Have you ever become frustrated in your quest for intimacy with the Lord? Of course He is here with us all the time. He said He would never leave us and so He never does. But there are times of drawing closer to Him, of seeking His face, of forsaking all other things to just spend time alone with Him. Sometimes when we try to do that we are immediately bombarded with the thought bombs of the enemy. Every distraction crowds into our brains until it’s a continual fight to keep pushing them out and focus on Him alone. Of course it’s a fight. But it’s one we must win to break through into the life He has for us. Remember that He IS the reward. Knowing Him, drawing closer to Him, spending time with Him is not only the goal but also the reward.
Let me share something that happened to me during one of those times. I had become weary of seeking and felt I was getting nowhere. Then finally I began to be aware of both realms at the same time. I was sitting in a chair in the living room but now I could also see myself walking in a forest. ( Have you ever had an experience like this and wondered if it was really God or just your imagination? And have people told you it was crazy? Don’t believe them. This is supposed to be a natural lifestyle for a child of God. We were created with this ability.)
Swiftly now the spiritual began to overtake the natural and the vision became uppermost in my spirit eyes. Sunlight streamed through the trees of the forest down to the mossy floor. Birds were singing and a soft wind was blowing through the leaves. Suddenly I was aware of someone else up ahead darting in and out among the trees. Startled, I just caught a glimpse of a man looking back over his shoulder. Making eye contact for a split second assured me it was the Lord. He seemed to be hiding from me! I could barely see Him as He ran between the trees and the thick foliage. But I knew it was Him and He was calling me to follow Him, to chase Him. Now my heart led the way as I ran after Him and He led me deeper into the forest. At one point all I could see was His arm coming out from behind a tree and His hand beckoning me to come. Still I followed, determined to go wherever He was leading and not lose sight of Him.
Finally He waited for me to catch up to Him. He took my hand and ran with me out into a meadow where we danced together in the sunlight. Then a troupe of angels appeared and danced with us. In the midst of all of this, Jesus looked into my eyes and spoke tenderly to me.
“This is what is really happening, My love. I’ve been playing hide and seek with you. I’m drawing you and calling you into places you otherwise wouldn’t go. And I’m pleased with your determination and persistence to follow Me even when you can barely see. Your love has captured My heart.” (Job 23:9, Song of Solomon 1:4, 2:10, 4:9 )
Basic lesson – don’t give up. Keep trying. The reward is so far beyond your imagination. The reward is Him.
What was it like for Moses to actually climb up that quaking, thundering mountain and walk right into the fire of God? Remember again the smoking, fiery moutain in the wilderness. When the earthquake came and the voice of God thundered, the people were terrified and ran away. (See previous post, July 30) But Moses “drew near unto the thick darkess where God was.” (Ex. 20:21) This darkness that sometimes seems to surround God is actually the “dense oil of the spirit – incomprehensible to man and therefore seemingly dark”. (see footnote)
Even though the rest of the people ran away in terror, Moses wanted God so desperately that he was willing to answer His invitation to come up into the fire. My guess is that the higher he climbed and the closer he came, the more the fire turned to glory and the thicker the presence of God became until he was enveloped by God Himself.
In later expereinces he actually talked with God “face to face as a man speaks to his friend”. (Ex.33:11) I’ve heard many preachers quote the other verse … you know, the one where God said, “You cannot see my face; for there shall no man see me and live.” (Ex. 33:20) I puzzled about that verse for a long time. It’s interesting that both these verses occur in the same chapter and were written by the same man under the inspiration of God. Even studying the Hebrew words revealed that the same word was used both times for “face”. There was no difference of terms. More interesting still is the fact that speaking face to face with God was recorded first in v. 11, while the verses shortly following that seem to restrict that ability.
There are times when God seems to “bend the rules” or bring something into the present that is actually reserved for the future. This usually happens because of an intimate relationship with Him. We see this in the life of David when he was allowed to put the Ark of God in a tent in his back yard and change the whole pattern of worship during a certain time period. (1 Chron. 16) We see this at the wedding of Cana when Jesus mother Mary persuaded Him to do the first miracle even though He told her it was not yet His time. (St. John 2)
Could it be that God was saying to Moses, “You and I have such a close relationship that you have become My friend and I can speak to you face to face. But just so you know the rules for this time period … no man can see Me and live. (Ex. 33:20,21) However … there is a place, a position beside Me, where you can stand.” Perhaps the Lord left the door open just enough for Moses to get through.
But now the rules that held us at a distance have changed! Now Jesus has come and died for us and opened the way for relationship with God. Now we have a better covenant and better promises based on relationship with God. (Heb. 8). Now there is a door standing open in Heaven and a voice calling “Come up here”! (Rev. 4:1)
What are we waiting for? Just respond to His call. Just start climbing, step by step, up the mountain to meet with the One you love.
*Footnote: This is a quote from Anna Rountree’s book Heaven Awaits the Bride.