Summary: 1 of 4 in Tough Questions Series of messages. This focuses on why we donï¿½t always feel Godï¿½s Presence. It involves a study of Moses in Ex 33 seeking to see Godï¿½s Glory
Tough Questions ï¿½ Real Answers
April 15, 2007
Sometimes as we grow older we lose the innocence and faith we have as children. Somewhere in the passing of time trust and hope becomes suspicion and cynicism. Our knowledge of God is no longer a simple knowledge but a complex intellectual philosophy that no one can explain or understand.
When Helen Keller was a baby she had a high fever that destroyed her vision and her hearing. Years later a teacher, named Anne Sullivan, was able to break through her veil of darkness and quiet and begin to tell her about the world around her. One day Anne began to tell Helen about the existence of God. In the middle of her signing to her about him Helen interrupted and signed back that she already knew about God.
Where did that knowledge come from? It was internally and eternally revealed.
This week we begin a journey to study some tough questions in the quest for some real answers.
The first is simple: Why donï¿½t I always feel Godï¿½s Presence?
As Children we know some things that weï¿½ve forgotten about God.
There are times I have felt his presence. Once when I was about 16 or 17 years old I remember spending the greater part of the afternoon on Vesper Point at Rock Lake and felt the very presence of God. In fact this place where Rich Mullins wrote ï¿½Our God is an Awesome Godï¿½ is, to this day, a very special place for me.
But there are other times I feel very much alone.
How about you?
Why donï¿½t we always feel the presence of God?
Letï¿½s go back to one of the greatest leaders in the Bible and learn from his life and one special instance. The leaders name is Moses. He led his people, Godï¿½s people out of Egypt through the desert places to a promised land over the course of 40 tough years. Iï¿½m certain that there were times he felt very alone which is in some ways pretty surprising.
Look at what he says to God in Exodus 33 ï¿½ this is just after the people had made the golden calf and Moses had broken the law God had written on the stone tablets.
He leaves the people and goes to a tent on the plains where God came in a cloud and spoke to him.
Here is what he said
Moses Wanted to Know God
13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.ï¿½
Moses wanted to know God and to be in his favor. Moses wasnï¿½t asking for God to do things for him or to get something special from him. No, Moses just wanted to see and experience his Father.
He wouldnï¿½t settle for less. Does this seem just a little strange to you?
Why would Moses, this man who had as much contact with God as any man in the Bible, throughout these verses keep asking for God.
Moses, give me a break!
You met God at the burning bush.
By his power you watched your staff turn into a snake.
You experience Godï¿½s power in the 10 plagues.
You spread your hands and watched a sea become a road.
You cracked a rock with a stick and it became a drinking fountain.
You even saw God engrave two stone tablets with his law.
Moses, when I think about your life, I see many encounters with God. Moses you seem a just a little greedy. Moses, nearly every page of the Book of Exodus records a situation when God is revealing himself, his purposes or his ways to you, and yet here we see you a God drenched, God saturated, God immersed man hungering for his Father.
So what does God say to Mosesï¿½
Godï¿½s Promised Presence
14 The LORD replied, ï¿½My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.ï¿½
Huh? Moses says, I want to know you and have your favorï¿½ and all he get is a simple statement. Iï¿½ll be there and Iï¿½ll give you rest.
Itï¿½s a simple promise with a powerful outcome. Godï¿½s presence results in rest. When God is with you one of the signs is that you are filled with peace.
In fact, we could say that restlessness is a symptom of the absence of God.
My wife gets something called ï¿½restless leg syndrome.ï¿½ Its really pretty weird. Sheï¿½ll be laying on the couch relaxing and watching TV when her leg with suddenly twitch ï¿½ kind of like what happened when you put an electrical current through a frogs leg in 7th grade biology class.
I think that our souls hunger for rest that comes only from Godï¿½s presence and we twitch inside when he is absent.