“and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.“ – Exodus 24:10 NASB
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 of the elders of Israel got to SEE God! And they lived to talk about it. What an amazing day that must have been. Can you imagine the thrill these guys had to be able to say that they had seen God Himself? “And though Israel’s leaders saw God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they shared a meal together in God’s presence!” (Exodus 24:11 NLT). They got to have a feast right there in the presence of God Almighty. What a day!
But what about me? What about you? Do we get to see God? Is there ever a time when we get to eat and drink in the very presence of God Almighty? I had to think about that one this morning. My immediate response is “No!” I cannot recall a time when I saw anything like what Moses and his companions saw. I have also never had the experience Moses would have just a few days later when he was invited by God to the top of the mountain. “The Israelites at the foot of the mountain saw an awesome sight. The awesome glory of the LORD on the mountaintop looked like a devouring fire. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:17-18 NLT). Yet I had to ask myself if I had ever been in the presence of God. Had I ever seen God face to face. No, I have never had quite the same experience that Moses had. No, I have never seen God’s image or His glory like an all-consuming fire on the top of a mountain, but I have seen God. I have seen Him all around me. But the times have been few and far between. Not because God has not been there, but because of my poor eyesight. Take last night for example. My son was at soccer practice and I was reading a book about prayer as I waited for Him. The chapter I was reading was about how prayer was a form of worship, of coming into the presence of God. As I read, three little children next to me were running and chasing one another as they played tag. They occasionally ran around the picnic table at which I sat. At first, I found myself getting aggravated at their constant squealing and ceaseless activity. Then it dawned on me. They were an expression of God Himself. Their joy and laughter was a glimpse into the face of God. In his book, Running On Empty, Fil Anderson says, “The joy seen in the most delighted child is but an inkling of the joy that lies within the heart of God.” Suddenly, rather than being annoyed at their laughter and play, I was reminded of God’s presence. He was with me. My focus had changed. He had been there all along, but I had failed to see Him because I was too focused on me. The truth is, I can see God every moment of every day, if I choose to. He reveals Himself in nature, in my children, in a song over the radio, in the beauty of a sunrise, in the song of a bird, in the stillness of the early morning before anyone else is up. He is there. But I have to develop what A.W. Tozer calls the “gaze of the soul.” I must learn to see Him. Which reminds me of the great old hymn, This Is My Father’s World.
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.
This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.
Father, this is Your world and in it, I can see Your face. I can see Your handiwork. I can experience Your joy and enjoy Your presence. I just need to get my focus off of me and off what appears to be the reality of this world and see the true reality of You. What I see with my eyes is NOT all there is. You are behind it all. There is something greater and grander than what I can see with my eyes. Open the eyes of my soul that I might see You all around me. Help me to look past the immediate and see the transcendent. Give me spiritual eyes so that I might see spiritual reality. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men