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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1037

Our Need for His Presence
Part One

August 19, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1037 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! I so appreciate the remarks that Brother Ron made at the beginning of the service. I think there’s many of us that have had the same exact sense of what the Lord is seeking from us, and that’s…very similar thoughts have been just…about all I can think about when I think about the Lord, it just comes back to me constantly. And just musing about the service, I had thoughts come to me from all over the Scriptures, but then, actually just to be truthful with you, I sat down and watched the football game last night.

( laughter ).

And kind of felt caught between, since I’m a New England fan, but I also kind of like Tim Tebow. But oh well, that was what it was, Praise God! But anyway, I was just sitting there thinking afterwards, and all of a sudden a scripture I hadn’t even thought of, popped into my mind and it’s in Exodus chapter 33. And it may be just that we can look at that for a little bit and see what the Lord has.

Of course, this was at the time when the Israelites were camped at Mt. Sinai and Moses was certainly having his challenges, to say the least. You know, Moses had grown up, in the Lord’s providence, in Pharaoh’s household and yet had reached a point in his life when all of that didn’t matter besides of being part of what God had instituted and set in motion. He understood…somehow he grasped the heritage that God had given in the Israelites, the promises that had been made to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and that was more real to him than living a life of privilege in Pharaoh’s palace.

Think of all that he could have done—think of the rationalizations he could have made. Boy, are we good at that! Lord, I’ll serve you, but I can do it better here—I can do it better this way or that way. And all we’re doing is really just kind of protecting self and trying to keep control. But somehow, Moses had the sense that that was the choice he needed to make.

You know, that’s the same choice that people have today, isn’t it? Are we gonna take the world or are we gonna have Jesus no matter what comes, no matter what the cost is? And that was a very real issue for him. I mean, you think about living in a palace versus being a slave, and he identified himself with the slaves.

But God knew that even though it was His purpose to deliver them, it wasn’t time, was it? And so He arranged for all of this to happen about 40 years early...and so Moses had to run for his life. He felt like his life was in danger, and so he ran way off in the wilderness, and met and married a shepherd girl, and settled into a life that he figured was it. You know, I did my bit. I’m gone, everything’s in the Lord’s hands. I’m not worried about it, I’m just gonna live and die here…except the Lord had a different plan, didn’t He? He got Moses to the point where he had no self-confidence. How many of you know that’s a good place to be and not a bad place?

( congregational response ).

This world wants to pump up you, and make you think you can do anything, if only you will just believe in yourself. Well folks, that’s not where it’s at.

( congregational amens ).

It’s not that we’re dirt, but it’s that we’re loved of God, and our sufficiency, our strength, everything we need comes from Him, and if we don’t have Him, we don’t have anything.

( congregational response ).

And Moses didn’t understand that at the time, and so he met the Lord at the burning bush and argued with the Lord pretty vociferously—threw up every objection he could think of, as to why the Lord had picked the wrong fellow. But the Lord sent him anyway. You know, Lord, here am I, send my brother.

( laughter ).

That was basically his bottom line there. But, the Lord worked with him and brought them out by a mighty deliverance. It didn’t all happen at once, did it? All he [had] to do was every day just obey the Lord. And the Lord at the perfect time, the perfect way, brought everything to a head, and they didn’t even go out empty, did they? They went out just loaded down with jewels and treasure of every sort. I mean, the Egyptians were so glad to get rid of them at that point, because God had destroyed Egypt over all of this—over the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart.

And of course, remember the story of the account of the Red Sea, and how the Lord brought them to an indefensible place, and then delivered them miraculously, and all the amazing things that God had done! And then they come to Mt. Sinai where God intends to make a covenant with His people. And so Moses goes up on the mountain to meet the Lord and to get the tablets which we know as the Ten Commandments, but there was lot more to it. But that was kind of the essence of the moral law that God had established, basically to teach them His holiness—teach them how they needed a Savior. All of that was the purpose of the Law—I mean, that was the purpose of the Law.

But, Moses is up there, and talk about fasting, he was up there without food, without water, for 40 days. Now that tells me something about what God’s presence can do. You think about God’s power and the presence of God…when you have that, you don’t need anything.

( congregational response ).

You think about the world that’s to come…and Revelation tells us that it doesn’t need the sun. I’ll tell you, God is the Light—He is light. All that we need—everything we could possibly need is in Him. And so there was no problem at all for God sustained Moses for all that time. I’m sure he was…well the Scripture tells us in one place that he came down and his face was aglow for a period of time. Just being in the presence of God makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

And so, Moses has that sense about him, but then he comes down and finds out that the people have gotten tired of waiting, and figured something had happened to him. It was too long, and they were impatient. Of course, we would never be that way. I understand that.

( laughter ).

But they were, and so they figured they better get something else. And of course, it was the mentality, the world view of virtually everybody in that day, that every nation had their gods. You needed to have a god, because everybody else does, and we need somebody with power greater than us to lead us, and tell us what to do. And so, they decided they were gonna make them a god. And they talk Aaron into making a golden calf. They fall down and they worship it. They get up and they dance in heathen revelry.

And then it’s about that time, Moses comes down. And things are not good, to say the least. There’s a slaughter, there’s a plague, there’s all kinds of bad stuff that happens. So, this is kind of the context of where Moses is at, at this point.

In chapter 33, it says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, I will give it to your descendants. I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 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.” (NIV).

That’s some pretty straight talk. Folks, this is a holy God. This is not somebody you mess around with. This is not somebody you compromise with, and you do your thing and somehow have His blessing. This is an ‘all or nothing’ deal with God. And He was looking for that kind of a relationship.

And it says, “When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, Tell the Israelites, You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.”

The Lord has a way sometimes, and boy, does He need to do this with us…bringing us down off our high horse. We are so geared to looking around and measuring ourselves against one another. All you have to do is look in the Scriptures and you see where people have encountered God, and what happens? Whoosh! They fall on their faces, they are absolutely stripped of any self-righteousness, of any confidence in themselves. They understand…oh, they get it then. This is a holy God.

Man, we…you know, I am so glad that there is more to it than that. You know, I referred to the Scripture last week from Isaiah 57:15 where we find out that, yes, God does dwell in a high and holy place, but He also dwells somewhere else, doesn’t He? He dwells with people who are contrite—humble and contrite in their hearts! So, there is a way that we can actually have a relationship with this…not only a relationship, but where we can experience the reality of His presence! And it’s exactly what Ron said. We have nothing without that! Praise God!

So, I don’t wonder that these people, as little as they understood, that wasn’t a good thing to them. Now, it says, “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the tent of meeting. Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses.”

Wow! You think about that. I mean, they’d seen what that cloud meant. That was the Lord’s presence with them. When they were at the Red Sea worried…not worried, they were scared stiff, of the army that was chasing them, what happened? That cloud, that pillar of fire went in between them and the army of the Egyptians, and it was there all night. And it gave light to the Israelites, was darkness to the Egyptians. And they didn’t come anywhere near. Do we need the Lord’s presence?

( congregational response ).

Oh my—oh my. I don’t care what else we have, if we don’t have that, we have nothing. And I believe with all my heart, that’s what God is seeking to embed in our hearts and cause us to really put the focus where it needs to be. But anyway, “Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”

Wow! You know, I believe, maybe not in such an outward way, but I’ll tell you, that’s the relationship I believe God wants to have with every one of His people, where there is a oneness, there is an intimacy where we can actually come into the presence of God. And not just go through a ritual of throwing words into the air and calling it prayer, but I mean, really spending time with Him to the point where we are changed.

And we don’t do all the talking. We do a lot of listening. We do a lot of just coming into His presence. I’ll tell you, coming into the…experiencing, and coming into, and walking in the presence of the Lord, changes everything. It gives us a real look at ourselves, a real look at the world around us. Oh God, give us a hunger for that, above all things.

“Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” Boy I’ll tell you, God was preparing him, wasn’t He? You think about that. That’s where Joshua stayed. You wonder how the Lord…about him being the mighty man that he was to lead the people on into the land…God has a way of preparing.

I see so much to be encouraged about. I see so much to be encouraged about in the younger generation. But I want to just point out what’s been said many times. We, in the older generation, aren’t gonna be here forever. If the Lord tarries, God is going to need to raise up a generation that’s got it, that understands, that has the vision, that understands what God is interested in, and is so committed to that, that it’s not a matter of keeping the tradition alive. We have no traditions that we’re interested in keeping alive. There’s one thing that we need, and that’s the presence—the living presence of God in our midst!

( congregational response ).

If we have that, He can tell us what to do and it’ll be, like we said last night…it’ll be ways that we haven’t necessarily gone before. But oh, if He is in the midst, there is power that can do what needs to be done, and I long for that. I just pray…you know, I say that, and yet I’m sure, I’m not the only one that feels…there’s a whole lot in me that’s naturally kind of fearful of that, and just wants to draw back a little bit and wonder…and you know, there’s a little bit of fear and uncertainty. Where does that come from?

( congregational response ).

Well, unbelief, that’s right. But, you know, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear…” has He? But He’s given us spirit, “…Of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV). Or self-control, I think it says in this translation. But anyway, now Moses is…I guess this took place at the tent of meeting. He’s talking with the Lord and he says, “Moses said 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. 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.” (NIV).

Now get what he’s saying there. He’s not saying, Lord, You’ve put me in charge of this great nation. I need You to exalt me in the eyes of the people. I need a better tent, Lord. I need servants, I need all the natural accoutrements that go with being in a position of power and prestige. He didn’t ask for riches, He didn’t ask for anything that was self-centered. Everything He wanted was…oh God, I want to know Your ways—Your ways, Lord!

What is your objective in life? Is it to improve your ways, or is to learn His ways? And His ways are not something we can add to our ways. It’s not just a better version of us. It’s a whole different way of living and looking at life, and looking at self, and looking at our purpose for being here!

Oh God! Moses had been around enough…been around the Lord enough that he understood it wasn’t in him. He had nothing he could count on here. He had nothing by which he could do what God had called him to do. We are in something that is so supernatural that we…the sooner we get to the point where we are completely empty and helpless before the Lord, but yet confident in Him and His promises and seeking Him, the sooner we do that, the better…you know, that’s the only way we’re gonna be on track. We need the Lord—we need Him with all of our hearts.

But I’ll tell you, this is the kind of a heart God responds to. It’s a heart that comes and says, oh God, I want to know Your ways! Think about what the Scriptures said of the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. It said…they saw My acts, but Moses was different. They never learned My ways! Their heart was always somewhere else! They saw all this great stuff, and when it happened, they could rejoice with the best of them, but they never got it. They never learned…there was always that self-will camped, like a little king, a little monarch, just sitting there clinging to his little kingdom. I will not let go.

Folks, if you won’t let go, you’re gonna die and you’re gonna miss out on everything. There is only one path to Life and that is surrender to this God, and surrender to the provision that He’s made for you, a poor wretched sinner. We sing that song “Amazing grace…that saved a wretch like me.” And to most people that’s just nothing but a folk song. But I’ll tell you, when we ever see Him, all the illusions that we have about ourselves are gone.

( congregational amens ).

You’ll never again look at yourself in the mirror the same way. You’ll understand you’re a wretch. Someone the other night…we talked about a lot of these things the other night at prayer meeting. It was a wonderful gathering. But somebody was referring to a testimony of somebody who had such a revelation of their own unworthiness that they actually reached the point where they could say, hell is too good for me. You can’t say that, except God works. That’s not a formula you can parrot. That was something that was so real to that person. They understood, I need God! I’m a wretch without Him. Oh, I pray that God will do that—only God can do that!

( congregational response ).

We can’t preach sermons that will get that done. We’re gonna have to have the presence of God to convict. You want to know what made the difference with Peter when he was struggling with temptation and denied the Lord…the difference between that and the Day of Pentecost? God was there in power. Peter wasn’t alone. Peter just yielded himself to the power of the Holy Spirit that was there. And when he preached, those words went right straight to the heart.

You know, I remember, and many of you remember Brother Thomas testifying that early in his ministry, the Lord made him aware of the dead condition, generally, relatively speaking—the dead condition of so much religion that he saw. He saw people playing church. He saw people going through the motions, keeping up the traditions, saying the right words, and it just…nothing—no real life.

And he prayed, at one point, and I believe it was a prayer from the heart, Lord, I’d rather have five years of fruitful ministry than 25 years of playing church. You know, I believe God would honor…if we could pray from our hearts, God, I want to be fruitful. I want to be a fruitful Christian. I want us to be a fruitful church. And if that can’t be, God get me out of the way. Take me home, if necessary, if that’s the hindrance, if that’s the holdup. God, we need You!

( congregational response ).

We need Your presence. This world is worth nothing. If all we’re gonna do is come together and say the right words and do the right things, we might as well quit! That’s worthless in the Kingdom of God! We need His presence, and His power, and if we have that, we have everything else!

You can talk about revival, that means His presence! Where does that come from? Where does power come from…all the things, all the blessings? Those are the effects of when God is present. You talk about what Pastor Cymbala was talking about the other night…the love that absolutely breathes life into everything and power into everything…where does that come from? It’s God who is love!

( congregational response ).

I’ll tell you, when His presence is around, we can be what we are not apart from Him. Not through our strength…it’s not that He stands there and inspires us to dig deep, it’s that we just say, oh Lord, I yield to You. Come and be Yourself, but help me just to be an expression of You and not me. Lord, it’s not about me, it’s about You. There’s no such thing as revival and real Christianity apart from this. This is not just the deluxe Christianity, this is real Christianity!

( congregational amens ).

What we see so much of is a poor substitute, counterfeit! Thank God, God’s got a sprinkling of His people! I pray for His church that God will wake us up! Whatever happens anywhere else, we need to be awake! We need to be hungering for God in our midst like we never have before! Without Him, we have nothing! With Him, we have all that we need!

( congregational amens ).

You wonder why people can come in here for years and have strongholds in their lives, and nothing challenges that! All we have to do is have God come down one time and people would be prostrate before Him! And it’s not that we’re looking for some manifestation particularly, but we need Him.

And Moses was understanding that. He was feeling the weight of what God had called him to do. He saw the impossibility of it! My God, teach me Your ways! But what a prayer! Think of Solomon and all that He could have asked for from God. He said, oh God, I’m like a child. I don’t know how to go out or come in. I need wisdom. How can I lead this people, Lord? I need Your wisdom to lead them. God was so pleased with that selfless prayer that was not about Solomon. It was about the people and about his responsibility. I’ll tell you, God’s gonna honor those kinds of prayers that don’t have self at the center. “Teach me your ways so I may know you.”

Think about the hunger that Paul had in his heart. He said, whereas, once, my aim in life was to be the best Pharisee that I could possibly be, now my aim is that I may know Him—that I may know Him! Not know about Him, but know Him! There is a personal contact that’s a real daily living relationship where we get to actually know Him!

We walk in such a shadow-land, so much of the time. We wonder, what’s God will about this…and we’re just sort of…He’s way off there. We don’t know…we look here…you know, God wants to establish a relationship. I believe He can reveal His will. He can minister faith. He can give wisdom and guidance that we’re just struggling to come up with, and we rationalize our way through life, and struggle, and keep Him at a distance—keep Him at a safe distance. Safe for what? Safe for self…let’s be honest. Oh I’ll tell you, God’s heart is reaching out to His people. He sees all that’s wrong with us and He loves us anyway. Isn’t that amazing?

( congregational response ).

Oh God! I just thank God for His mercy. “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways…” Wouldn’t that be a good thing to be praying every single day? “…So I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”

But you know, there’s another dimension to this. So much of Christianity in the west, Christianity in name, so much of it, is about the individual. It’s a very private thing. It’s me and Jesus. I go where I find most meaningful to me. It’s just me and Jesus, this one-on-one relationship, and that’s all. But Moses understood something different, and it’s something we never need to lose sight of. He said, “Remember that this nation is your people.” This was not just about Moses. This was about all of God’s people.

Do you remember what had just happened before this…when the Lord said, get down, your people have corrupted themselves? I don’t remember whether this was before or after…I think it was right before this, but it was in the same context anyway. The Lord told Moses…He said they’ve become corrupt. I’m gonna destroy them. I’ll make a great nation out of you! Well, I have all ideas that was a test to see where his heart was.

It doesn’t say that, I’m reading that in. But in chapter 32, verse 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? 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. 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.”

How many of us would have said, yeah, Lord, I’m righteous and look at that bunch of rebels. Get rid of them. I can do better. Oh no. This was somebody that had such a sense of the purpose of God, the promise of God, where it was all at and the fact that it was to a people.

And later on, it says…I can’t remember the exact Scripture, but it talks about…he even says to the Lord…okay, it’s actually later in that chapter. “Moses went back to the Lord and said, Oh, what a great sin these people have committed!” Verse 31. “They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”

You think about the sense of identity. Lord, I’m gonna live, sink, drown, swim with Your people. It’s not about me. It’s about us! That’s the kind of a people that have that vision that God is going to honor. Folks, if we are committed to us, and the Lord’s presence in us, I’ll tell you, God will honor that.