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

 

Established 

2 Chronicles 3:17
“Then he set up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand and the other on the left; he called the name of the one on the right hand Jachin, and the name of the one on the left Boaz.”

In addition to building the Temple, Solomon had two large pillars erected, which he named Jachin and Boaz. Jachin means to establish and Boaz means strength. Whenever a person approached the Temple, they would see these two massive pillars. A reminder that the nation, the kingdom, the Temple, and each of our individual lives, are established and strengthened by God.

I recently had a pergola built in my yard. The first step was to clear away the weeds, the second was to establish a foundation. This is true of any building project. Rubble must be removed and a foundation must be laid. As we seek to build our lives, it is important we clear out the things that do not belong, and we build on the proper foundation. The Bible refers to many principles which are foundational to establishing a strong and healthy life.

We are told Jesus is the chief cornerstone of life (1 Peter 2:6). He should not be treated as an additive to life, but as the most important aspect. The bedrock of life is set when we trust in Christ for salvation.

Jesus went to great lengths to explain that even believers can build their lives on shaky ground. He warned of building on a sandy foundation rather than on solid rock (Luke 6:48-49). The rock He referred to was obedience to His written Word. The secret to a successful Christian life is to read and obey the Word.

Finally, Jesus told us the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all (Luke 10:27). In other words, we must give Jesus first place in our lives. One way we can do this is by starting our day with Him. Rather than running out the door to face the day in our own strength, it is a good idea to take some time to read His Word and pray before we face the challenges of the day.

Pastor Jim

 

Miry Clay 

Psalms 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.”

Without giving us the details, David describes the condition of his life as being in a horrible pit of miry clay. A mire is an area of wet spongy earth, like a bog or marsh. David was saying he was stuck in a very difficult place, and it seemed as though there was no escape. Unfortunately, life can be like that. Even when we are walking with the Lord, we come to times of great difficulties that seem to carry on and on, without hope of ever ending. Sometimes, these miry bogs are the result of what appears to be unrelenting waves of trials. Before we get our head up from one strike, we are hit with another. John Bunyan referred to these times as “The Slough of Despond.” if you are currently facing one of these times in your Christian walk, be encouraged with two things.

First, you are not alone. You are not the first, or only Christian, to find yourself in the mire wondering if there is any hope of deliverance. In addition to David’s poetic description of his circumstances, Paul wrote;

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, . . .” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Knowing that others, even the godliest of men, have faced the Slough of Despond, encourages me that I am not here simply because of my failures, sins or bad choices. Times in the pit are part of following Christ and becoming like Him.

Notice that David wrote, “He inclined to me.” The word ‘inclined’ means to lean toward. In his darkest hour, the Lord leaned toward David and met him in the pit. Perhaps there is no greater illustration of this than when the three Hebrews were thrown into the fire by Nebuchadnezzar. Three men were thrown into the fire, but four were actually there; the fourth was the Son of God. In the heat of the trial, the Lord shows up (Daniel 3:23-25). If we were to ask those three men what the worse day of their lives was, they would, no doubt, tell us of being thrown into the fire. But if we to ask, what was the best day, they would probably tell us of meeting Jesus in the fire. If you are in a miry clay, a Pit of Despair, or the Slough of Despond understand that Jesus has inclined to meet you there, and wants to draw you nearer to Himself.

There is a second truth revealed by David that is of great encouragement to those who are in the pit. David declares there is a way out. That is essentially what Paul was telling the Corinthians. He said we are perplexed, which means he cannot find a way out, but not in despair, which means there is a way out. How comforting to know, that as difficult as the circumstances may be, they are not permanent. The Lord has a way out. David gives us the secret to finding the way,

“I waited patiently for the Lord.”

The key to the door that leads out of the mire, is waiting on the Lord. Waiting on the Lord does not mean to sit back and do nothing until He decides to lower the rope and pull us up. Instead, waiting involves examining my own life to see if there is anything that needs to be confessed and forsaken. It also includes time attending to the things of the Lord. In the miry pit, we should spend less time fighting and complaining, and more time seeking and praying. You will find that while the slough is not an easy place, when you seek the Lord, His voice is loud and clear.

Until you find your feet back upon solid ground, keep seeking Jesus for what He wants to accomplish in you.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 40

  1. What is involved in waiting on the Lord?
  2. What attributes are necessary in order to experience the blessed life, see verse 4.
  3. How much of the day do you spend thinking about God?
  4. How much time does He spend thinking about you?
  5. What does David cry out for in verse 11?