The Longing of God
Looking across the sky often causes my mind to wonder. As the sun is setting and the brilliant display of so many colors cascade across the evening sky, I am amazed at the handiwork of God. His power is unmatched and his ability is without measure. He speaks and matter is created in perfect order. And in the moments I slow down enough to notice and worship, He hears the words I pray. It is truly the grand displays of God’s majesty that make his nearness even more surprising and magnificent. The God who speaks, creates, and knows no limit bends to hear the voice of one of His creation.
Exodus 33 recounts a time when Moses needed the ear of God. After spending forty days and nights with God on Mount Sinai, he discovered the unfaithfulness of the Israelite people. God was establishing a law, a way for his people to relate to Him and one another. The holy God was fulfilling what He promised, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God” (Exodus 29:45-46). Exodus 33:9 recounts times when Moses would enter the Tent of Meeting set on the outskirts of the Israelite camp. As he walked in, the pillar of cloud – the presence of God – would descend to meet with him. “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Not only did God speak to Moses but promised His presence would go with him and the people…and He would give them rest (33:14).
The story of God is filled with such moments. From the beginning, humanity has been given the choice to love God, follow Him, and experience His unending presence and rest. He has always given clarity to the way in which a man should go to have abundant life. Yet, we have always rebelled. And despising the shame, God has always pursued his rebellious people. Beginning in Eden, God restored Adam and Eve providing covering and forgiveness. He made a covenant with Abraham establishing a great nation whose purpose was to draw the world to see the One True God! He rescued from Egypt, gave them a good land to dwell within and influence the nations. Throughout faithless generations, God remained faithful, long-suffering, patient, and ready to restore, forgive, and bless.
At the culmination of the story, God became flesh and literally dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the from of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus entered into the world and was rightfully called, Immanuel -God with us!” And the rest of the story is increasingly more amazing. After Jesus was raised from the dead, He ascended to the Father and sent His Spirit. “Or do you not know that your body is the a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own…” (1 Corinthians 6:19). God, through the death of His Son, made a way for His presence to be with us forever, the indwelling of His Spirit.
The Almighty Creator of the Universe who paints galaxies and speaks matter into existence, the Eternal One who orders life, calms storms, and has no needs chose to pursue you, me and all of humanity. He longs to be with you. He doesn’t need you but wants you. He is still holy, righteous, always good, and to be feared. And somehow, He also allows His people to affectionally call Him Father, Daddy, and Friend.
Moses would have many good days and difficult days the remainder of his life. Some of the challenges he faced resulted from his own wrong decisions. After guiding God’s people through the desert for forty years anxiously anticipating a promised good land, Moses would not be able to enter. But the land was only a blessing. God longed for the hearts of the people, He longed for Moses. He longs for you and me. We too will have good and difficult days ahead. And we too might fail to see a dream fulfilled. But in abiding in Jesus, we discover we have all we truly need…and we remember that it has been His story all along.
Be encouraged today to find rest in the presence of God. He longs to give abundant life through His abiding presence. Abide in Him…He is longing to hear from you and He bends his hear to listen. He is longing to speak…open His word and listen.