Summary: How can we have confidence before God?
CONFIDENCE BEFORE GOD
INTRODUCTION… TRUTH AND A QUESTION
TRUTH: GOD IS BEYOND AWESOME
We serve a God who is beyond awesome. God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnitemporal, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, omnific, and any other “omni” words we can possibly invent to try and describe Him. Because of this, the people of Israel were absolutely petrified most of the time to be in the presence of God. They didn’t even want to hear His voice. Most of the time they did not even want to be around the holy things of God like the Ark of the Covenant or the Tabernacle. Those were the holy things of God and with them came a level of fear. God Almighty who is the Creator of the Universe and Author of Time is so far beyond us in power and knowledge and presence. There are several examples in Scripture where the people of God were rightly petrified of the Lord:
* Exodus 20:18-19 states: “They trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
* Numbers 17:12-13 states: “The Israelites said to Moses, "We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD will die. Are we all going to die?"
I think the people of God were beyond fearful of the presence of God because He is holy and righteous and powerful and we as human beings are unholy and sinful and frail. His presence reveals to us how small we really are and how frail our bodies are. Our God is beyond awesome.
QUESTION: HOW CAN WE HAVE CONFIDENCE BEFORE GOD?
I would like to ask that question and fill it out some by sharing four very brief stories from the Bible:
Travel with me if you will in your mind to Exodus chapter 3. In Exodus chapter 3, we find Moses tending the sheep of his father-in-law (Exodus 3:1). Moses is literally minding his own business, when BAM! the angel of the Lord appeared to Him in flames of fire from within a bush. The bush is on fire with holy fire, but not burning up. The presence of God was in the bush! (Exodus 3:4). Not only was the bush burning with heavenly fire, but the presence of God Almighty from the bush called his name specifically… “Moses Moses!” In verse 4, we are told that Moses responded with, “Here I am.”
What on earth would give Moses the willingness to speak in such a situation?
How would Moses have any sort of confidence to speak with God?
Travel with me some chapters later in Exodus to chapter 19. Exodus 19:16-17 says, “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.” God descended on the mountain. The earth was shaking. Lightning and thunder were crashing because of God’s presence. Even more smoke filled the mountain and the surrounding area. Imagine that things are shaking and blasting and lighting and rumbling and in the middle of all of this havoc we have verse 19: “Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him” (Exodus 19:19).
What were the Israelites thinking and feeling as God descended on the mountain and they experienced all that?
How would Moses have any sort of confidence as he spoke with God?
Travel with me in your mind to 1 Samuel chapter 3 where the setting is the temporary house of God. Verse 1 shares with us, “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions” (1 Samuel 3:1). A little boy named Samuel is sleeping in the house of God because he was a servant to the priests who lived there. He was sound asleep when he hears his name called and goes to aid the old ailing priest Eli (1 Samuel 3:4). It was not Eli who called him. This calling is repeated several times as Samuel hears his name audibly in the house of God. The old priest Eli realizes that it is God calling Samuel (1 Samuel 3:8) and instructs him to answer, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9). Samuel’s name is called again and this time he answers God properly and appropriately as he was instructed.