“I do not want to be entertained, I want an encounter with God.”
God told Moses to take on an impossible task, lead hundreds of thousands of Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. But the impossible happened because the Egyptians and the Hebrews encountered God.
God gave Moses three miraculous signs to verify he indeed had encountered God: a staff that turned into a snake, a hand that became leprous, and water that turned into blood.
Most significant, God gave Moses His name, Yahweh, which means “I AM.” God’s name means He has always been, He is now, and He will always be, unbound by time and space.
These encounters did not convince Pharaoh to free the slaves. So God unleashed ten perfectly-timed plagues on the slave holders. Finally, these encounters with God brought release.
Pharaoh regretted his decision so he and his army went after the former slaves. In a vise between the Red Sea and an army charioting toward them, they again encountered God. At God’s command, Moses raised his staff, the sea parted, they crossed safely, the army followed, but the sea engulfed the army.
Safely in the wilderness, the Hebrews grew impatient, built a golden idol, and worshipped it. Because of this great sin, God announced He would no longer go with them.
Moses could not imagine this unutterable nightmare! They mourned this disastrous announcement! They humbled themselves before God and removed all jewelry or clothing that called attention to themselves.
Moses cried out to God:
“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?”
A church can make themselves distinct in hundreds of ways, from a coffee shop that rivals Starbucks to a Disney World children’s program. But there is one must-have distinctive, is God’s activity obvious and visible?
Is God answering expectant prayers? Is God using Bible preaching to deeply convict? Is God melting hearts as people passionately worship?
Is God bringing people to salvation regularly? Is God removing racism with oneness in Christ? Is God using groups of people meeting together to meet each other’s needs?
Is God bringing an intolerance to discord and a demand for unity? Is God raising up disciples that lead, give, and go? Is God using His people to serve the poor, the prisoner, the stranger, and the widow?
Is God’s activity obvious so that everyone sees it? Without this “it”, church is an unutterable nightmare, a disaster. Does God attend your church?
Our Father, forgive our worship of idols. Please show us your presence.