Summary: God graciously provides His people with divine moments - but when and how?
Lev. 23:1-3 & Ps. 95:1-11
I was nervous as a cat in a circle of dogs. It was the first time that I was inviting people to come forward following a sermon for a laying on of hands and a blessing of the Spirit. What if no one came forward and I stood there all alone? What if someone did come forward and I laid on hands and the person experienced nothing? But I extended the invitation – and people came – and they were changed and strengthened. The congregation was moved. It was beyond my wildest dreams – it was truly a divine moment, filled with the presence and blessing of God.
GOD GRACIOUSLY PROVIDES HIS PEOPLE WITH DIVINE MOMENTS. He graces certain moments and events with His presence and blessing. Many of you have experienced such moments. Let’s consider some EXAMPLES OF DIVINE MOMENTS found in the Bible. In Leviticus a man, on behalf of his family, brings his lamb to the Temple. He gives the lamb to the Priest. With great ceremony the Priest slaughters the lamb and the blood pours out beneath the altar. The Lamb is placed upon the altar and burned – the smoke, along with the incense of the Temple, rises upward as a pleasing aroma to God. In that moment sin is forgiven; it is a divine moment.
In 2 Chronicles Solomon leads Israel in the dedication of the new Temple. There‘s a grand procession, with no expenses spared. He then prays for God to meet with His people in the Temple. At the conclusion of his prayer, fire comes down from heaven and consumes the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord fills the Temple – even the priests cannot enter. People fall on their faces and worship God; it’s a divine moment.
Isaiah prophesied during a difficult time for Israel. The great King Uzziah had died. Isaiah humbles himself in worship before Almighty God. Suddenly he sees the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted. There are angelic beings calling to each other: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The whole place shakes and smoke fills the temple. Isaiah confesses his sin and the sins of the Israelites; his mouth is anointed by one of the angels who tells him sins are forgiven. At that moment, a divine moment, Isaiah accepts the call to be a prophet for Almighty God.
The Gospels record that about eight days after Peter made his confession by identifying Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God Jesus takes Peter, James and John – His special triumvirate of friends – up a mountain to pray. As they are doing so Jesus’ appearance is transformed, and Moses and Elijah appear, in glorious splendor, to talk with Jesus. This divine moment is so great that Peter does not want to leave. But a cloud envelopes them while God speaks, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” It can’t be much more divine than this.
Some years after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, His beloved disciple John was banished to a remote island because of His enduring testimony to Jesus. There, on the island, he worships – and while worshipping, is lifted up by the Spirit of God, and see the saints around the altar; he experiences the victory and majesty of the Lord Jesus, and learns what is still to come in the world. It’s a divine moment unlike any before or since.
These were rare experiences – all different and unique. To EXPLAIN such divine moments we look at the posture of each person involved – they were doing nothing out of the ordinary; they were doing what their routine and discipline led them to do. Yet they had never before had such an experience. So it must be that God determines when to bestow such moments. Divine moments occur NOT BY OUR ACTIONS BUT BY GOD’S HAND. We do not flip a switch and experience a divine moment.
Yet there was one common element in the situations; the persons were involved in worship at the time of their divine moment. WE CANNOT CAUSE DIVINE MOMENTS; WE CAN ONLY PUT OURSELVES IN POSITION TO EXPERIENCE THEM. It’s just like the sun - we cannot cause it to shine – God does that; but we can stand outdoors so that when the sun does shine, we experience its warmth.
So how do we put ourselves in a position to experience divine moments? We diligently prepare our hearts for worship. Being in worship is a must – but just being in worship is not enough. How we come to worship is what matters to God. It is NOT OUR PRESENCE BUT OUR PREPARATION THAT MATTERS. It’s a matter of the heart. Leviticus 23:1-3 mandated that we worship regularly, each week. But that alone is not enough. That’s why we read from Leviticus 9 - there God gives Moses instructions on how to sacrifice “so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Divine moments often flow because of the worship of a prepared heart. That’s why Jesus so frequently chastised the religious leaders of His day – they went through the motions but their hearts were not right. How we prepare our hearts is of primary importance in positioning ourselves to experience divine moments. IT DOES NOT GUARANTEE DIVINE MOMENTS, BUT IT INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD. Back to the sunshine; we cannot experience the warmth of the sun unless we stand outdoors, but standing outdoors does not cause the sun to shine. So we cannot experience divine moments unless we worship; but worship does not cause divine moments.