Hunger for the presence of God
A vision of God
A vision of God
I remember when I was born again, and I was reminiscing in a sense about the days when I was first born again. And I started to remember about what happened in the past about when I first came to Jesus about what it was like. And I remember what happened, I remember my life before Jesus and I remember just before I got born again I remembered this overwhelming sense of just seeking after God. See for years I've been searching for truth in all sorts of places I'd been into ufology, ghosts, even into the blatant witchcraft et cetera. But I wasn't into those things because I was anti-God I was into those things because I was pro-truth and I wanted to know what the truth was so when I started to seek God just before I got born again I remembered the intensity and the passion with which I sought God because this I knew within me somehow innately was the truth and I knew that I had to seek him, in whatever form at that stage I didn't understand about the reality of who Jesus was, all I knew is that I needed God and I sought God with all my heart with all my mind with recounts of strength that I had within me. And an amazing thing happened, I met Jesus, and a brand-new life began.
And even after I got born again even after I found this eternal life I remembered the passion remember the hunger the hunger which drove me to seek him and only him. It wasn't for me about doctrine, it wasn't for me about theology, it wasn't for me even about life itself, it was about him and it was about someone who had discovered that there was a real God and this real God wanted a relationship with me and I wanted to pursue him until I found him. And that was driven by my hunger.
Then something happened, somewhere along the way, because of the pressures of life, because of trials, and over and above all because my own sinfulness, that hunger that had driven me into a great relationship with God that hunger that had positioned me in a place where I just loved him, where I just wanted him and nothing else, bit by bit, moment by moment, line by line, the passion that once drove me, the hunger that pushed me forward into seeking my God and my Lord started to evaporate.
I got to the point where once upon a time I had no problem with praying, I would pray about everything and I would give everything to him I had no problem about reading the scriptures I read the scriptures continually unite pray over them in I'd no problem about worshiping him, I loved to worship him I love being called into that place not because I was seeking an experience but because I was seeking a God, I wanted to meet God I wanted an encounter with the living God not just once or twice here and there every single moment of every single day I wanted this encounter with this living God.
But eventually this desire in me started to die, the flame that had burned so brightly have begun to lose its intensity until eventually is nothing more but a mere spark. I still desired God to a certain degree, but that over riding hunger that had driven me was no longer there.
And I would talk to people about this, I was so frustrated by my hunger, because I knew that I'd be so hungry once upon a time and I was afraid is afraid I was losing this hunger I was afraid. And people would say to me well you know the honeymoon is over don't you? You know it can't be wonderful all the time. And instead of seeking the mind of Christ instead of seeking God's word over the answer so I sought about this problem I started listening to everyone else around me older Christians, not that this anything wrong with listening to older Christians you knew Christians need to listen to older Christians but you need to take what they say to you when you need to go back to the scriptures the test what they say to you and to see if they what they say to you is correct. Even what I'm teaching you here now per day, even in this moment you need to understand that I am fallible and that you need to go back to the scriptures to test everything that I say to you.
But the problem was I didn't test what people were saying to me with the scriptures I listened and I just took in what they said and I thought that must be the way it is because everyone seems at the same experience, maybe I'll never get this hunger back again and maybe I need to learn to be satisfied with no hunger.
Beloveds, I'm here to tell you today that I was wrong I'm here to tell you today that not only does God want you to be hungry for him, but he also wants you have an encounter with him. I'm not talking about goosebumps, I'm not talking about crawling on the floor all or falling backwards or anything like that I'm talking about an encounter with the living God where you come into his presence where it is his presence and where he reveals his character to you.
Turn with me...
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
Here we have Moses, was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt he battled one thing after another he's had one complaint after another. Moses has had a handful know one of the Bible calls in the most meek man on the earth yet almost 1 million people grumbling complaining and carrying on, and those who didn't complain you can count on one hand, even at some point those who did complain (Aaron and Miriam) eventually did cave in and did complain about the fact that Moses had been exalted to a leadership position that they hadn't.
You want to talk about pressure, you want to talk about hard times, you want to talk about struggling in this world with all of its trials and its temptations and its snares and everything else that comes with it look at Moses everything that he had deal with.
This is the same Moses who performed this had had a experience with God,, the same Moses who stood on a mountain and saw the flame the angel of God the burning bush the miracles the plagues everything else at that he had seen all these wonderful miracles of body at this wonderful encounter with God. And this is true of all the great men of God have always had these wonderful encounters with God these very powerful encounters with God. And Moses had gone through all the all this pain all these trials these temptations all the snares everything else that would appal down probably the vast majority of many live on planet Earth and he still maintained this one thing. He maintained his hunger for God he didn't want anything else and if at look at what he says he here.
Verse 15, and he said to him "if your presence will not go with me to not bring us up from here"
Here's Moses he's had his honeymoon experience he had all of these things the burning bush the plagues everything he had his honeymoon experience and he still hungers for the presence of God he saying I am not going anywhere unless you're coming with me I want your presence and I want your present here now and if your presence is not going to go over there I don't want to go there because I'm hungry for you I want you and I know that in your presence there is protection this safety is all these wonderful things so I'm not moving anywhere I want to be where you are.
This whole thing about well it's only a honeymoon experience but one day you will be as dead as we are. Can't live in God's presence all the time you can't have God's presence all the time. I disagree. I disagree because that is not what the scripture teaches do we go through wilderness times do we go through wilderness experiences yes we do we always go to wilderness experiences because God wants us to grow up, yes there is a timely God just you pray a prayer and bang sense and pray another parent bang at censored that does exist but that's not meant to end. Even in the wilderness with the children of Israel were Moses could still say this to God God where in the wilderness right now and you want us to go even further in the wilderness which is fine but unless your presence goes with us unless you go with us we ate moving. It's supposed to be the presence of God that is supposed to protect you and sustain you and guide you in the wilderness in fact the problem was with the children of Israel that so busy worrying about what they didn't have they didn't focus on what they did have any they knew what they did have the note would be complaining about what they didn't have.
They were complaining about we have bn at the waterhole we had garlic in Egypt's wonderful garlic you're complaining about garlic and bread and water and the presence of the living God is right there manifested right in front of your eyes and you're worried about all those other things is on a little bit of familiarity in this concept doesn't Jesus say seek first the kingdom of heaven on this righteousness and all these things all these things one of these things the worries of the world that the riches everything else that all that stuff will follow if you follow and pursue the kingdom. Every single Israelite there had access to God do you realise that. There was a tent of meeting every single shoe every single one of those who were wandering around the desert had access to the manifest presence of God and instead of going to the manifest presence of God they chose to dwell on the outskirts.
But Moses didn't on the outskirts, and that is precisely why he was able to be sustained in the wilderness experience. The wilderness experience is supposed to do this it is supposed to break you it is supposed to take you to the limitations of the physical realm around you so that you learn to cry out to God to meet all of your needs and to be everything to you that is what when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness with Satan tried to tempt him what he was saying is that no no no I'm not giving in to your temptations I'm going to trust my God I'm not gonna be sustained by the things of the flesh in the world I'm going to be sustained by my father. And Jesus also said this he said my father is always with me.
It is absolutely true that the father was always with him that was absolutely true except for one moment, and that was the moment on the cross when Jesus cried out
My God my God why have you forsaken me?
Do you know what that question tells us? That question tells us that Jesus knew when the father had forsaken him. Which means that a fall that time he also knew that his father was with him there was an understanding it was a knowledge there was a reality that he was living in that transcendent simple intellectualism and was found here my father is always with me, my father is always with me.
Jesus lived in the very presence of his father and you know what Jesus calls us to live in his presence in exactly the same way he lived in this father's presence.
Turn with me to...
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.
even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
So let's go back to Moses. So he was this Moses who had lived in the presence of God he had seen the presence of God it seemed God to great miracles it seen all of this and he saying to God God you want to go over there and it's fine but I want another presence is gonna go with us I want your presence to come with this I want your presents because I understand with your presence is there is security this piece is love with joy has all these wonderful things, but then Moses says something else this he says this verse 18 Moses said "please show me your glory"
Moses was not happy just with the presence of God just with the miracles of God just with all of those things he wanted more I want to go right in deep I want to jump in where its deepest I want to see your glory. I'm so hungry for you God they just seen the miracles and everything else like that is not gonna cut the mustard I want to see you I want to see you your personage the reality of who you are that is what the glory of God is the glory of God is the reality of him were it's no longer just about the miracles and it is no longer just about the signs and the wonders it's about him it's about knowing him it's about being hungry for him.
I reflect on all of this I recognise in my own life where I missed it, and where those Christians who told me you know you can't don't expects this reality with God just one of fronts through with faith. All the reality is this were not meant to trudge through this world without his presence where to move through this world's with him. Not just with the provisions that he gives us not just weird seeing the miracles and everything else at that those things are wonderful and the great and they serve a purpose for the unbelievers the unbelievers see miracles of course it's gonna bring them to that point where they have to either accept or reject based on the absolute truth but God wants us to grow up in a sense there is that wilderness and there is that time of separation from God in the reality of his presence but it's not because he doesn't want you to have that presence it's because he wants you to do what seek my face. God does not the parties presents for you from you to keep away from you and to keep you away from him he parked his manifest presence at times because he's like come and find me, search for me with all your heart, I'm testing your heart when the trouble comes in the rubber meets the road and things are happening what are you going to do you get sick my hand or are you gonna seek my face what is the thing that is driving you and I remembered I remembered I remembered back when I first got born again that was all that was important to me the only thing that was important to be was seeking his face that all I cared about adding to about the other stuff in care about the miracles and enteric all good stuff but I didn't care about them I can about him I can about seeing him I can about wanting the reality of hill using this is what Moses is doing right here he son is all this wonderful stuff these are present for the stuff but I want you because nothing else is gonna satisfy me this is the cry of my heart I want you either meet you I have walked with you of had your presence but I want to go deeper and that is what God is calling us to do. God does not want us to stay on the edges God does not want us to stay in the shallow end of the pool he wants us to jump right into the deep.
So this is the reality God wants to bring us into a deeper relationship with him God wants us to seeking and to seek his presence and to seek his glory why is it that he wants us to seek his glory why is it that he wants to seek his presence.
Why seek His glory?
Why seek His glory?
There are a number of reasons why he wants us to seek his glory. He wants us to seek his glory for the following reasons.
1. To see Him for who He really is
1. To see Him for who He really is
The following reasons that I'm gonna give you a are not in any kind of order of preference like a mocha to give you this is the top one on the second one and the third one announced this is the most important and this is the least important all equally important we give you list simply because that's how human beings operate we we categorising is where finite so categorisation is a normal part of our experience.
But the first reason I'm gonna tell you what God wants us to seek his glory is firstly so that we will see him for who he really is. Turn with me to...
So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
In other live in a world today that's a very pluralistic world, one of the most worn out phrases that we have in today's generation is that's my truth and that your truth and you worship God in however you perceive him to be.
For the reality is this is that God is not in whatever form that you decide him to be God's in the reality of who he reveals himself to be an effective said this he said this is eternal life that they may know be and the one that thou hast sent this is eternal life to know God and to know Jesus Christ. That is eternal life. And that's the reason why we come to seek his glory so that we understand who we years we see the reality of who he is.
You see it like this I'm married I have a wife her name is Margaret and I mark together we are Eminem though not a sweet sometimes, and you see Margaret knows me in a way that you don't know me can ever say hallelujah Margaret knows me in a way that you do not know me why because she has intimacy with me she knows the real me she knows that all the warts all the good stuff all the bad stuff she knows the reality of mek the true essence of who I am she understands properly not to the degree that God understands but she understands a lot better than all of you out there because we spent time together because we have built a relationship together.
In the same way God wants you to pursue him and seek his glory and to seek his face to seek the re-up because he wants you to seek the reality of early is not the reality of what Joe blow down the street says that God is everyone's got the ideas of who God is everyone does Jehovah's Witnesses have an idea of who bodies Catholic Church has an idea of who God is Hindus have an idea of who God is more than 7 idea of who God is and even Christian religion as an idea of who God is. So who is right to you who is right the one who seeks the glory of God the one who seeks the reality of who God is and the only way that you can do that Jesus said this I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but by me and if you try going in any other way you're a thief Jesus is the way to the Father and Jesus said this when Philip said show us the Father and that will be enough for you Jesus said this he said have I been so long with you and yet you have not seen the father do you not understand that I and the Father are one in other words he saying if you seen me you seen the father the book of Hebrews says that Jesus Christ is the expression in me of his glory.
If you try to seek to understand God outside of the framework of who Jesus Christ is you have missed the mark but if you try to understand Jesus simply by some sort of intellectual understanding you will never know who were you see you can know about me you can know all the facts and figures about me were that's Mark Bernard and he was born in Camden Hospital in a wintry day in 1972 when all the pubs were shut that's it but that's my son my dad told me it was important to him the attended Saint Joseph's high school at the age of 15 he left home by Bob bye-bye you can know all these details about me but you missed the reality of who I am because you don't spend time with me and so you don't get to see my quote unquote glory the reality of who I am can only be revealed as you pursue me and understand me not saying you do that because you as wonderful as I think I am I have my limitations but the only way you can understand who God is through the pursuit of God there are so many dry and dusty theologian to sit aloft in their ivory towers of knowledge and I have no idea who the father is you look at the Jews back in the day when Jesus walked the earth they all knew about God we have our board are we are the to win all about God we are his children reality is this I'm hearing you don't even know who I am therefore how can you even say that you know who the father is.
The reality is this and I'd to camp on here for the next however long of got left but I have to move on but this is what you need to understand you need to understand that in order to understand who God is you need to seek his glory you need to seek him the reality of who we years and as you do that as you start suppressing to him you will start to understand who we years and when you start understand who we years you can have such great faith because you start knowing his character look at what Moses did he pressed into God and wanted to come back saying that these God whom all the Israelites or law they saw was under a lightning and although afraid but what Moses see the Lord the Lord God for the gracious slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness will by no means clear that guilty visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children are children's children Burton the fourth-generation all of the Israelites for thunder and lightning flashes and they were afraid and want to go when Moses pushed in and he saw the reality of who God is all because he pursued the glory of God all because he pursued the face and not the hand or to go on I could really go on I could really get into the meat of this that it's so important to know who we years old got a kick going.
I want to leave this I don't want leave it but I've got all this other stuff but I wanted to talk about these other realities of why you seek his face but I just really feel that I gotta just push on this one and I only have about 5 minutes left to do it.
Turn with me to...
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Notice what Paul says here. Paul says indeed I can everything is lost for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus and then he said this that I may know him and the power of his resurrection a share in his sufferings becoming like him in his death so that I can attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul wanted to know him there were 2 goals he or 2 parts to the same goal really first it was knowing Christ and then knowing his resurrection power but the knowing comes before the resurrection power Paul wanted to know him just as Moses wanted to know him just as Daniel just David just as all these men of God these profits is holy men of God the thing that distinguish them from everyone else was not because they were more righteous than everyone is not because they were more wholly than everyone the holiness and the righteousness came as a consequence it was not the end goal the end goal was to know God. Not to knowing in some sort of I understand God in an ontological thing but cannot the reality of who God is to understand this because he is the image of the living I want each and when you start to pursue that when you make that your hunger that that cannot be satisfied until you have him the reality of who we use in your life then you will start seeing everything starting to fall into place you may have been a Christian for years and years and years and struggle struggled and struggled why because you're starting from the wrong place because you've lost your hunger for him not for what he can give you not for the religion not for the theology not for the doctrine those things are wonderful we need sound doctrine we need good theology but above all of those things unless you have a hunger for him not for the idea of him but for him for Jesus himself to lay hold of him the reality of him the living Christ he is the God of the living not the dead he is alive right now in heaven is watched by millions of angels he is worshipped by the entire heavenly host they worshipped him and he says I want you to know me you know from the very beginning this was what this was all about you understand that God created man why did God create man because he was bored one day and had nothing to do something, gonna create an entire universe I'm a wide-eyed I am God that's not what he did it God created mankind so that we could live and have this is what all this is I'm gonna finish up soon but I want to read to you one more Scripture
Turn with me...
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
2 9, a look what happened here what was he doing he was walking in the cool of the day in the garden and what's the thing that comes out of his mouth God calls the man and says where are you, of course God knew where he was he was calling out as he was walking where are you I don't have to be here I can be in heaven worshipped by happily host worshipped by all the angels in creation I don't have to be here but here I am of the garden I'm walking here because I want to spend time with you you are my creation but I want to have fellowship and instead of writing to the presence of God they ran from the presence of God in fact it says that they sit themselves from the presence of the Lord God. This is why Jesus has come it says that he has come to bring us back to the Father from this moment here in the garden where we fail to me ran from his presence Jesus says I've taken care of the sin problem so you don't have to run for my presence anymore. This is mean it with carte blanche to go out and sing and it doesn't work like that symbol still affect your relationship with God that Jesus came to take care of the sin problem so that he says the year you don't need to run from my presence anymore you can run straight to my presence because she no longer has the meaning overuse in no longer will separate you from me and if you have seen you confess it to me and I will store you to fellowship with me I could go into so many scripts is with that we call it the name by button rabbit nor whatever but it's the reality it's a reality is this it says before you confess your sentences this if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the holy blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin if we have seen we confess our sins and he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins of the cleanses will mourn righteousness God has called us into fellowship with him to walk with him to talk with him to live with him but it starts with hunger I wanted to go real deep into this whole hunger issue but I kinda feel that this is where I need to go I felt it was started compiling the sermon what God dollar want to go to this direction but is not note this is what you need to do this is what you need to say with a reality uses that God loves you he loves you so much that he sent his only begotten son for you but that scripture doesn't stop there it keeps going this is the combination that men loved darkness rather than might not come as a light but no one wants the light they want the darkness number wants to know me I want to just run away from my presence like anime need it but the new Adam has come and is now given us the power to be able to enter into the presence of God and that's what he wants for you.
So I'm talking to 2 lots of people today there are 2 lots of people and I'm gonna challenge you that today is the day of salvation not tomorrow not next week not next month or next year or next decade because you have no idea when this whole thing started and you have no idea when your life is going to end and God wants you to have that reality with him the reality of that presents the reality of that fellowship with him so that you can know him and when you know him you are going to have so much life some energy so much time so much ability to do the things that he's called you to do so that you can have rewards not in this life there is some reward in this life but your award is there in the next the reality uses that
is more real than this life is way trapped in these bodies we see the physical realm all around us but there is another realm and it's all real than this real than this realm is an God wants you to have rewarding that next role but it all starts with a hunger for his glory.
I said that I'm talking to 2 to groups of people the first group that I'm talking to those who are still outside of Jesus Christ I'm talking to those who don't know Jesus talking to those who have no relationship with Jesus whatsoever you know about him you've heard great theology about him maybe you've heard doctrine about him you may have heard people talking about him but you don't know him you know him you don't walk with him you don't talk with him you don't live in his presence things certainly don't pursue him because you're separated from him by your sin but he is taking care of the sin problem if you will just turn away from the old dead life and turned to this new life your the first group of people talking to if you have never ever ever given your life to Jesus Christ today is the day to do it not so that you can get a whole heap of stuff but so that you now can enter into a relationship with the creator of the universe the one who made you the one who formed you the one you from the foundation of the earth said I love you from the foundation are who already predetermined he knew what was coming down the pipe he knew that mam is gonna a bell and he provided a way for mankind what we were powerless to do God did sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh can then seen in the flesh is destroyed the sin problem and now he says to you I want you to come and I want you to enter into a relationship with me and if you do that on the reveal myself to you on to reveal my glory to you on the show the reality of who I am and all the love and the trust in the hope that you missed out on all those other relationships in the past he said I am going to reveal to you that I am the God who was loving trustworthy just all the things but it starts with a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The second group of people and talking to are those who are Christians those who are discovered the reality of who years those who have I want to pray for you that you will have such a desire again to the presence of God for the reality of who God is that you will pursue him and nothing will stop you at your pursue him and even though you might be in the middle of the wilderness that you will understand that he is with you are not only that you will see his glory even in the midst of the deserts that you won't be looking into the things are missing out on other flash but you'll be looking for nothing that you're missing out on in the spirit realm and that would return to you that that that drive that flame that once purred within you would return