Encounters with God are intended to radically alter our lives. When we allow change to happen, they can become transformational experiences.
In Exodus 24, God issues a very special invitation: Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the LORD; the others must not come near” (vv. 1-2). In verses 9-11, we read that they “went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank” (NLT).
This had to be a life-altering experience for them. Later when Moses still had not come down from Mt. Sinai, the people gathered around Aaron and demanded that gods be made for them, to give them leadership (Exodus 32:1-2). Sadly, there’s no record of the leaders of Israel standing up to oppose the people, to keep them from sinning. The worship experience had been given by God to transform these men into true leaders, not just men with titles.
Before we harshly judge these men, we must acknowledge that this can be as true for us today as it was for them. God gives us potentially transformational experiences and we, at times, do not allow them to transform us.
We walk away from the mountain, as it were, thinking about our great experience with God, and soon turn our thoughts to, “What’s for lunch?” or “What’s so-and-so doing after church?”
We can become experience junkies, moving from one God-event to the next, looking for bigger and better happenings. Yet, when the high of the experience is over, we are not satisfied.
We must allow experiences with God to transform us into His image. We need to be drawn closer to the Lord and to do the work of the ministry that He has called us to do. This is where we all find true satisfaction in the Lord.
We do this by asking the Lord, “What is Your purpose for us having this experience?” Then, we need to meditate on that purpose. Finally, we must ask the Lord to help us and allow the transformation to take place in our lives.
The Lord Jesus has chosen each of us to be His own. He wants to transform us into a royal priesthood—a holy nation—that we might, in turn, transform the world for His glory.
Streams in the Desert – January 30
- 202230 Jan
I will be as the dew unto Israel (Hosea 14:5).
The dew is a source of freshness. It is nature’s provision for renewing the face of the earth. It falls at night, and without it the vegetation would die. It is this great value of the dew which is so often recognized in the Scriptures. It is used as the symbol of spiritual refreshing. Just as nature is bathed in dew, so the Lord renews His people. In Titus 3:5 the same thought of spiritual refreshing is connected with the ministry of the Holy Ghost–“renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Many Christian workers do not recognize the importance of the heavenly dew in their lives, and as a result they lack freshness and vigor. Their spirits are drooping for lack of dew.
Beloved fellow-worker, you recognize the folly of a laboring man attempting to do his day’s work without eating. Do you recognize the folly of a servant of God attempting to minister without eating of the heavenly manna? Nor will it suffice to have spiritual nourishment occasionally. Every day you must receive the renewing of the Holy Ghost. You know when your whole being is pulsating with the vigor and freshness of Divine life and when you feel jaded and worn. Quietness and absorption bring the dew. At night when the leaf and blade are still, the vegetable pores are open to receive the refreshing and invigorating bath; so spiritual dew comes from quiet lingering in the Master’s presence. Get still before Him. Haste will prevent your receiving the dew. Wait before God until you feel saturated with His presence; then go forth to your next duty with the conscious freshness and vigor of Christ.
Dew will never gather while there is either heat or wind. The temperature must fall, and the wind cease, and the air come to a point of coolness and rest–absolute rest, so to speak–before it can yield up its invisible particles of moisture to bedew either herb or flower. So the grace of God does not come forth to rest the soul of man until the still point is fairly and fully reached.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease:
Take from our souls the strain and stress;
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Sunday Reflection: Just a Little Patience
The Bible shows us that if we wait on God, He will act for us.
To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.
Think back to when you were a child. One word you likely detested hearing was wait. It’s a difficult thing, being patient—especially when it keeps you from something you deeply desire. But your parents had a reason for making you wait (Matt. 7:9-11).
Whatever we felt as children, it’s safe to say that in adulthood the stakes are often higher. We might be waiting for healing, a life-altering opportunity, or the return of a prodigal. Whatever we long for, the Bible tells us God “acts in behalf of one who waits for Him” (Isa. 64:4). Think of Mary and Martha in John 11, waiting for Jesus to rescue their brother Lazarus from illness. No matter how long the delay, the Lord is working in our best interest, even when there’s no visible evidence. In the end, it’s what He wants for us that matters—nothing short of resurrection.
Think about it
• Are there any areas in your life where your impatience is causing a problem? Are there areas in which you find it easier to be patient? List the ways that waiting is a strength or weakness for you, and form a prayer asking God to help you grow.
“When he was in distress, he appeased the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers … [God] was moved by him and heard his pleading … Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God.” – 2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NASB
Just twelve when he became king of Judah, Manasseh’s reign was dominated by wickedness. He worshiped false gods and even practiced witchcraft, encouraging this ungodly behavior among his people. God warned him about the consequences of his actions, but Manasseh paid no attention.
Then Manasseh was taken to Babylon, bound with chains. While he was in exile, something remarkable happened! He “humbled himself greatly” before God, who answered his prayer of repentance. Manasseh’s eyes were opened to the impact of his mistakes. He realized the importance of living according to God’s Word. He was given a second chance when he was returned to Jerusalem. This time he sought to serve God.
What an amazing turnaround! Despite the evil Manasseh had done in the past, God was moved by his genuine repentance and humility.
As Manasseh’s life demonstrates, God has given us His Word. He promises us blessings if we obey, but He warns there are consequences if we live in sin. We always reap what we sow. But this story also demonstrates that God can change any life – even a person as wicked as Manasseh.
This turnaround is possible even for people dominated by evil who live ungodly lives. He can turn around any situation and the life of any person who repents and calls on Him.
Do you know someone living far from God? Who needs to change? Commit them to God and pray for a turnaround. Have faith!