Summary: God desires to meet with us. But, God will never force God’s self upon us. We must be willing to make meeting with God a priority.
“Come Away with God” Exodus 33:7-12
There’s a story about a proud young man who came to Socrates asking
for knowledge. He walked up to the muscular philosopher and said, “O great
Socrates, I come to you for knowledge.”
Socrates recognized a pompous numbskull when he saw one. He led the
young man through the streets, to the sea, and chest deep into water. Then he
asked, “What do you want?”
“Knowledge, O wise Socrates,” said the young man with a smile.
Socrates put his strong hands on the man’s shoulders and pushed him
under. Thirty seconds later Socrates let him up. “What do you want?” he asked
“Wisdom,” the young man sputtered, “O great and wise Socrates.”
Socrates crunched him under again. Thirty seconds passed, thirty-five.
Forty. Socrates let him up. The man was gasping. “What do you want, young
Between heavy, heaving breaths the fellow wheezed, “Knowledge, O wise
and wonderful …”
Socrates jammed him under again Forty seconds passed. Fifty. “What do
“Air!” he screeched. “I need air!”
“When you want knowledge as you have just wanted air, then you will
M. Littleton in Moody Monthly, June, 1989, p. 29
Desire is an enormous factor in life. If we want to meet with God we must truly desire to be in God’s presence. We must desire it as much as the young man desired air. And our desire must lead us to action. Moses had to prepare to meet with God.
The text indicates that Moses set up the Tent of Meeting. He prepared to meet with God. Good preparations lay the foundation for good results. We seldom think about our need to prepare to meet God. We take for granted that we desire to meet with the creator of the universe. Yet, all true masterpieces take preparation and desire.
Several centuries ago, a Japanese emperor commissioned an artist to paint a bird. A number of months passed, then several years, and still no painting was brought to the palace. Finally the emperor became so exasperated that he went to the artist’s home to demand an explanation. Instead of making excuses, the artist placed a blank canvas on the easel. In less than an hour, he completed a painting that was to become a brilliant masterpiece. When the emperor asked the reason for the delay, the artist showed him armloads of drawings of feathers, wings, heads, and feet. Then he explained that all of this research and study had been necessary before he could complete the painting.
Our Daily Bread, May 18
We might envy the fact that the Israelites had a specific place to go to meet God but as Christians we have been blessed with an even better gift – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God is available to us 24/7. Never-the-less there are times when we need to withdraw from our daily routines to embrace the God that is within us. Our preparations may not include putting up a tent but they might include, as it did for Moses, the need to get away from all of the distractions. The text states that the tent was set up outside of the camp. This is not because there was not adequate space for it inside the camp but rather God wanted the space to be known as holy and set apart.
Distractions seem to bombard us in this age of technology. A person can be contacted almost anywhere at anytime – cell phones, pagers, e-mail, etc. Satan loves to distract us from our mission to meet with God. On a lighter note there is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.” Nehemiah, Learning to Lead, J. M. Boice, Revell, 1990, p. 38
God wants our undivided attention. God wants to build a relationship with us and that requires that we do our part.
A relationship takes work; I have never met friends who have been friends for a substantial amount of time that did not have to work at their relationship. And couple after couple, indicate that the best of marriages requires a great deal of work. A healthy relationship entails both parties giving 100%. Unfortunately, most of us fail to give God even 50%.