Sermons

Summary: This sermon is about how to enjoy God’s Presence. There is nothing more important than living in God’s Presence. There are three main steps to enjoying God’s Presence - 1. A Life Striving for Total Obedience 2. A Life of Undivided Devotion 3. A Life Being Dependent on God

Scripture: Exodus 33:1-23; John 15:1-11; Psalm 23

Theme: God’s Presence

Title: Steps to Enjoying God’s Presence

This sermon is about how to enjoy God’s Presence. There is nothing more important than living in God’s Presence. There are three main steps to enjoying God’s Presence - 1. A Life Striving for Total Obedience 2. A Life of Undivided Devotion 3. A Life Being Dependent on God

INTRO:

Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

I want to talk to you today about the importance of God’s Presence in our lives. I want to talk to you today about living a life enjoying and relishing in God’s Presence. For, there is nothing more important than continually experiencing God’s Presence in our lives.

Our Old Testament story this morning takes us to a very interesting time in Israel’s history.

+The People of Israel had been gone from Egypt for a little over 4 months. For the first time in their lives they were experiencing what it meant to be a free people.

+They are encamped at the foot of Mt. Sinai resting, getting organized and waiting on God’s further directions.

+The LORD has called Moses to come up to the mountain for a one on one conference. God is sharing with Moses how He wants His people to live out a life of holiness and freedom. Moses has been with God on the top of Mt. Sinai for over five weeks.

+With Moses gone the people have grown restless. They don’t know what to do next. They don’t know where to go next. All they know is that Moses has led them out into this wilderness and has disappeared up on Mt. Sinai. They are becoming impatient and restless. They turn to Aaron to give them some direction.

+Under Aaron’s leadership, a young bull calf image is made out of gold. The people hope that it will provide a way for them to connect with God. They hope that YHWH (GOD) will come down and communicate His will (through the image) and instruct them how they are to proceed.1

Now, that is a lot going on.

Personally, I don’t believe that Aaron was trying to replace YHWH with either the Egyptian god Apis or the Cannanite god El. Both of these false gods were represented by an image of a bull. I do believe Aaron intended the bull calf would provide some type of connection to YHWH. This is why he says in Exodus 32:4

“This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

It is important to understand that the people wanted something or someone to replace Moses. They didn’t know what had become of Moses. All they knew was that he had gone up on the top of Mt. Sinai and now weeks later there was no sign of him.

Mt. Sinai is a big mountain. It’s a rough looking mountain made of granite. Over the centuries people have cut out stair steps and have made trails that you can use to make it to the top. If you are in pretty good shape you can make it to the top of the mountain in about 4 hours using those cut out steps.

But in Moses’ day there were no cut out steps. He had no climbing gear. He didn’t have a back pack full of rope, carabineers or trail mix. He didn’t even have any mountain boots. He was wearing sandals, a robe and carrying a stick. We don’t even know if he had a tent. At that time it was a rough and difficult climb that took you to approx 7,500 feet above sea level.

At that level about 40% of people suffer from a bad case of mountain sickness because of the decrease in oxygen density. It is also common to begin to experience headaches, nausea, rapid heart rate and shortness of breath.

Now, over a couple of weeks Moses’ body would have adjusted to the altitude but what about food and water? Mt. Sinai is made out of granite so there was little chance at the time there was very much eatable vegetation. There was water but how drinkable it was we don’t know.

Of course, we know now that God physically took care of Moses, but the Israelites waiting for him didn’t know all that we know. They did not know that God was feeding him, providing Him shelter and care. They didn’t know that God was going to keep Moses up there for 40 days. All they knew was Moses was gone.

If we would have been waiting at the bottom of the mountain, we almost certainly would have been wondering what had happened to Moses after the first week or so. We may have been like others, who were wondering if Moses was still alive.

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