Choose The Presence
By Tobin Crenshaw
In the Old Testament we are told when Moses received the Ten Commandments there was a tremendous display of God's presence. Exodus tells us, "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not" (Exodus 20:18-20)â.
The children of Israel had seen miracles as they were delivered from Egypt, they saw the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, but when it came to the presence of God they asked Moses to intercede for them.
Ronald Crandall well states, "We need to qualify what church we want to be a part of... The church of the wilderness experience or the church of the mountain experience. They were comfortable with His miracles but uncomfortable with his presence."
The challenge has always been the same. We want to experience the good things in life, but that is different than saying we want to experience the presence of God.
In the Book of Judges a familiar character, Gideon, has an experience with God. God calls him to lead an army. Gideon tests God by saying that in the morning if God wants him to lead this army then give him a sign. The sign is given, but Gideon says he is still not convinced of God's call and asks for a second sign. He is given a second sign, and then were are told he does what God wants him to do, including removing false idols from the town, but "because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime" (Judges 6:25-27).
Therein is the second challenge, our concern for what other people might think about our faith journey, and our fear they will reject us because we are too committed.
But that is the call for us, to move to the mountain, to be in God's presence, regardless of what others may say or do. When we are faithful, whether the crowds are or not, we leave a legacy like no other.
Such was the case of Dan, as told by author Lee Ross. Dan was a pastor who was dying. In the hospital he asked his lifelong friend Bob, to visit. He spoke long and hard with Bob about the gospel message. Before leaving the hospital, Bob had placed his faith in Christ. But Dan asked one more thing, he wanted Bob's story to inspire others, so he asked Bob to be baptized at his funeral.
That is the legacy of choosing the mountain, choosing the presence of God over fear and public opinion. So choose the mountain, choose the presence, and live with passion this journey of faith.
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