Summary: One way we can improve our worship experience corporately, is to meet with God more fully and intimately each day of the week. The fullest encounter of God is found not just in His presence, but encountering His glory.
Encountering God – Part 3: “In the Silence”
Quote from Children’s Letters to God.
"Dear God, Is Pastor Bill a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business? Donny"
Why did we do testimonies? Testimonies are for praise.
Praise is about what God has done.
Worship is about who God is.
Praise prepares us for worship, for encountering God Himself by recounting His deeds which tell us who He is. Review – Our sermon series is on ENCOUNTERING GOD and we have been focusing upon WORSHIP as our primary source of encountering God.
What is worship?
It is the meeting of God’s heart and ours.
Worship is the reason we were created.
It is the most important thing we can do –
God is seeking worshippers (who will worship Him in spirit and truth)
Spirit = Not just with their lips but with their whole hearts
Truth = Not with religion but in relationship via Jesus.
Last week we spoke about pressing into worship – the effort we make to encounter God, and how we must press in, make the effort, & pay the price to encounter God.
I shared that one of the reasons we don’t encounter God on Sunday is that we haven’t overcome the barriers to worship which included “not preparing for worship.”
I am surprised so many of you came back this Sunday after I told you “not to come to church next Sunday unless you prepare your hearts for worship.” My thought was “why waste your time just showing up…if you are going to come to worship, be prepared to worship! Be prepared to encounter God.” It looks like you took me seriously!
Our preparation for corporate worship must include a daily, personal encounter of God.
One way we can improve our worship experience corporately, is to meet with God more fully and intimately each day of the week.
Personal and Corporate worship are the most vital things we can do. The encountering, the meeting of hearts is vital to all we will do and become.
This personal worship is what I will talk about today.
Five times in the Book of Exodus the Lord says I want to meet with you. (Exodus 25, 29, 33)
I would like us to look at one of those 5 passages, the one found in Exodus 33.
Ex. 33:7-11 “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. 10 When all the people saw the pillar of cloud (glory) standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. 11 Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Ultimately, this passage is about Moses’ private encounters with God…it is about the where and when and how that Moses met God each day.
This passage is often misunderstood, because it precedes the actual building of the tabernacle in the desert, and the term “tent of meeting” is used interchangeably after that time.
In the present context, the tent of meeting is not the tabernacle that Moses was given a pattern for by God in Exodus 25.
The Hebrew words give us a distinction:
The Tent of Meeting (Ohel Mo-eid) and the Tabernacle (Mishkan).
We can think of them this way for the time being.
The Tent of meeting represents the personal encounter with God.
The Tabernacle represents the presence of God.
You might think that these are minor differences, but they are important. I dare to say that there is even one more facet to this incredible picture.
The cloud represents the glory of God.
(v10) When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent.
The presence of God is enough to converse with God but the Glory of God always leads to worship!
The people worshipped when God’s glory descended!
In the coming weeks I will further make distinctions between these three elements and how they relate to our worship experiences as well. But for now, we will only define them.