Pursuit of God

The Pursuit of God – Chapter 1

Following Hard After God

 

AIM:

We are called to seek a deeper and wider relationship with God alone for God to fill every part of our heart and soul with His glory.

 

Summary:

Current teaching in churches is centered on “accepting Christ”, a term not found in the bible.  But this is just the beginning of a treasured relationship between God and my soul that is personal and essential and fulfilling.

 

Part I:

We may pursue God only because He first sought us

  • Prevenient grace: God seeks me/you first
  • Without grace, sinful man unable to think any right thought about God
  • We have no credit in finding God
  • Impulse to pursue God starts with God
  • While we pursue God, already in His hand
  • Yet, reciprocation to God is mandatory

 

Part II:

Relationship between God and my soul is personal, conscious and aware/factual

  • Justification by faith =/= (not equal) being banned from knowledge of God
  • Modern science loses God in His world
  • Modern Christianity loses God in His word
  • God is a person
  • We cultivate any personal relationship through numerous encounters
  • Relationship of God with my soul: Conscious Personal Awareness
  • Conscious: Not subconscious working (infant baptism is not sufficiently fulfilling alone)
  • Personal: Not God with body of believers, God with me
  • Awareness: Can be known in same way as any other fact

 

Part III:

Accepting Christ is not the goal, it is only the starting point

  • Spirit entry = finding God : Not end of journey, beginning of journey
  • Paradox of soul: To have found God and still pursue Him
  • Historically holy men have lived this paradox: Moses, David, hymnists, theologians
  • Today taught that “accepting Christ” is center of being Christian
  • “accepting Christ” not a biblical term
  • Some, though, see this is not the center, but a starting point to a craving for further revelation of God
  • “Oh God, show me thy glory” – Moses
  • Lack of Holy desire leads to stiff and wooden religiosity
  • Christ waits to be wanted, not just found

 

Part IV:

Seek Christ through simplicity and a focus on essentials, seeking God, not “God-and”

  • Right now in an age of “religious complexity”
  • Christ’s simplicity is lost in complexity
  • Instead of simplicity: programs, methods, organizations and activities
  • All this leads to hollowness and shallowness
  • God reveals Himself to “babes”, but hides Himself from “wise and prudent”
  • To seek God, simplify / essentials
  • Don’t approach trying to impress God
  • Seek Him with candor and humility
  • Don’t seek “God-and”, just seek God
  • Seeking God alone doesn’t restrict our hearts
  • Seeking God alone allows God to fill every part of our hearts
  • In prayer, practice simplicity and essentials

 

Part V:

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One

  • God divided Canaan, no land for Levites
  • God to Levites, “I am your inheritance.”
  • Christians are priests
  • Spiritual Principle: The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.
  • The things denied, released or let go, to have God alone, are not felt as loss, because he who pursues this path has it all in One: satisfaction, pleasure, delight, purely, legitimately, forever

 

During the break of our study of Moses I am reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.  This book was one that was recently referenced in the BSF notes.  It is a relatively short book, 75 pages, written in 10 chapters plus and introduction.  I would encourage you to read along and add your comments and thoughts. $6.49 on Amazon.

My structure in writing about the book for each of the chapters will be a very loose homiletics approach.  For those of you who are homiletic purists, I apologize.  For the rest, I hope you find some things that further your personal relationship with God. 

As Moses said, “Show my your glory.”

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Pursuit of God

The Pursuit of God – Preface

During the break of our study of Moses I am reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.  This book was one that was recently referenced in the BSF notes.  It is a relatively short book, 75 pages, written in 10 chapters plus and introduction.  I would encourage you to read along and add your comments and thoughts. $6.49 on Amazon.

My structure in writing about the book for each of the chapters will be a very loose homiletics approach.  For those of you who are homiletic purists, I apologize.  For the rest, I hope you find some things that further your personal relationship with God. 

As Moses said, “Show my your glory.”

 

Preface:

AIM:

A revival is building in those seeking a more fulfilling relationship with God.

 

Summary:

Current church teaching provides minimum caloric input needed to sustain life, but this does not quench hunger or provide sweetness some are seeking in their relationship with the Lord.

 

Part I:

Hungering After God is the basis for a small but growing modern-day revival

  • Within conservative Christianity, increasing numbers who hunger after God Himself
  • This is only hint of “revival” apparent on the horizon
  • Resurrection of life in search of radiant wonder (wonder is missing in our churches)

Part II:

Fundamentals and doctrines are important but don’t fulfill the hunger

  • Modern evangelicalism is focused on engineering and accounting instead of fire and glory
  • Many bible teachers accurately repeat fundamentals and doctrines day after day, year after year
  • Their ministry has no manifest presence or anything unusual in their personal lives.
  • This teaching does not fulfill
  • Orthodoxy is a very slender part of religion
  • Through great and splendid efforts millions today hold “right opinions”
  • But true spiritual worship is at a low ebb
  • Sound Bible exposition is an imperative
  • But exposition alone does not fill hunger for intimacy and satisfying knowledge of God
  • This book is not new or unique, aims to help those who hungry or light others candles with its flame

 

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13 Moses

13.5 Moses 13, Day 5

Moses’ Prayer – Waiting in Faith and Refusing to go with out God

In Exodus 33:15, Moses prayed to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.

In today’s scripture we see the people of Israel as faithful followers.  When the cloud lifts, they follow.  When the cloud does not lift, they stay put.

What a great lesson for us!  How often do we race forward in front of God?  God is my co-pilot.  God’s got my back.  But should the best pilot be at the controls?  If God has my back, then doesn’t that mean I’m leading and He is following me?

While God may (and in my life, has) bailed us out when we get heading down the wrong path, wouldn’t it be smarter, easier, better and more fulfilling to simply go down the right path to begin with?  But we grow impatient.  There is so much to do, shouldn’t we be doing something?

But, the example God sets with the Israelites is a simple no.  There are times to follow and there are times to wait.  When we wait, it is not that nothing is happening – just the opposite.  If we truly trust in God, then part of the waiting is the acknowledgement that He is at work, clearing out the enemies, building the bridges, synchronizing all the green lights along the path.

Waiting is not easy, but it is an amazing witness of faith.  Waiting is an act of trust.  Waiting is a time of preparation.  Waiting is a time for Sabbath Rest to God.

We live in a go, go, go world.  What would happen if, instead, we lived in a God, God, God world?

Over and over again, the bible is filled with stories of men and women who followed God and amazing things occur.  It is also filled with stories of men and women who raced ahead of God and found themselves in horrible situations.  Even the Lord’s prayer says, “lead us not into temptation.”  That request assumes we are following, not racing ahead.

Try it.  I challenge you.  When you wake in the morning, pray that God make His presence known to you this day, whether it is a day to move or a day to stay put.  Lamentation 3:25, “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.” Galations 5:22,23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

As I thought about God filling the tent of meeting and the Israelites waiting on the cloud, the lyrics to a Hillsong tune kept running through my mind:

“As I wait, you make me strong.  As I long, draw me to your arms.  As I stand and sing your praise, You come and fill this place.”

 

My Answers:

11.
a.
When the cloud lifted, they would set out.  When it did not lift, they stayed put

b.
It went before them and protected them – it drew their enemies into a state of confusion

c.
He has kept me and my family safe.  He has given me renewed opportunities to serve and teach

12.
a.
through Jesus, the light of the world, the radiance of God’s glory and exact representation of His being

b.
Ezek 36:26 for me and Matt 7:11 for my family – God is so much better equipped than i am.

c.
God guides everything – it isn’t a question of whether He is guiding, it is whether we are participating and/or observing

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13 Moses

13.4 Moses 13, Day 4

Cloud v. Cow

God is always intentional.  Everything He does is done for a reason.

God appearing to the Israelites as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was not random or inconsequential.  God could have taken any form He wanted.  He could have appeared as a man, as a mist, as a dove, as a small voice, as a trumpet blast.  But God chose a cloud.

I don’t understand exactly why God chose a cloud, but I think it is interesting to compare/contrast the image God chose to reveal Himself and the image the Hebrews chose when they crafted a god.

A golden calf if tangible.  It is shiny (if polished).  It can be physically carried from place to place.  It is visible.  It can be located (there it is).  It is an image

A cloud is tangible, but it cannot be contained.  When you walk through a thick fog, you can feel it, see it, but you can’t hold it.  When you inhale while standing in a fog, you can smell and taste it and feel the mist fill your lungs.  You can see it.  It moves.  It is real.

A pillar of fire also is visible and tangible, but also cannot be held or contained.  It emits light and heat and power.  It permeates and it is reflected and absorbed.  It moves. It is real.

I think this helps teach us about the attributes of God.  God is not imaginary or figurative, He is real.  He is visible.  He is tangible, but He cannot be contained or controlled by man.  He is not limited to a specific place or time, but He moves.  He is all around us and inside us as well.  He protects us, shields us, shelters us and lights our path.  God is a God of Wonders that still have never been seen by any nation or people on this earth!

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle

b.
He dwelt among them

c.
Pentecost

d.
1 Cor 3:16 – Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (note: see also 16 Bible Verses about the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit)

10.
a.
Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle

b.
Some days I am to be in a leadership role and some days I am to be a servant in the church, one, like others, bowing down to God

 

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13 Moses

13.3 Moses 13, Day 3

Within Tolerance

Moses was called on to inspect the work of the craftsmen.  God had provided very exact standards in terms of measurement, materials, forms, function and structure.  Moses was uniquely qualified to inspect the work. First, because he had heard the specifications first hand.  Second, because he, and he alone, had been given a glimpse at the glory of God.  While you and I may be enamored with the beauty of the craftsmanship, any handiwork would pale in comparison to the glory of God.

But, what if the craftsmanship was a little off?  What if something was a quarter of a cubit short?  What if the bronze was just a bit tarnished?  What if one of the rods was a little too long?  How big of a deal would it be, really?  What level of tolerance to the standards was there?

What we see over and over and over again is the work was done “just as the Lord commanded.”

Do we apply this standard in the work we do for the Lord?  There is a difference between being perfect and being exact.  We are not perfect, no human but Jesus has been.  But we can be exact.  We can exactly honor the commitments we make to God.  If we commit to give a certain amount, we should give exactly that amount (or more).  If we commit to spend time in the bible every day, then that should be every day. Once we make that commitment will we immediately face trial and tribulation – Yes – but there are no new trials, just the same old ones that God has helped people overcome since the beginning of mankind.

The people of the church are the building blocks of the church.  Each time we give ourselves an extra level of tolerance for inexactness, we cut a corner, slant an edge, or round an end.  When others use our work or example to build upon (either with our intent or not), the structure of the church is weakened.

What should we do instead?

  1. Pray and be patient before making commitments.  Sometimes we do what we think and then pray for support.
  2. Seek training.  The craftsmen were skilled, but they still received training.
  3. Execute exactness – not perfection, but exactness.  Why would you give God less than your best work?
  4. Ask God and fellow Christians to hold you accountable and to help your contribution to the church be square and level.  When you seek this feedback and accountability it is not a criticism of you, it is a recognition that you want to delivery the best work you can.

Finally, our group got into a discussion about the tent of meeting.  The term has 2 different meanings.  First, there was the tent of meeting that Moses built outside of the camp where he would go and meet with God.  In this regard, you and I may have a “tent of meeting”, a special place where we spend time with God in prayer or praise or study.  This may be a place in your home or work, inside or outside.  It’s purpose is not to constrain God, but to remove outside distractions.  The second is the Tent of Meeting.  I’ll call this Big-T Tent.  This is the tent inside the tabernacle that contained the table, the lampstand, etc. and had the curtain separating a space in it as the Holy of Holies, the place where the Ark of the Covenant Law was placed.  The priests were required to properly wash and prepare before entering this Big-T Tent.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Just as the Lord commanded

b.
Attention to detail – a loving heart for God

c.
Obedience and boldness

7.
a.
14 days before the passover – God announced that He would soon deliver the people from Egypt. This commitment by God was so important that He set it to be the date of the 1st day of their calendar.

b.
They had seen God’s faithfulness and that 1 year to the day He would pick to renew His covenant and live with them

8.
a.
The ark of the covenant law

b.
God’s presence is what made the tabernacle more than a tent

c.
God’s guidance and love

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13.2 Moses 13, Day 2

Reconnecting and a Willing Heart

Isn’t it interesting that the first command Moses gave the Israelites, before they began the work of building the tabernacle and beginning the next stage of their journey with God, was the command about the Sabbath.  The 7th day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord.

There are a lot of theological discussions about the sabbath and how it applies to believers today.  I am not going to get into a discussion about dispensationalism.  Instead, here is what I think is important:

If you are a photographer hired by a couple getting married, it is important to remember, the goal is not to take a lot of beautiful photos, the goal is bring those photos back to the bride and groom.  You have to bring the camera back into your home base, upload the photos and recharge the camera.

In our service for God, we sometimes forget that.  We get so focused on the activity, we don’t reconnect with God.  How much stronger and more focused would your service for the Lord be if every 7 days you stopped and plugged back in fully?  What would your life look like if every 7 days you spent the day uploading the prior 6 days activities to God?

The other part of our lesson today that I found interesting was God’s desire for a willing heart.  There are two ways of looking at the gifts the Israelites were giving:

  1. One perspecitive is to recognize that they will never see their gifts in use again.  The gold utensils are for use inside the Holy place, an area that the givers are restricted from going.  Many of us would have a hard time with this.  When we give money to an organization we want to see the results of our gift; a report back; photos; something.
  2. The other perspective is to recognize that the gold bracelets they had carried around for the past year are being crafted into the mercy seat of God.  What an absolutely amazing and honoring thing.  What would you be willing to give for use within the tabernacle of God?

The reality is that both perspectives are true, both then and now, in gifts from a willing heart.  We may never get to see how the donations we make from a willing heart are used to bring glory to God.  That isn’t important.  If it is what is important, then we need a heart check.  The key is that, while we don’t see the product of our giving, God does.  And isn’t the entire universe God’s rightful tabernacle and anything that furthers the church on this earth is a tool in the Holy of Holies.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
7th day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the LORD

b.
To be His people, a holy nation or priests, set apart

c.
I am called to be a part of His holy church and become holy, set apart, a priest in His service

4.
a.
The people of Israel, all who was willing and whose heart moved them, men and women alike

b.
God, the LORD – chose Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, tribe of Judah, filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills, work in gold, silver, bronze, cut/set stones, woodwork, artistic craft, Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others; engravers, designers, embroiderers, weavers

c.
every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary

d.
vs3-5, stopped work and told Moses the people are bringing more than enough

e.
That my gifts be viewed by God – the donations they brought were being used in such a way they would never see them again

5.
The details were important – each had a specific reason and each foreshadow Jesus and heaven

 

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12 Moses

12.5 Moses 12, Day 5

God’s Jealousy

We often confuse jealousy and coveting and treat them as the same thing.  They are not.  Both have to do with being in possession of something.  Coveting is wanting to take possession of something that belongs to someone else.  Jealousy is wanting to retain possession of things that rightly belong to you but are at threat of being taken away.

Coveting is a sin.  It violates the 10 commandments.  Righteous jealousy is not a sin.

I use the term righteous jealousy because it assumes the item for which you are jealous rightly belongs to you.  If you are in possession of something that rightly belongs to someone else, then desiring to retain possession of it isn’t jealousy, it is coveting and theft.

All of this is based on the item being held as valuable.  No one, in their right mind, would covet or be jealous of a rock.  It is immaterial, without value.  But if the rock is a gemstone, then that changes.

And there in lies the precious gift of God’s jealousy for us.  Everything belongs to God.  He created the entire universe.  All matter, anti-matter, time and space belong to God.  But God looks at you and me, a collection of molecules and synapses, carbon and water, and He sees a precious gemstone.  Every soul born as a human belonged to God before life entered their cells, even the free will that enables us to choose to turn away from God is from God, and He is jealous for us.

What an amazing blessing.  You are a thing of beauty, of great wealth, precious, desired, something that God, who has everything, wants to possess because you rightly belong to Him.  God is jealous for you!  That should make your face shine with some radiance!

Write that fact on your mirror and look at it in the morning!

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
They had been forgiven for their wickedness and for breaking their covenant and commitment to do everything God had commanded

b.
I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.

c.
Through the children I have helped teach.  Through their ministry.

11.
a.
“A strong feeling of possessiveness, often caused by the possibility that something which belongs, or ought to belong, to one is about to be taken away.”  Everything belongs to God, help comes from Him alone

b.
All of this is a prophecy and foreshadowing of the sins they would be tempted to commit in the future.

12.
a.
He was with God

b.
Because he had spoken with the Lord

c.
my face, heart and hands, my voice. my writing and actions all reflect God’s glory – (still a work in progress)

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