DO YOU COUNT FOR GOD?
Pastor Mark Nysewander
JUST ONE DISTRACTION CAN UNDO US
Do you count for God? Most of us start out with good intentions to count for God but the distractions of life (many of these are good things) come at us and it becomes hard for us to persevere for God's purposes. If anyone had reason to be overwhelmed by distractions it was Moses. Here is a man that had between one to two million people (population of Atlanta) to take care of. He had to liberate them from slavery, move them through a desert for 40 years, govern them, feed them, get them water (it would take train loads daily to meet their needs) and turn them to God.
Moses not only persevered through all these important distractions but counted for God as much or more than anyone in history. Yet, we can have just one distraction come into our life and so overwhelm us that we give up on counting for God. So how did Moses persevere through countless distraction in such a way that he counted for God?
PERSEVERANCE OF MOSES, BECAUSE HE SAW HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE!
The answer is found in Hebrews 11:27, "He (Moses) persevered because he saw Him who is invisible." This doesn't mean that Moses had a one time experience with God. No. Read the account. Moses continually sought the glory of God. Whether it was at the burning bush, 40 days lost in God on a mountain, wrapped in the beauty of God's glory in the Tent of Meeting or providing a place for God's glory in the camp of Israel. Here me! Moses was a man of God's glory. His greatest desire was to know God.
WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE OF GOD'S GLORY TODAY? WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO LIVES COUNT FOR GOD? WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DESIRE THE GLORY OF GOD MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN LIFE?
BECOME A MAN OR WOMAN OF GOD'S GLORY
Do you want to count for God? Then become a man or woman of God's glory. I want to show you how the glory of God overcame three of the greatest distraction in Moses' life that would have kept him from being a history maker. Only the glory of God can help you persevere through these same distractions in your life.
1)The children of Israel had just made the golden calf and entered into idolatry and immorality. God is furious. We pick up on the mountain where Moses has been in the glory of God, fasting for forty days. God tells Moses what is going on in the camp and then announces what He is going to do:
I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation. Exodus 32:9-10
So God is saying, "I'm going to destroy all of them and start over again. And I pick you, Moses, to be the father of a new nation that I am beginning."
GOD'S PROMOTION OR SELF PROMOTION?
Now, at this point Moses was faced with a decision. He could accept God's promotion to become the father of a new nation. He could choose for self promotion by just agreeing with God's judgment to destroy Israel.
Or Moses could enter the very costly battle of intercession to change the heart of God from judgment to mercy. You see in the OT if a people sinned there were 3 options left for God. If the people repented, God could forgive them. If they didn't repent, God would judge them. Or if they didn't repent there was a loophole. If they didn't repent but an intercessor paid the price in prayer, God could still show mercy.
So does Moses choose for self promotion or for the cost of intercession?
11. But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?"
You see, Moses goes for the loophole and begins to intercede for God's mercy toward the people. Why?
THE GLORY OF GOD!
He has just spent 40 days in the dazzling glory of God. He is concerned about how this beauty and holiness of God would be slandered by the Egyptians who would misinterpret God's judgment against sin. 12 Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. He is also concerned that the descendents of Abraham would never know the glory that God promised to their ancestors.
13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.' "
Moses was more concerned about the glory of God than the distraction of being promoted to be the father of a new nation.
MOSES CHOOSES THE GLORY OF GOD, NOT SELF-PROMOTION
If self-promotion is the greatest standard for why you live your life, it will eventually distract you from counting for God. Self-promotion is not a bad thing but when the choice is between the glory of God and self promotion and you choose self promotion, you will never become a history maker. People who count for God choose the glory of God even when it cost them promotion. Maybe you think, "Mark, how can I live like that."
Listen carefully. Moses chooses the glory of God because he is always experiencing God's glory. The beauty and majesty of God's presence glowing in Moses' life made it easy for him to choose for God. You will not continually choose for God's glory unless you continually experience God's glory. Self promotion will distract you if you are not a man or woman of the glory.
2)Moses goes down and deals forcefully with the rebellion among the people. Then he goes back to the Lord in intercession. This time God tells Moses that he has heard his intercession and will not destroy the children of Israel. He explains to Moses in Chapter 33:2,
I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way."
God says to Moses.
"I will not destroy them but I will not go with them. I'll send my angel with them and they will take the Promised Land. Moses, you will be successful. You will settle the people in the promised land."
I AM NOT GOING IN WITHOUT YOU!
Now at this point Moses is faced with another decision. He can accept God's answer to his prayer to spare the people and send them into the Promised Land. God is promising to Moses everything for success: victory over enemies, the land, abundance and provision.
But Moses has the audacity to refuse God's answer. This is what he says to the Lord. "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people." Listen to him. He is saying, "I'm not going in without you. I don't care what you promise us. I want you to teach me your ways, not some nameless angel. I want to know your presence."
Moses had the choice between the glory of God and personal success. He chooses the glory of God. If personal success is the standard for your life you will not be a history maker. Because you will settle for success instead of the glory of God. If success is the standard for our church we will not count for God. Our only standard should be the glory of God.
GOD, DON'T GIVE US SUCCESS IF IT MEANS THE ABSENCE OF YOUR GLORY. WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN PROGRAMS, CELL GROUPS, BUILDINGS, BIBLE STUDIES, ATTENDANCE, PRAYER MEETINGS, AND PROPERTY IF WE CAN'T HAVE YOUR GLORY.
WE WILL HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE GLORY ONLY IF WE FOUND THE EXPERIENCE OF HIS GLORY
Moses chose the glory of God because he was experiencing the glory of God right then in the Tent of meetings. The power to choose for God's glory is only found in the experience of his glory. He was in the beauty and power of the living God. Only as you continue to seek his presence will you choose against personal success for the glory of God.
3)After Moses' plea for God to go with him, we read in Exodus 33, 14
The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." God says, "OK, Moses, I like you and I will go in with you."
Notice he doesn't say anything about the people. He is willing to go into the Promised Land with Moses but he leaves out the people.
MOSES DOES NOT CHOOSE TO GO ALONE WITH GOD INTO THE PROMISED LAND
Again, Moses is faced with a decision. He can choose to go with God alone into the Promised Land. He can choose personal enjoyment of God and his glory. This is the very thing he wanted and God is giving it to him.
But that is not what he chooses. Again he goes into intercession and says to the Lord, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."
16 "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?" First Moses prays "I'm not going in without you."
HE WANTS EVERYONE TO GO IN TOGETHER!
Now he says to God, "I'm not going in without them." It is not enough for Moses that the people are saved from destruction. It is not enough for Moses that God would send them into the Promised Land without his presence. It is not enough for Moses that God would go into the Promised Land just with Moses. He wants everyone to go in together. Why would he pray this prayer?
For the glory of God. Moses is saying, "This is not about my personal, private enjoyment. Your beauty and majesty is too great for me alone to experience. I want others to experience it. I want my family and friends to know the joy of being with you."
If your private enjoyment is the ultimate standard for your life you will not count for God. Because there will be times when your enjoyments can distract you from the greater experience of God's glory. Only a person of the glory will choose against personal enjoyment for God's glory to be known by others.
TURNING GOD'S HEART TO MERCY INSTEAD OF JUDGMENT
How did Moses choose this way? He chooses for God's glory by experiencing God's glory. In the presence of God he is thinking, "I want to do everything I can so that others can know what I know."
17 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."
Moses counted for God in this intercession and turned God's heart toward mercy instead of judgment.
Now, notice what Moses does after this. Does he go down to the people and announce his successful round of intercession to the people? Does he go to get some food since he has done two 40 day fasts? Does he take a nap? Does he catch the news on TV?
NOW, SHOW ME YOUR GLORY!
No. Look at his next request.
18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
Do you see it? He is a man of the glory. He has to have more. It is not enough that he has been in his glory in the past. God give us a holy dissatisfaction like Moses for more of your glory.
This request of Moses is met by the Lord with such a blast of God's glory that the face of Moses reflects this glory. It is so intense and awesome, the people are afraid to look at him.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. Exodus 34:29-30
Moses hunger for God's glory took him into greater and greater experiences of his presence. Now I can hear some of you thinking, "Yes but that was Moses. He had unusual access to the glory of the Lord. But I am not like Moses. I don't have a burning bush in my back yard. I don't see a cloud of glory on Kennesaw Mountain. There is so pillar of fire over the Union Hall. I don't have the access that Moses had to the glory of God."
WE HAVE A BETTER ACCESS THAN MOSES!
Let me be the first to agree with you. You don't have the access that Moses had to the glory of God. YOU HAVE BETTER ACCESS THAN ANYTHING MOSES KNEW. Listen to the words of Paul:
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:7-13 and 16-18
WE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT!
No. You don't have the burning bush, the cloud on the mountain, the pillar of fire. But you have the Holy Spirit who gives you direct access into the presence of the Lord through the redemption of Jesus Christ. It isn't that you don't have better access. The issue is: are you taking advantage of the access God has given you?
You can have as much of the glory of the Lord as you want. HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT? HOW DISSASTIFIED ARE YOU FOR HIS PRESENCE? ARE YOU A MAN OR WOMAN OF THE GLORY? Listen to these words of an early church father.
While we are being strengthened in Christ Jesus and beginning to move forward in steadfast watchfulness, He at first appears in our intellect like a torch which, carried in the hand of the intellect, guides us along the tracks of the mind; then He appears like a full moon, circling the heart's firmament; then He appears to us like the sun, radiating justice, clearly revealing Himself in the full light of spiritual vision. St Hesychios
THE MORE YOU GO FOR HIS GLORY...
Do you have a torch, the moon or the sun? Some of you simply have a flickering candle that hardly affects your life. The more you go for his glory the more the glory increases in your life. Don't let a day go by until you have sought after God's glory in your heart. If you experience his glory you will choose for his glory. And if you choose for his glory you will count for God.
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