Cleft Of The Rock

Exodus 34:5
“Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.”

Something happened in Moses that made him desire to know God better. Faced with the opportunity to ask anything from the Lord his sole desire was to see the glory of God. In response to this, God had a plan. Moses would get away from the people, hide in the cleft of a rock, and listen as God passed by declaring His true character. This event serves as a pattern for how every believer can discover the glory of a God.

Moses rose early and found a secluded place where he could hear the word of God. If we will follow that pattern, we too, will have glorious encounters with the Lord. It is in the secret place where we learn to abide in Christ and discover the hidden truths of His Word.

It is true that God can speak to us anywhere. Many of us have testimonies of times when our world was interrupted by the unexpected voice of God. We may have heard His voice in the middle of a crowded room, hiking a hill or even when we were stuck in traffic. While it is true that we may unexpectedly hear from God anywhere, it is also true that we can expect to hear from Him if we will rise early, get in a secluded place and open the pages of His Word.

Every morning there is a cleft of a rock waiting for the child of God to hide away in and hear the voice of God. Take the time to discover it for yourself.

Pastor Jim

 

Personal Devotion 

Zephaniah 1:5
“Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, but who also swear by Milcom”

Zephaniah was commissioned by the Lord to warn the people of coming judgment. In order to prepare the people for what was ahead, he explained the reason they were facing judgment. His message was both clear and simple, they must change their ways if they were to avoid what was ahead.

The first infraction the people were guilty of was worshipping the hosts of heavens on their rooftops. In ancient times rooftops were considered a part of the house and were used for family gatherings. It was on a rooftop where Bathsheba bathed, Peter rested and had a vision from heaven, where husbands are exhorted to flee from a contentious wife, and where the people of Judah were practicing idolatry.

Zepheniah’s ministry took place during the reign of King Josiah, who had brought about great reforms in the nations. Much of the idolatry that had plagued Judah for generations had been removed from the public sector. The problem was, while these idols had been removed publicly, they still remained in the private life of the people. God’s judgment would come because public reform was not affecting private living.

We are told the people continued to worship Baal, the sun, moon and stars, and Milcom, the false god of the Ammonites. Essentially, they were turning worship into syncretism by blending the worship of the true God with idols. Tragically, this is a common practice today. Many who claim to be followers of Christ, seem to pick and choose verses they like while ignoring others. By doing so, they are essentially creating a god of their liking, rather than submitting to the God of Scripture. This synchronistic idolatry ultimately caused Judah to turn back from following the Lord. When public commitment does not change private living, we will ultimately turn our backs on the Lord as well. It is in private where the real roots of the Christian life are developed.

What you do with your early mornings will chart the course for your entire day. Jesus rose a long while before daylight, departed from others, and spent time alone with the Father. His life was a pattern set for the rest of us to follow. It is important to begin each day with the Lord, in His Word, allowing Him to remove from your private life anything that does not belong.

Pastor Jim

 

Underdog 

2 Chronicles 32:1
“After these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself.”

I find it interesting, and somewhat disturbing, that after reading of the faithfulness of Hezekiah, we find him facing what will prove to be the fight of his life. The Assyrian army, with its seemingly innumerable forces, marched against Jerusalem, surrounded the city, and began to threaten the people. These were not idle threats. The Assyrian army had not only defeated all of Judah’s neighbors, but had also conquered other cities within Judah itself. No force had been strong enough to withstand Assyria, and it would seem ludicrous to think the tiny city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants would have even the remotest of chances. Nonetheless, we read of Assyria’s defeat and Hezekiah’s exaltation. Two things grab my attention.

First, I am struck by he fact that Hezekiah and Judah had to face this battle in the first place. The chapters leading up to this event speak of the great faithfulness of the king, and of widespread revival. After the king made a personal and public commitment to the Lord, he began a work that would lead many others back to God. This work became so extensive that revival broke out throughout Judah and even spread into Israel. People who had fallen from the Lord, were returning to him, and righteousness once again began to be the defining characteristic of Judah. It would seem that a person who devotes themselves to the Lord, would be free of the kind of attack Hezekiah is undergoing. Instead, we find him facing the largest army ever to step into Israel’s borders. Our commitment to Christ will not eliminate battles, but it will give us the tools that guarantee victory.

The second thing that stands out to me, is the way in which Judah succeeded in battle. In a bold a defining statement Hezekiah declared,

2 Chronicles 32:8 “‘With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”

Victory was found by clinginging to the Word of God, in the midst of attack and confusion. Hezekiah realized that the only way to find real success was not to fight Assyria by natural means, but with spiritual ones. Man to man, sword to sword, or army to army,  Judah had no chance of victory, but choosing to cling to, rely upon, and follow after YHWH would ensure victory. They proved their allegiance to the Lord by gathering together, looking into the Word, and praying accordingly. In the midst of national, or our own personal battle,s we will find success when we choose to cling to the Lord in prayer.

Pastor Jim