Bible Reference: Exodus 34:23-24
Translation: New International Version (NIV)
Bible Text: 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.
OBSERVATION: This is an interesting meeting Moses had with the Lord. After the last similar meeting, Moses returned to his people, and became so angry at finding them worshiping idols again, that he threw down the stones upon which God had written the Ten Commandments. God had Moses write the Commandments on the stones this time, but He also ordered Moses to gather the men together and meet with Him (God) three times per year while they attended festivals. It sounds like God wants time together with His leaders!
APPLICATION: It is extremely challenging to get men out to church on the weekends, and especially at midweek prayer and Bible study. However, some time ago we were able to take a group from our church to a Bible based, Spirit led, prayer conference for approximately two full days. These days were filled with the Word of God, as Scripture was shared by each participant; songs prompted by the Holy Spirit; and prayer from the heart of each attendee, as prompted by God. No agenda, just waiting before the Lord and obeying the leading of His Holy Spirit. What might seem amazing to many, is that the crowd doubled in size the second year! What a sweet, Holy Ghost filled, time with the Lord! We returned to our church fired up, renewed and ready for the Lord to continue His work in and through us. Being a part of our two days of prayer, helped me to identify with what God was telling Moses to do. I wonder, if your pastor organized a get-away at your church: How many men would sacrifice vacation time to go and spend devoted time with the Lord? How many wives or girlfriends would encourage husbands or boyfriends to please go and participate? How many employers would welcome the time off for employees that they suspect would return and pray for the success of their business? Friends, I wonder how many gods we place before the God of this universe when we can’t find time for church services over the weekend or a discipleship class during the week? We tend to blame it on ‘time’, but perhaps the word ‘priority’ might better explain your shortcoming! Imagine: Lord, please forgive me that I made it a priority to take my family to the beach today/took my wife shopping today/went to have lunch with old friends today; played golf today…. but didn’t make it a priority to take my family to church. Can we, in all good conscience, add to the end of those excuses: ‘but bless me anyway and guide the thoughts of my troubled son/daughter this week’??? Friends, I believe that we are either all for God, or we’re not. I know that we can’t be at every single church gathering, but sincerely before God, we must be ready to answer His question on the priorities of our lives. Please consider taking time away to draw close to God, so that He might draw close to you. I don’t believe that there could be one thing more strengthening for your relationship with God, which will also enrich your relationship with your family and coworkers.
PRAYER: Lord God, please forgive us for the many excuses we come up with regarding our priorities. Too often You are placed at the bottom of the list, or as a last resort. This must be turned around if we ever expect to draw close to You, or encourage/convince an unbeliever. Please give us strength, boldness and self-determination to serve You wholeheartedly and without excuses. You gave up Your life for us, how much more can we do in return? Give Your children boldness and commitment today I sincerely beg of You dear God, AMEN!