – go ahead into the land flowing with milk and honey – yeah, go ahead, but I’m not going with you, and, I might just destroy you on the way.
Israel didn’t want God telling them what to do. Sound familiar? He described that as being stiff-necked. So, He told them, “I will not go with you.” Ex 33:3.
It was a “take off your ornaments” kind of time in Israel. No celebrating. No dressing up. No partying. No dancing in the camp. It was time to put away the shiny stuff and dress in sackcloth and ashes. God said he wouldn’t go with them. “Go face it. On your own. Go ahead. It’s all laid out in front of you. Go take over from the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. March on in. But when you look over your shoulder, I won’t be there. I’m gone. Look for Me and I won’t be there.”
There’s a time when ornaments just don’t fit. The time is when God isn’t near.
What was the big deal? Ex 32. The Golden calf. Moses was a long time on the mountain getting the 10 Commandments and other laws from God, and while he was gone, Israel ran amuck. They took up a special offering – one where they took off their ornaments – a 600,000 pieces of gold offering, and then made it all into a golden calf. There! There’s your god, Israel! And then they launched into some kind of super-raunchy Mardi Gras.
God and golden calves aren’t a good mix. I Jn 1:5-6 says “…God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”
So God wouldn’t go with Israel. God won’t accompany people on a sinful walk. God can’t accompany people on a sinful walk. His presence would be too out of place. His nature is so opposed to evil, it may destroy it. Remember that.
Moses was so angry when he returned and saw what had happened, he threw the stone tablets God had made. He was the first Israelite to break all 10 commandments all at once! He had the golden calf ground into powder, sprinkled it in the brook, and forced them all to drink it. Then, he sent the Levites into the camp and had them kill everyone they could – their brothers, their friends, their neighbors, until about 3,000 lay dead. Moses was mad. But Moses’ anger was nothing. In fact, his prayer is what kept God from snuffing out the whole nation. (32:10). And 32:35 says “God smote the people.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it couldn’t have been good.
But the seriousness of God’s anger really gets highlighted in ch 33 when He says to them, “I’m not going with you.” V.4 describes those as “distressing words.” They are.
You want a good reason to cry? You want a reason to take off the ornaments? You want a reason to feel insecure and scared? Have God tell you, “I’m not going with you.” Have God go from saying, “I’m right here with you,” to “I won’t be close with you anymore.” What would you do? How would you face hard times? How would you just live day-to-day knowing that your eternity isn’t secure – that your name isn’t written in God’s Book of Life? What would you do?