— Brother Phil Enlow: God will do with His own whatever it takes to bring us to that place where we can say, oh God, I cannot possibly look at me, I cannot possibly begin to think of myself as adequate. But, oh God, the only thing that can possibly make me any different than anybody else on the face of this planet is You, and I want You.
See, this wasn’t just acknowledging a fact. This is, oh God, please come! I’ve got to have You! Do you ever feel that kind of a…almost a desperation? You’ve been in a situation where you just feel so desolate and so weak, you just cry, oh God, help me! By the way, didn’t Jesus do that? Ah! “…Strong crying and tears…” (KJV). He prayed and God heard Him.
You know, I believe with all my heart that’s what God is looking for from a lot of us. We, so easily, get complacent and even proud. And God wants to bring us to this place where He can come and just…He longs to take us in His arms and show us how incredible He is and what His purpose is for our existence! And we’re just so…things are cool, got my life, I know how to handle stuff.
Oh God, we need You! God, we need You! Come, do what only You have the power to do. There are situations that He’s the only one that can fix. And all we can do is just lift up our hands, and say, Lord, help us.
But what an expression of a heart here, that Moses just doesn’t say, come and take care of my problems, help me do my job. He says, show me Your ways. Lord, I want You to continue to be pleased with me and to find my service to You acceptable, but I can’t do that unless You teach me. Oh God, my ways are not right and I need You to deliver me from them. Oh God, come and help me, and bring me up short when I need to be brought up short, Lord, so that I can come.
Oh, I thank God that there’s a place when He does that that we can go. We don’t have to wallow and think we can win Him back by grovelling. We win Him back by confessing and saying, Lord, you see what I am, you see my need. But Lord, Jesus paid it all! Jesus went to the cross in my place.
This thing that I’ve just been wrestling with, this failure, whatever it is, this manifestation of human nature that I’ve encountered, I don’t have to sit here and wallow in that and try to convince You to be merciful to me. You already were merciful at the cross! So, I look away from that, I look to Him and I pin all of my hope in Him and I believe Your promise, that I can stand in your presence, right now, as if I had never sinned.
Do you think we need Him? Oh my, do we need Him! But how merciful, how amazing He is, knowing what we are, that He is willing to come down, right down to where we live, and love us.
So he says, “…teach me your ways so I may know you…” (NIV). There’s this cry! Don’t we hear that from the apostle Paul? Paul wasn’t just interested in correcting his theology. He wanted to know the One that he had encountered on that Damascus Road. Oh God, I want to know You! I want to get close to You. I want to….
I’ll tell you, God is gonna put us in situations where that’s the only answer. Where we’re going to either harden our hearts and push away and pull away or we’re gonna say, oh God, I surrender. God, I come. I need You right now.
I don’t who is here this morning that has that sense of need in your heart. I don’t even know how long this is gonna go on. Somebody else may need to jump in. But, I just had this sense…I mean, you could go all over the scripture with our need of His presence. That’s a given. You could easily write a sermon on that, but the Lord wouldn’t let me, thank God. Because you don’t need a sermon, you need His Word.
“…Teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.” But look what he does next. How easily do we fall into the trap of thinking of our spiritual lives as all about me, and where I’m at, and what I’m experiencing? Do I feel like I’m on solid ground and things are going great and I’m happy, happy, and enjoying your presence?
Is your spiritual life wrapped up in you? Here is Moses praying, not just for himself, God help me, but God remember, this people is Your people! There’s a sense of urgency in praying for others. He’s not just content to say, oh God, I want to know You and I want to have this personal, private little thing…but, oh God, I’m not alone in this.
I’ll tell you, there are needs in our midst and we need to pray. There are needs in our midst that will not be met without the prayers of God’s people. We need to cry out. If you know about something, we need to lay hold of heaven and say, oh God, change the situation. We don’t need to go through a meeting, and walk through our traditions, and hug everybody that we haven’t seen, sing happy songs, hear truth we’re comfortable with, and then go on and feel like…
( snapping fingers ).
Man, that was a wonderful meeting…and nothing has really changed. Moses was looking for some real, something that was going to change the situation. And so how did the Lord answer this prayer? “…Teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
This is the cry of his heart. I don’t think these were casual words. I believe there was a…sense of desperation, don’t you? I mean, put this in the historical context. See what’s going on there. He’s just been on the mountain. He’s come down. The people are already going crazy. They wind up having to kill a bunch of them, and then the Lord said, I ain’t going with you. Now, he’s got to deal with this. Do you think maybe there was just a little bit of that sense of desperation? Oh God, what’s going on here? Oh God come.
And the Lord said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” I believe there are many of us that are in situations in our lives that we’re struggling with, there’s anxiety, there’s fear. But I believe with all my heart there’s a God who longs for us to come to Him, and to come to Him with a sense of urgency, and say, oh God, help me to come, help me to learn from this, help me to come into the center of your heart and your will in this situation!
It may be an internal need! It usually involves that. It may be a situation. It may be a loved one that just needs the Lord. But, oh God, come.
But you know, there has to come a time when we see in Him, Someone who’s not looking for us to qualify ourselves to get our prayers answered. Think about that one. You know, I made that point the other night when we were praying for people and Joel had read something. And you see the people in the first century praying and God answering a prayer, and how easy it is to read something like that, and sort of think that they’re different, there was a purity about them, there was this, there was that. I’m not like that. So, I can’t go to God and expect Him to do stuff.
Do you really, in your heart of hearts, or at least in your mind, do you really think that they were that different from us? Really? Seriously? Which is it? Every single child of God is a sinner saved by grace. These were ordinary people. They probably didn’t know half the stuff God has helped us to understand. But they went to God from their hearts and they cried out and God, in this case, Peter was delivered from prison.
But I believe that God wants us to come on the foundation, not of our ability, not on the foundation of anything that’s in us, but to come and say, oh God, cleanse me. But God, this isn’t just about me. Lord come in power and change hearts and change lives!
Do you really believe God is reluctant, that He’s holding out, or that we haven’t held our mouth right exactly when we prayed that? Or do we have the privilege of coming to Him in faith, knowing the kind of God, knowing that this is the very thing He wants? He’s not mad at us, trying to hold out on us and say…when you get it right.
This is a God who longs to be with His people. He longs for people who want to know Him and want to learn His ways! He knows that we’re not there! He knows everything that’s wrong with us, everything that’s lacking. But He also knows that He has everything that we need, that we have the right to come to Him and expect Him to answer the cries of our hearts.
This isn’t just about Moses. You know, in the Old Testament, God did work through special people. You had prophets, you had priests, you had people that, in a sense, stood between the people and God.
But we are living in a Covenant that has changed all of that! This covenant, the Lord said through the prophets…He looked ahead and said, I’m gonna make a New Covenant. It’s not like the covenant you have now. This is one where everybody’s gonna know me, from the least to the greatest! They will all know me!
Every single person in the Body of Christ is a priest. Every one of us can go to God on behalf of somebody else. Every one of us can come to Him on the basis of the cross, for ourselves, and cry out and say, oh God, I need Your presence right now in my life. I don’t want to do what I’m doing alone. In fact, I’m gonna say like Moses, God, if You don’t go with me, don’t make me go. I ain’t going.
I pray the Lord will answer this prayer, but I have prayed that many times about ministry. God, if You’re not gonna get up here, if You’re not gonna minister, don’t ask me to preach. I don’t have any special need to be up here. I would have gladly have sat there this morning and listened to someone else. That’s the truth. I argued with the Lord about it. Do you ever do that?
( laughter ).
Do you ever argue with the Lord? And He just keeps very patiently, making it evident that this is where you’re supposed to be, this is where you’re supposed to go. And you say, all right Lord, it’s on You. But you know, that’s what He wants. He doesn’t want us to have this kind of reluctant relationship with Him. He wants us to get to where we know His ways and we’re willing to stretch forth our hands, like He told Peter. “…When you are old…” when you’re more mature, “…you will stretch out your hands…” Another will gird you and carry you, where?
( congregational response )
“…Where you do not want to go.”
( laughing ).
Because if we went the way our human nature would take us, it wouldn’t be God’s way. But I’ll tell you, God calls us out of the path that the world is walking, He calls us to be somebody different. But what is it that makes us different? We have better traditions? We have a better history? We have better, what? There’s only one possible factor that could make us any different than anybody else in the world, and that’s when He’s here.
Do you think maybe we need to be crying out? Or should we just perhaps assume? Don’t we do that a lot? We just come and do the same things we’ve been doing and assume He’s going to show up? And how merciful He is.
But there is no substitute for a heart that reaches out and says, oh God, without You I can’t do anything. And I don’t want to be without You, Lord. I feel my need. I feel the desolation of my situation. You have allowed this, Lord, so I can know that I’m in need. It’s Your love that’s shown me my need, because You long to be the One to come and to fill it.
What an awesome promise that the Lord gave him. He just told him, I ain’t going with you. Now he says, “…My Presence will go with you….” He looked for a man out of that whole nation that really wanted to know Him.
You know, is it any wonder that David wrote in one of the Psalms, “He made known his ways to Moses…” But His acts, “…his deeds to the people of Israel”? They never understood His ways, remember that? It says that in the scriptures. The Israelites as a whole never understood what was going on. They never learned His ways.
And you think about what Moses was facing. He knew, he knew he had a bunch of people that just…here’s God who said, I’m not going with you, and we’re on our own, and we’re in a bunch of nations that have these supernatural powers! It’s not just that they’re giants, or they’re this or they’re that, but…we’re hopelessly surrounded by powers that are greater than we are. Does that not apply to us today? You and I live in a world that is rapidly being overtaken by darkness.
( congregational amens ).
And the spirit of the age will do everything in its power to bring us to a place where we just rock along, and don’t have this deep sense of, oh God, we’ve got to have Your presence! Lord, we will not…we won’t even come together if You don’t show up. We’re not interested in playing church. We’re not interested in anything except Your presence.
I don’t know what else to say…but do you not see what Moses’ heart was and how God brought him to that place and how this simple promise, “…My Presence will go with you, and I will give you…” What?
( congregational response ).
Oh, how many of you are candidates for some rest in your heart and your spirit this morning? Has He not promised “Take my yoke…learn from me…”? The same sense of the stuff I don’t know, I don’t know how to live. “…Learn from me…” And…I’ll give you rest. “Take my yoke…and learn from me…and you will find rest for your souls.”
There are two different things there. But I don’t know, I just feel like coming into a meeting we need the Lord in a way we perhaps haven’t. I’m so thankful for things that happened 50 plus years ago. That’s great! That was then. What about now? Do we not need the Lord now, to invade lives and to change hearts and change lives?
Are we just gonna come and say, that was wonderful, that’s great truth? You’re reiterating all the stuff that we know and we were encouraged by it. That’s wonderful! We need more than that. That’s the danger. You can go on in that kind of a form, and all it becomes is a dead form and the Lord’s not in it.
( congregational amens ).
We need Him! Do you sense that at all?
( congregational response ).
We need to cry out to the Lord. I don’t know what else to say. It may be just that we need to stop and pray, and ask the Lord to help us to pray, so it’s not just a little form we go through. Ask the Lord to bring something to your own needs to your mind. Ask Him to bring the needs for somebody that you’re concerned about…that God will just go before and break up soil and do whatever it takes to change someone’s heart and someone’s life.
How else is it gonna happen? Do we just come and think, oh, there’s anointed preaching here, it’ll take care of everything? That’s not how the Kingdom of God works! God works through every member, and prayer is the undergirding force that releases God’s power to actually work.
So, praise God! I’m thankful the Lord has just let me ramble on this morning. But, that’s all right. I believe there’s a burden. It’s not information you need today. It’s not information I need. These are the things we know. We need Him! But do you think if we ask Him, He’ll actually answer? Do we have to qualify ourselves or has Jesus already qualified us? So, what does the scripture say? “…Ye have not, because ye ask not.” (KJV). Well, how about let’s ask?