Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It All Begins with Worship…

"If Your presence does not go," Moses responded to Him, "don't make us go up from here.  How will it be known that I and Your people have found favor in Your sight unless You go with us? I and Your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth."  The LORD answered Moses, "I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name."  Then Moses said, "Please, let me see Your glory." – Exodus 33:15-18

What do the following events have in common?
·         Pentecost, 30 AD
·         The Reformation, 1517
·         The First Great Awakening, 1727-1750
·         The Jesus Movement, 1965-1970

First, they were all incredible movements of God.  I love reading about the great revivals because they are times when God has shown up in undeniable ways. For example, during the First Great Awakening, thousands flocked to hear the preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. In New England alone, it’s estimated that upwards of 50,000 people came to faith.  In the late 1960s and early 1970s, an estimated 300,000 people rose up in “The Jesus Movement”.   This movement had a tremendous impact on reaching the 1970s hippie culture for Christ and its impact is still felt in churches today.   In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Church, birthing Protestantism and forever changing the face of Christianity. An in Acts 2 we find the first, and one of the greatest movements of God, when the Holy Spirit fell on the people and over 3,000 were saved.

Second, when you look at the times God has moved in mighty ways, whether historically or in our individual lives, there is always a common thread:  they are always preceded by worship.
·         There would have been no exodus from Egypt had Moses not met God in the burning bush;
·         The people of Nineveh would have not been saved had Jonah not met God in the belly of a fish;
·         The giant, Goliath, would have never fallen if David had not met God in the fields outside Bethlehem;
·         The Day of Pentecost would have never happened if Peter had not been restored by Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee; and,
·         Christianity would have never spread across this world had Paul not met the risen Lord on the road to Damascus.

Great movements of God are always preceded by worship.   In Exodus 33 we find one of the greatest descriptions of worship in Scripture.  In this passage, we find the Israelites in a bind.  God had brought them out of Egypt, delivered them from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea, and had called Moses to Mt. Sinai to give him the Ten Commandments.  Because God had not operated on their timetable, they pressured Aaron into making a golden calf for them to worship.  When we pick up in chapter 33 we find God very angry.   He’s so angry, in fact, that he tells Moses that He will not go with the Israelites to the Promised Land.  Moses understood that without God’s presence the people could not survive…and at this point he begs God to stay with them:

"If Your presence does not go," Moses responded to Him, "don't make us go up from here.  How will it be known that I and Your people have found favor in Your sight unless You go with us? I and Your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth."

At this point Moses asked God, “Please show me your glory.”  We as Christians love to debate and discuss, but there is little disagreement about this one thing:  our churches and our nation are in desperate need of revival, a fresh movement of God where he breathes his life into our presence.  How we need for God to show us His glory!

I believe that God can show us His glory…but, it will be totally dependent on us seeking the face of God and responding to who He is. 
·         It won’t be dependent on a preacher;
·         It won’t be dependent on a new program;
·         It won’t be dependent on a great choir anthem; and,
·         And it won’t be dependent on our abilities.

It will be dependent on whether or not we are willing to fall on our faces before the God of his universe, to repent of our sinfulness and pride, and ask him to show His glory among us. 

When you look at great movements of God, they all have one thing in common:  they all began with worship.   The question is not whether God can show His glory among us, but rather are we willing to do what it takes for that to happen?

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