Relight The Fire: Burnt Anew By God (Part 1)
Have you ever felt dry, uninspired, perhaps even directionless in your Christian walk? Remember Moses who forsook his dream of setting his people the Israelites free from slavery to the Egyptians. He ended up working in the backside of a mountain as a shepherd for 40 years? Do you feel like Moses that you have been doing the same things for the last 40 back-breaking years with little to show? What you need is what Moses had.
Moses' life was totally turned around by God's visitation. A life that had turned to ashes was now burnt anew by God. A new fire was sparked leading to revival. Our lives can be turned around and new life breathed. What we need is to be burnt anew by God. A burning bush experience.
From Exodus 3:1-10 we discover some key elements that lead us to being burnt anew by God!
FRESH ENCOUNTER OF GOD
Exodus 3:1–4 (NIV) 1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
To be burnt anew by God, we need a fresh encounter with God. A fresh encounter revives our spirits. A fresh encounter infuses us with new vigour. A fresh encounter strengthens our connection with God.
Right here we see the amazing story of how Moses encountered God. To be burnt anew by God, we need a fresh encounter with God. A fresh encounter revives our spirits. A fresh encounter infuses us with new vigour. A fresh encounter strengthens our connection with God. In this story, we discover 3 key factors that help us encounter God.
Willingness to be around God's presence (v1-2) "…came to Horeb, the mountain of God."
God tends to visit or dwell in places where there is strong and particularly on-going worship of God.
Moses came close to the place of God's visitation, known as the mountain of God. Why was it known as the mountain of God? Because God meets people there. He manifests His presence there. It was at this special place that God visited Moses. There are many indications that God tends to visit or dwell in places where there is strong and particularly on-going worship of God. The Scriptures reveal to us that God will inhabit the praises of His people. Psa 22:3 (KJV) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Many Scriptures point to God's presence and anointing during times of worship. For example, worshipping God aids the prophetic unction, because God manifests His presence. 2 Kin 3:15 (NIV) While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha …
The exercise of prophetic gifts is enhanced by worship. It is not music but worship. Music aid worship by helping us focus intensely on God. 2 Chr 5:13-14 (NIV) 13The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, 14and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God. Just imagine everyone flat on their faces in temple! Because the kabod or weighty glory of God was upon them.
Do you want to meet with God? Do you want a fresh encounter with God? Be where He tends to be! Are you around when God appears? When does God tend to appear? During praise & worship, prayer, preaching/teaching or fellowship? The presence of God is usually most intense during praise and worship or prayer. Usually less so in fellowship times.
During conventions and conferences where a large group of people have set aside a couple of days to seek God, to worship Him and sit under His Word, these are usually times of visitation from God! Other key times are like Sunday service, prayer meetings, even care group times. We are not limiting God by saying these are the only times. But certainly, these are key times. Revival tends to break out from such times rather than from committee meetings! I have never heard about any revival breaking out in the midst of committee meetings!
Willingness to seek (v3-4a) "I will go over and see this strange sight…".
Moses' reaction to the burning bush reveals more than just a curiosity. Moses' knew this was God's mountain. To enter into God's territory takes courage. It reveals a willingness to seek God. This willingness to seek God can make a huge difference to whether we encounter God.
Why is it that one Christian can come into a Sunday service and encounter God while another can sit right beside him and encounter nothing except a pesky fly? One is focussed on God, experiencing God’s kabod glory and perhaps weeping, repenting, rejoicing, strengthened, and so forth. While another is just focussed on getting rid of a pesky fly.
The more intensely, the more desperately even, we seek God, the greater the likelihood of encountering God.
The Scriptures assure us that if we seek God wholeheartedly, we will find Him. Jer 29:13 (NIV) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. The more intensely, the more desperately even, we seek God, the greater the likelihood of encountering God. Imagine if there exists a seekometer, an instrument that measures how intensely you desire to seek God. What would the reading be for you today?
Willingness to respond (v4b) "And Moses said, Here I am".
Moses responded positively to God when God called him. He did not run away! If you were on a mountain and saw such a spectacularly strange sight of a bush burning but not being consumed. Then a strange voice calls your name out of the bush, what would you do? Run away? Keep quiet?
God tends to visit those who are humble and responsive to Him. Why would God waste His time on those who are disinterested or indifferent?
Moses was willing to respond. Are we responsive to God? Are we soft in our hearts when God comes calling? God tends to visit those who are humble and responsive to Him. Why would God waste His time on those who are disinterested or indifferent? Just consider this. If you were a soccer fan watching the World Cup Soccer finals on TV live. Both teams are even at 1-1 and they have gone into overtime. The atmosphere is totally tense and suddenly a forward gets the soccer ball and dribbles past every defender and is right in front of the goal. The goalkeeper is the only person left who stop the forward from a game winning goal. Then God suddenly appears in front of you. Do you (a) cry out in frustration and tell God to come back later or (b) fall down to worship God? Our responsive attitude makes a lot of difference whether God would visit us.
Our responsiveness makes all the difference.
FRESH REVELATION OF GOD
Exodus 3:5–6 (NIV) 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Moses came to know God more through this encounter. A fresh encounter with God often leads to a fresh revelation of God Himself. We all need a deeper revelation of God. There are 2 aspects that we can have a fresh revelation of:
Revelation of what God is (v5) "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”.
What is the significance of holy ground? The ground was not special in itself. But the mere presence of a Holy God made that area holy! Hence, Moses was instructed to take off his shoes because it was an act of humbling oneself to revere a Holy God.
When we encounter God, God may reveal some aspect about His nature.
When we encounter God, God may reveal some aspect about His nature. What He is. Those qualities that make God what He is. God may choose to reveal His majesty, His omniscience (All knowing), omnipresence (All-present), omnipotence (Almighty), etc. For example in Isa 6:1-4 (NIV) 1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
Isaiah was in awe of the holiness of God! At a level he never had before. Revelation of God in that way can help us more deeply appreciate how Holy the God we serve is! When we realise how pure and holy God is, we will be ashamed to compromise with unrighteousness. That is why such encounters can change our lives.
Revelation of who God is (v6) "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."
When we truly encounter God, we usually gain an increased understanding of who God is. We may come to know more about His love, mercy, faithfulness, purity, forgiveness, etc.
God revealed Himself as the God of Moses forefathers. This gave Moses continuity in understanding who God is. In the same way, when we truly encounter God, we usually gain an increased understanding of who God is. We may come to know more about His love, mercy, faithfulness, purity, forgiveness, etc.
Years ago, I was in a camp where we encounter God’s Presence in a powerful way. Practically no one was left standing but almost everyone was weeping on the floor. In that encounter I was deeply impacted by a revelation of God's mercy. It helped me appreciate how merciful God is to me despite my sins. It helps me to be merciful to others as well. Once we have been to the throne of God, we will never be the same again!
How deeply do we want to know God? One of my heart desires is to know God more in terms of His heart and His thinking. What does God feel about certain things? What is God's perspective and thoughts about certain matters?
Fresh encounter, fresh revelation of God!
Perhaps we have been running dry for some time. It is about time we put ourselves physically into the right places before God. It is about time that we get our attitudes into the right place before God. Be where God is. Be eager to seek and be responsive to God!
Let God reveal Himself to us in a fresh way. What He is about. Who He is. Let those revelations impact us deeply and change our lives.
In Part 2 of this article, we discover 2 other elements that helps us encounter God and be burnt anew.
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