Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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8. Worshipping Wrong Gods in The Right Way – Part 1

Exodus 20:1-3 “Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.You must not have any other god but me.”

As we continue in our series “Relationship not Rules” we come to the first commandment, “You must not have any other god but me.” The 10 commandments deal with the two most important issues every person will face, our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. The first four commandments deal with our relationship to God while the last six deal with our relationship with each other. On the surface the first two commandments appear to be the same. But the first deals with worshipping other things in the way we should have been worshipping God, by making them a greater priority than anything else in life. The second deals with worshipping the right God in the wrong way by trying to use things to represent him that are less than He is. Israel’s problematic relationship with God is similar in scope to what we see in our society today. God rarely had first place in their lives, which is the starting point for a healthy relationship with God. God’s first command starts with:

  1. A Proclamation

“I am the Lord.”This is a statement of the reality of God. For centuries scientists and philosophers have tried to ‘establish’ the existence of God. But nowhere does the Bible make an attempt to prove God’s existence. The Bible simply asserts His existence. Genesis 1:1 proclaims, “In the beginning God…” So how is God’s existence known so emphatically without concrete proof?

  1. By Creation.

Psalms 19:1 declares: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” And Romans 1:20 says: For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

We can see the invisible Creatorby looking at His visible creation. Everything in creation bears the stamp ‘made by God.’ This is true regardless of whether you are looking only with your eyes or thru a microscope, or a telescope.When you look through a microscope you can view a single cell, but even though it is tiny in size one single living cell is more complicated than an entire city. Imagine millions of people running to and fro, all the network cables, lights, cars, rats, etc. A city is a complicated place but not as complex as a single cell. Our cells are more intricate and yet there are still those who say it all happened by accident instead of design. With a telescope you can look at the vast universe, where light travels 186,000 miles per second. In comparison the space shuttle was able to fly at up to 17,000 mph, but that is less than 5 miles per second. Light makes it from earth to the moon in 2 seconds, and then in a matter of minutes it passes the inner planets, and in a couple of hours it’s out of our solar system. But how long does it take it to get to the closest star to us? 4 years at that speed! But that’s just one of billions of stars in our galaxy, which is one of billions of known galaxies. Should we believe this just happened by chance? When I look at my watch Its obvious to me that there must have been a designer and a maker. When you look at my house you say there must’ve been a designer and a builder. So too creation cries out and points to its Creator and yet the evolutionist closes their ears. Replacing the truth of the Creator with time and chance. But it’s not just creation that declares the Creator but also the:

  1. Conscience.

Go back as far as you want in human history, and you’ll see that mankind has always had a need to worship. There has never been a people group anywhere in the world, from the jungles of Africa to frozen tundra of the Artic, that was not engaged in some kind of worship. While they may not have been worshiping the true God, they were worshiping something. Why? Because man has a built in need to worship. It’s a universal hunger placed in the human heart by its Creator God. Not only do we have a hunger for food, and water but also for relationship. We have an innate need to worship because God has written it on the wall of every human heart: “There is a God.” Psalms 53:1Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”Those who believe that are atheists and they claim to believe in nothing. But that’s not entirely true, for even the atheist worships something. They just find something else to replace God with. Many become radical environmentalists who worship the world. We all want to have a cause, something bigger than us and often those who say we are killing the planet are actually worshiping the planet! They are doing what Paul said they would do in Romans: worshiping the creation rather than the Creator, Romans 1:25 “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”Some stare at the stars looking to astrology for answers. Or they read their horoscopes looking for direction because they have denied the deity. Even though they don’t want to acknowledge God, they still need something! Maybe a movie star or a rock star or a sports star, because they have rejected the Bright and Morning Star! Their real problem is not in their head, it’s in their heart. “The fool says in their heart.” It’s not a mental problem it’s a moral problem. When you waive off the waitress at the end of your meal saying, ‘no dessert’… you aren’t denying the existence of dessert, just saying no to having it yourself. In truth it’s not God they don’t like as much as having to be accountable to God. The reality is that Atheism is a religion. Not only does it go against the second law of thermodynamics, but it also fails to follow the scientific method which says it has to be observable. As to date no one has observe a species becoming another species. As a religion Atheism has never dispelled fear from a troubled heart. It has never dried the tears of a broken heart. It has never given peace to a tormented heart. And then at the end of their life they die and lie in a casket all dressed up with no place to go [supposedly]. Both creation and conscience cry out to God the question is are you listening?


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7. The Breaking of the 10 Commandments – Part 4

Exodus 33:1-3

The Lord said to Moses, “Get going, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I told them, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ And I will send an angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I did, I would surely destroy you along the way.”

Exodus 33:12-23

12 One day Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ 13 If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.” 14 The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” 15 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” 17 The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” 19 The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. 20 But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. 22 As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

Exodus 34:1-3

Then the Lord told Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed. Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain. No one else may come with you. In fact, no one is to appear anywhere on the mountain. Do not even let the flocks or herds graze near the mountain.”

It’s here on the heels of repentance that we see God’s:

  1. Restoration

Our problem is that we’re too much like Aaron and not enough like Moses. Aaron and Moses were brothers. The same family but different decisions. Unlike Moses Aaron wouldn’t take a stand for God. When the pressure was put on him, he compromised his standards. Instead of standing for God he cowered to the crowd and accommodated their wishes over God’s Will. He did what the people wanted him to do and not what God wanted him to do. What about you, are you following the wants of people or the Will of God? If we are not careful, we will end up with one foot in the church and one in the culture. Moses on the other hand wanted nothing to do with the worship of the golden calf. Why because he was pursuing God’s presence not pleasure. Are you making it about your happiness or your holiness? The truth is holy people are happy people because happiness is a byproduct of holiness. We need to be careful not to chase after the byproduct, happiness, or we will miss the product, holiness. Unlike Aaron Moses doesn’t try to please the people, instead he prayed for the people. He didn’t just interrupt the party he intervened for the people. How much time do you spend praying for people? How much time do you spend in intercessory prayer for your nation? Why do we need to intercede in prayer because we are living in a day an age when most people are hell bent on worshipping their wants over God’s way. Real leadership means to love people enough to intercede on their behalf. Why was Moses in a place to intercede for the people because he had made the goal of His life God. While everyone else was pursuing pleasure, Moses was pursuing God’s presence. Hebrews 11:25-26 says, 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.”Moses was Father focused not folly focused. Instead of pursuing the temporary trinkets he pursued the truth.  So, what was this great reward? We may be tempted to conclude that it was the Promised Land, but it was God’s presence which he first experienced at the burning bush. Moses time wandering in the desert was filled with stress, and people problems but God spoke and told him to go to the promised land, saying that He would send an Angel to guide them to this rich and fertile land but that God himself would not go with them. So how did Moses respond to this place of milk and honey. “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Exodus 33:15. Moses’s reply is mind-boggling. He would rather dwell in the desert with God than live in the luxury and abundance of the promised land deserted by God. What’s more important to you a problem free life or the presence of the Lord of life? Because Moses’s heart was set on God, it directed him to make the best choice even when God offered him a good choice, one which common sense and uncomfortable circumstances dictated he should accept. But Moses’s was pursuing God presence not a problem free place. His highest reward was a relationship with the Redeemer. Is God’s presence your greatest priority? Or is it something lesser, something that seems good but keeps you from seeking intimacy with God? It’s here that we see the grace of God as He invites Moses back to the mountain to write His word on the second set of tablets. Do you need to repent and recalibrate your heart and your life so that, like Moses, you seek the greatest reward and stop settle for substitutes? Are you living for pleasure or living for His presence?