Drawing Nigh Unto God:
Text: James 4:8a " Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you....."
James, the brother of our Lord and the leader of the New Testament church, admonishes this infant church to grow by --- "Drawing nigh unto God." God expects us grow in our personal walk with Him and to come closer to Him. He expects us to not just come near Him ---- but to "draw closer to Him." regardless of where we may presently be -- there is always room to come closer to Him.
God basically has two reasons why He wants us to draw closer to Him.
#1:) To Reward us for acts of faithfulness to Him and acts of love and kindness to others &
#2:) To Chasten us for acts of disobedience to Him and His word.
So when the Holy Spirit urges us to draw closer to God -- what is our reaction to His call? Do we eagerly obey or are we like the prophet Jonah and head off in the opposite direction just as fast as we can go? Once we start running away,it odesn’t take very long to find ourselves a long way from where we need to be in Christ!
In the Old Testament book of Exodus chapter 24, we find God calling Moses to draw closer to Him and come into His holy presence. After God brought the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and parted the red Sea for them to cross over, they settled at the foot of Mount Sinai. There the multitude of over two million Israelites camped out for about eleven (11) months. During this time Moses went up and down the mountain -- seeking to hear the voice of God. After hearing what God wanted him to tell the people, Moses returned to the base of the mountain and declared to them what God had said.
Moses was behaving like a spiritual shepherd should. Many people today will say, "No one is going to tell me what to do and how to live!" However, God still speaks to spiritual overseers, pastors, and gives them words and messages to give to His people. we are then called upon to give heed to what the shepherd has said because both we and the leader will give account unto God.
There came a day when God spoke out of the mountain. The mountain shook, fire and smoke poured from it, the sky grew dark, lightning flashed and the thunder rolled. It was a frightening sight unto the Israelites. A powerful and holy God was revealing His awesome power and they knew that there was still sin and rebellion in their lives. They were fearful to come any closer to God. I can picture them backing away as far as they could from the mountain, from the glory of God, and from His divine anointing.
God summoned Moses to come to the mountain. Off Moses goes toward the shaking, smoking, burning mountain as the lightning flashes and the thunder roars. The people no doubt thought Moses was insane to be climbing such a mountain that was filled with the power of God. But Moses had been in God’s presence before and he knew that in His presence there are intimate outpouring of His Spirit poured into our hearts. If our hearts are clean we need not dread being in Godss presence!
One of my concerns of today is how that so many people can be in the prsence of the Holy Spirit and neither be "fearful" nor "reverant" or "touched." Jesus assured us that "where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He would be in the midst of them." So when we come to God’s house of worship with the intent to worship God and uplift Him, He is in our presence. yet so many can play with babies, pass around notes, thumb through song books, pass around Avon books and Tupperware books; anything but fixing their mind upon the presence of God that is among them. They cannot wait until the twelve o’clock hour comes and they can go to their favorite resturant and fill their bellies. They could have filled their souls with unspeakable blessings but the other was obviously more important to them.
When we obey God’s invitation to draw nigh unto Him, even if He scolds us for bad acts , He will never depart from us without blessing us and making the trip to His presence worth the efforts it took to get there! Yes, beloved, we are changed from "glory to glory" from being in His presence time after time. The only way Christ will ever see the refection of Himself in us is to spend time in His presence! In His presence God reveals His grace, His mercy, His compassion, His longsuffering, His love and so much more. After seeing those virtues in Him we then know that God can make those same virtues come alive in us!
After Moses climbs the mountain at God’s summons, he spends 40 days and nights on top of this mountain, alone with God. There God spoke and gave the Ten Commandments so that His people could know what God expected from them.
If ever we needed to hear a "word" from God it is today. Our world is in trouble, our nation is in trouble, our churches are in trouble, our families and our homes are in trouble, our lives are in trouble. And the answers lie in you and I yeilding to His call and climbing the mountain and entering into His holy presence. There is no limit to what God can do once we are in His presence.
Church, please make your number one priority --
Drawing Closer To God! We can never be "Too Close!" Yes, if we will draw unto God , He will draw nigh unto us. And even IF God corrects us He will bless us before we leave His presence.