Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’
And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’
Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’
Exodus 33:15-18, NIV
God usually hides Himself from the half-hearted, the self-satisfied and the double minded. But He delights in revealing Himself to any who seek Him in single-hearted desperation. He is a God of grace, and He will meet anyone with forgiveness and transformation of heart and adoption into His redeemed family when they come to Him with faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And then He meets His children in sanctifying grace when they come to Him confessing the sin in their hearts and trusting in Christ’s purifying power as it is administered by the Holy Spirit who is already indwelling them.
According to Jesus, our heavenly Father is seeking among us for those who will excel in worship (John 4:23-24). Andrew Murray observed that there are three classes of worshipers: those who in their ignorance pray feverishly – they know so little about the Presence of the Most Holy One; and those who take a little more time to be informed, so that they pray in mind and sometimes in spirit – they receive something from the Lord but stop short of His glorious fullness; and then there are those who abandon themselves to the Spirit and the Word to be taught to worship “in Spirit and in truth” – these are given the Spirit of wisdom and revelation and are flooded with the light of Christ to know the marvelous hope to which they are called, to realize the riches the Father considers Himself to hold in His redeemed children and to envision their glorious future even as they begin now to participate in His mighty power available to them (Eph. 1:17-21).
The Desperate Prayer
Moses cried out to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Moses had learned that the greatest need of the people of God is His glorious manifested Presence among them. May God give to every church praying men and women who understand with Moses that nothing matters more than the glory of God coming on His worshiping people! Such an Upper Room company’s primary burden will not be for bigger crowds, greater preaching, better music or more generous offerings; they will be crying out first and foremost for visitations of the Lord on His needy people, and when this desperate prayer is answered these other things will surely follow.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon is considered to be history’s most widely read preacher after the Lord Jesus Christ. His personal library contained over 12,000 volumes. It is estimated that in his lifetime (1834-1892) he preached to over ten million people. He once addressed an audience of 23,654 without a microphone or any mechanical amplification. No chapel or hall seemed large enough to hold all the thousands who were drawn to hear him. What was Spurgeon’s secret of spiritual power? Despite his brilliance and many other gifts, the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century often acknowledged the source of his strength when he would take his friends down into the lower part of the great Metropolitan Tabernacle in London and show them his “power plant” – scores and sometimes hundreds (if it happened to be on Saturday afternoon) would be gathered to pray and weep and intercede for Spurgeon and his preaching. He knew how to recruit the kind of army that could “put on the whole armor of God” and tear down the strongholds of Satan and bring the anointing of the Spirit upon God’s messenger and charge the atmosphere of public worship with the very glory of heaven.
The Distinguishing Presence
In begging for the glory of God’s Presence, Moses asked, “What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the earth?” Moses realized the need for a marked difference between God’s people and the people of the world. In this pivotal period in the history of the church, we need leaders who understand the need to excel in nothing less than the Presence of God. What else is going to deliver enslaved believers from their bondage to a secularized and sensualized culture and return them to New Testament holiness and power? What else will rouse us from our fleshly stupor, startle us to a holy dread of His consuming holiness, purge us from our filth and fears, restore us to the joy of our salvation, set us free to worship and praise God in Spirit and in truth and mark His people with a holy fire to give the Gospel to this generation before it self-destructs?
In the latter part of the first century, when a large majority of the churches had lost their vision of the holiness of God, the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to the apostle John in all of His glorified humanity (Rev. 1:10 – 3:22). His eyes were like a flame of fire – the scrutiny of omniscience, everything was open to His gaze, no one deceived Him or hid anything from Him. His feet were like brass glowing in a furnace – the Supreme Judge of all had become a consuming fire. His voice was like the sound of rushing waters – His voice silenced all human lies, pleas and excuses. In His right Hand He held seven stars – the churches are under His sovereign control to judge and cleanse and empower as He will. Out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword – The Conqueror’s power is His own spoken Word, infallible, eternal, final. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance – the Eternal God has decreed that the only hope of the church and of the nations and of the entire human race will be found in the countenance of His glorified Son.
Oh, may the servants of the Lord in this early part of the twenty-first century catch a new overpowering vision of the glorified Christ that will put us at His feet, so that in turn He may put us on our feet and send us out to the world to finish the Great Commission, proclaiming His message, not ours, in His power, not ours.
The Divine Promise
In response to His servant’s earnest plea, God promised Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked.” Moses was not to move ahead fearfully, haltingly, wondering whether or not the Divine Presence was with him. God never commissioned His church for a task it could perform in human strength alone. Before we go, we are to be “clothed with power from on high.”
As a young man, David Brainerd witnessed the glorious movings of God throughout New England, New York and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey during the first Great American Awakening (1726-1746). He knew God had called him to go to the American Indians and proclaim the Gospel. After years of failure and suffering ill health, Brainerd knew God would keep His promise. His August diary of 1745 is filled with arresting entries: “After much suffering, after toiling day and night, after countless hours in prayer and fasting, after preaching and testifying in season and out, at last the break came, “the fire fell.” Brainerd wrote of the coming of the Spirit upon the Indians and he as a Divine influence, “a mighty torrent that sweeps before it whatever comes in its way.” He stood amazed at how God took over, seeing the Indians who had before ignored his preaching now “almost universally praying and crying for mercy. Numbers could neither go nor stand. It was very affecting to see the poor Indians, who the other day were hallooing and yelling in their idolatrous feasts and drunken frolics, now crying to God with such importunity for an interest in His dear Son!”
God gave young Evan Roberts a vision that brought down the scorn of established ministers upon his head. “I saw all of Wales being lifted up to heaven,” reported Roberts. “It will be the mightiest revival Wales has ever known – 100,000 people will be saved, and the Revival will sweep over the earth.” For five months young Roberts was jeered as “the junior seer.” But scoffing stopped and repentance began with God started pouring out His Spirit on all of Wales. And just as God had promised, 100,000 sinners were converted, but many more nominal church members found the Lord. All the churches and chapels in Wales were crowded day and night with people seeking the Lord.
Christian leaders, God keeps His promises! Will all of you who have not yet seen revival join me in praying:
O God, let us hear the roar of Pentecost once more coming from your Holy Mountain! Stretch forth your Hand to shelve all the old dried up sermons, ceremonies, evangelistic gimmickry, judicial and legislative excuses for reform, and make the Son of Righteousness to rise upon our land with healing in His wings. Lift us to the light of your countenance, bringing us into your banqueting house, anointing us with the oil of gladness and making us brokers in the divine exchange of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Surely, Lord, a fresh baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire is long overdue in your North American church. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The Word of God With Power: Experiencing the Full Meaning and Blessing of the “Word of God”
by Jack R. Taylor
My friend Jack Taylor, a Spirit-filled Southern Baptist, has combined scholarship and true spiritual devotion in revealing the three main miracles of the Bible: the first, inspiration, having to do with the Bible’s supernatural origin; the second, preservation, having to do with the Bible’s supernatural continuation; and the third, illumination, having to do with the Bible’s supernatural explanation.
I recommend Jack’s enlightening and dynamic treatment of both the holiness of God and the power of God in this work. He says, “Power, next to holiness, is the church’s greatest need today. Power without holiness is destructive; holiness without power is dead.” Paperback, 192 pages Pub. Date: Sep 2003, Publisher: Sovereign World, Ltd. It is available for only $9.35 on walmart.com.
Jamaica Trip Report:
Bishop Jack Terry and his wife, Winona, invited me to conduct a School of Prayer by Day and a Crusade at night for the pastors and people in the mountains of Jamaica near the city of St. Anne. The event took place in December 2003. Bishop Terry and I have been friends for more than fifty years. He is the overseer of the Christ Community Churches in the West Indies where he has churches in Jamaica and Haiti, and is preparing to go into Cuba.
Never in my fifty-seven years of ministry have I been with believers who are so wholehearted and sacrificial in their worship! They are uninhibited in the Presence of God and the shouts ascend, the tears flow, and they dance in great joy before the Lord. I came away from every service feeling like I had been revived.
I ask our prayer partners to remember these precious Jamaicans as they catch the vision for a sweeping revival throughout the Caribbean region. In the next Journal, I’ll have a report on my third trip to India and the young seminarian I met who had to flee from his militant Hindu home.