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Daily Bread - May 31, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 31 May 2018 11:26
Exodus 3:5 - And He said, "Do not come any closer: take off your shoes from
off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground."

Ascension Into Holiness (Part 4): The Cloud of Glory

There are many things to say about the glory of God which appeared as a
fire by night and a cloud by day. The cloud that was the dwelling place of
the Most High, which was like a divine overcoat for the Almighty,
tabernacled with the people of Israel from the time they left Egypt. It had
protected them and stood between them and their enemies. It had gone before
them and led them in the way they should go. It had been the place where
the voice of the Lord could be heard by Moses. It was the place from which
the divine orders went forth to provide them with bread in the wilderness.
Yet, most important of all, in the midst of this fire was the One Who had
appeared to Moses in the bush; and as it burned brightly before him on his
journey to Sinai, surely it worked an ever-present and growing hunger in
the heart of Moses for a deeper revelation of God, Who dwelt there. At the
first encounter Moses had with God, he hid his face; but something was
happening as this amazingly faithful God continued to show His love and
grace (Exodus 3:6). The burning in his heart had become unquenchable, and
Moses had to have more. As he grew in relationship with the Lord over those
few months from Egypt to Sinai, he had begun to grow desperately hungry to
more fully know God. He desired to see God in the fullness of His glory,
with no restraint, face to face.

Moses had been allowed to commune with God face to face from the time the
cloud of the Lord had come to rest upon the tent of meeting (Exodus 33:11).
Yet, now Moses was uncertain about God's disposition towards the children
of Israel, who had not only continually complained, but had committed such
evil around Sinai even after the abundance of revelation given to them.
Moses was earnest to know God's disposition: Was He now unwilling to lead
them and dwell in their midst (Exodus 33:3)? Would He go with them and lead
them as He had from Egypt? He pleaded with God to show him what He would
do, saying, "Show me Your way." It could only be to Moses a certain horror
if somehow God would refuse to go up to the Land of Promise with them. God
had become more important to him than a promised land and future blessing.
If the Lord was not willing to go with them, then Moses did not want to go
either. If God was going to stay at Sinai, then Moses would stay there too
(Exodus 33:15). God assured Moses that His presence would go up to the land
of promise with them. God had advanced Redemption's plan and come to dwell
in the midst of man, and in His faithfulness He would not turn back. He was
committed to making a people ready to bring forth the Lamb that would take
away the sins of the world.

Show us Your way, oh LORD, that we may know You! (Exodus 33:13)
 
Daily Bread - June 1, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 01 June 2018 10:23
Exodus 3:5 - And He said, "Do not come any closer: take off your shoes from
off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground."

Ascension Into Holiness (Part 5): Show Me Your Glory!

Captivated by God's love and faithfulness, Moses began to intercede with
God to show him His glory (Exodus 33:18). It was Moses' desire to see more
fully the Ancient of Days, Whose mercies surpass all comprehension. The God
of all Creation, Who had personally come to deliver them from their
captivity in His faithfulness, was willing to continue on with a rebellious
people in His mercy. God warned Moses how no one could see Him in His glory
and live. Yet, through the constant insistence of Moses, God was willing to
reveal more of Himself to Moses. God was willing to show Him more
compassion and mercy and grant to Moses that which was most sacred of all
-the purity and beauty of His unveiled holiness. God's holiness is so
sacred that the cherubim angels guard it, and the seraphim scream out in
ecstasy of its beauty but are unable to gaze upon it. It's the holiness of
holinesses contained behind the veil that no one can see or approach unto.
It's the sacred and secret realm that is guarded against all impurity.

God placed one conditions on this meeting: no one else could be anywhere
near the mountain, neither man nor beast. Moses, and Moses alone, would be
given this access (Exodus 34:3). Joshua would not be allowed to tag along
as he did before (Exodus 24:13). Moses would ascend one last and final time
to the highest heights of Sinai, where God had prepared a place for him.
God made a secret place for Moses, "a place by Him to stand upon the rock"
(Exodus 33:21). God would pass by him and, though Moses was not allowed to
see Him approaching, he could look after He passed by. When He passed by,
Moses heard the cry of the Eternal, the One Who is from everlasting to
everlasting. God was in that place proclaiming His sacred Name to Moses
saying, "I am your beloved Ye-ho-vah!" The very depths of His nature were
now revealed to the man who had found grace in His eyes. The Moses that
would rather stay with Him than have a land of material blessing, the Moses
who would rather die than to be estranged from the One Who is holy, was
allowed what was impossible for man to experience. God revealed Himself as
the Lowly One Who was compassionate, the Giver of grace, longsuffering,
plenteous in lovingkindness, and abounding in truth. The Lord revealed
Himself not only as the covenant Keeper, but also as the righteous Judge
Who would not excuse wickedness. (Exodus 33:18-34:8)

This encounter had a physical impact on Moses for the rest of His life. His
face would shine with the light of the revelation of God he had seen that
day (Exodus 34:29-35). Although the complete unveiling of God's beauty
would be limited only to seeing His back, the glory would transform his
physical body, and the very cells of his face would radiate the eternal
glory of God. Still, God's face was too holy to be seen, neither by
seraphim nor Moses. His holiness is pure beyond what anyone could ever
imagine and must be protected against all intrusion -nothing can mix with
His countenance. Even so, now there is a place prepared where we can stand
and behold His unveiled glory -to see the One Who is the Great I Am in the
face of Jesus Christ. The Savior and Redeemer, Who has come to reveal all
the fullness of God to men, is ready to make these things known. Should we
hunger and thirst and be willing to obey Him, there will be no part of Who
He is withheld from those who would seek Him. (Psalms 42:1-2, 63:1-7,
84:1-12; Matthew 5:6; 2 Corinthians 4:6)

Let show us Your Glory, oh LORD! (Exodus 33:18; Psalms 63:2)
 
Daily Bread - May 30, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 29 May 2018 23:18
Exodus 3:5 - And He said, "Do not come any closer: take off your shoes from
off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground."

Ascension Into Holiness (Part 3)

The glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain
(Exodus 24:17). The people were made holy on yet another scale by the
covenant of the Law and the sprinkling of blood. Now that the covenant of
the Law and the blood of the covenant bound them to the Lord, Aaron, Nadab,
Abihu, and seventy elders were allowed to come and interact with God on
behalf of all the people (Exodus 24:6-11). Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu
were given a special assignment above all others in Israel, while the
seventy represented the whole of the nation. Yet, once again, they had to
remain far off while Moses alone was allowed to approach unto the Lord
(Exodus 24:1-2). They saw God that day and ate with Him. Their eyes were
allowed to behold Him from a distance, yet all they could really describe
was the place where He rested His feet (Exodus 24:10). It was as though
they could hardly lift their eyes to attempt to behold any more than those
details of His feet. They sat down and ate a covenant meal with God and
enjoyed the revelation of the communion that every peace offering in the
future would be like. From this time forward, the children of Israel would
realize how the peace offering would be accompanied by the Lord, and they
would be eating with Him even though their eyes would not be able to see
Him. We might think of this encounter with God to be much like that which
Abraham had in the plains of Mamre (Genesis 18). What is particularly
distinctive is that the manifestation of God they were allowed to interact
with did not include the fire of His Presence.

God gave this special group of people the opportunity to know Him in a more
intimate way, yet they let it slip. Twice they had vowed to obey God and do
all He had commanded, but it was soon forgotten (Exodus 19:8, 24:3,7)
Aaron, within the next forty days from this event, would make a golden calf
and proclaim, "This is your god that brought you up out of the land of
Egypt." Nadab and Abihu would be struck dead for their violation of the
holy things because they did not perfectly observe God's commands, and
approached unto Him with strange fire. Concerning the seventy, none of
their names would be remembered. Although they were those who had been
allowed to eat and drink in the Presence of the Lord, they soon forgot
their consecration to obedience, and carried on in their iniquity (cr. Luke
13:26-27).

After the covenant meal Moses and the others had with God, the Lord called
Moses up higher into the realms of glory. Moses, now bound by the Law of
God, the blood of sprinkling, and the communion meal, would step into the
midst of the fire. While all the others were sent down off the mountain
with orders to ensure no one be allowed upon the mountain, Moses alone was
allowed to stay. The only other person upon the mountain was chosen by
Moses. We do not know how far up the mountain Joshua was allowed to ascend,
but he stopped somewhere short of where Moses was called to go. Moses
ascended the higher heights of Sinai to receive more than he ever had
before. It was only by God's command and commission that he was allowed to
go where no man had ever gone before, and now he would be allowed to
worship beyond anything he had experienced. Moses had to wait for six days
as he stood before the cloud and fire of the Lord, but then the Lord
invited Him into the cloud of His all-consuming fire (Exodus 24:16-18). God
spent six days preparing Moses to enter into the cloud of His presence as
he waited to be invited in. When he stepped inside this place where only
God dwelt, the revelation of all that God had established would be
unveiled. The entire plan of man's redemption and its design would be made
known to him. In the midst of this great glory, God showed Moses the
pattern and design of the tabernacle, its administration, and the order of
the tent of meeting, where the people of God would worship the Lord in the
beauty of holiness (Exodus 25-31).

Our God is a consuming fire! (Hebrews 12:18-29)
 
Daily Bread - May 29, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 28 May 2018 22:02
Exodus 3:5 - And He said, "Do not come any closer: take off your shoes from
off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground."

Ascension Into Holiness (Part 2)

The trials Moses would have to go through were great, but he was given a
promise. If he obeyed, he would be allowed to return and encounter the
beauty of God's holiness once again (Exodus 3:12). He would be allowed to
come and worship before the One Who is the Author of Life. However, he
would first have to face the setbacks of the hardness of Pharaoh's heart.
He would have to endure the persecution of God's people who would be
commanded to make bricks without straw. He would learn obedience to God as
men on both sides would reject him for the message he carried. Yet, through
it all, he would discover how God was more powerful and mighty than he
could have ever imagined. He would watch as God did things through him
-things that were unthinkable. As he stood between a sea that could not be
crossed and an army that could not be defeated, God more fully revealed
exactly Who He was. He would find shelter in the Presence of God again and
again as those who he led refused to trust in the One Who is the Lord of
Hosts. It was certainly hard for the people of Israel to even begin to
imagine the God Moses had encountered; but even in the face of their
unbelief, they would be allowed to see the fire of His Presence and hear
the sound of His voice.

When Moses had returned to Sinai, he found the place of worship lit up with
the Presence of God on an entirely different scale. The display of God's
glory was no longer confined to a flame in a bush, but instead the whole
mountain was on fire with God's Presence. Now, it was not just the ground
under his feet that was holy, but the entire mountain had become infused
with the holiness of God. The Lord, in His love for the people of Israel,
would not leave them out of the encounter of His presence. Now the whole
nation would be allowed to see the fire of His presence and hear His voice.
Yet, only Moses, who had been faithful, would be allowed to come closer to
God while the people of Israel encountered Him from a distance.

They were washed with water and sanctified by His Word, making themselves
ready for the encounter with God. Having been prepared by the washing of
water, they came to the place of worship and stood before the Presence of
the Lord (Exodus 19:10-11). While they stood at the boundaries of their
limitations, which were placed around the mountain, the sound of God's
shofar became louder and louder. As the sight became so overwhelming and
frightening, Moses called out to the Lord and the Lord answered. Moses was
called out in front of the people, and he alone was distinguished from all
others. He alone was given the holiness necessary to stand upon the holy
ground without defiling it. He was granted the right to ascend and stand
upon the Mountain of the Lord (Exodus 19:16-20; Psalms 24:3-4). The ground
shook under their feet with the Presence of the Lord, and the sight of Him
was so dreadful Moses shook and trembled (Hebrews 12:21). All Israel were
eyewitnesses to the communion between Moses and the Lord as they spoke to
each other. This was unlike anything the sons of Adam had ever experienced
as the Lord revealed Himself in the midst of His holy fire.

Our God is a consuming fire! (Hebrews 12:18-29)
 
Daily Bread - May 28, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 28 May 2018 09:31
Exodus 3:5 - And He said, "Do not come any closer: take off your shoes from
off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground."

Ascension Into Holiness (Part 1)

God revealed the fire of His Presence and drew Moses into his first
encounter with holiness. Never before had the descendants of Adam beheld
such glory. As Moses turned aside to see the flame that had already been
burning in his heart, he heard the a affectionate words of God saying
"Moses, Moses," which is to say, "Dear Moses." Although, God loved him and
addressed him with endearment, still Moses had to learn he was only allowed
to get just so close to the holiness of God. Therefore, as Moses was
approaching the Presence of the Lord, God set the boundaries of limitation
and said, "Do not come any closer to Me" (Exodus 3:5). Whatever encounters
the holiness of God becomes holy, but God limited how close Moses could
come. God graced Moses with enough holiness to come as close as he did, but
no further.

Proximity to His Presence is based upon the degree of holiness given by God
to men. Moses was the first man to be allowed to interact with God's
holiness like this. Never before had a man stood before the fire of God's
glory and approached unto His holiness. Although Abraham had many
encounters with God, he was not allowed to see God in the midst of the fire
as Moses did. He only saw God in the midst of the fire in a vision (Genesis
15:12-17). Moses was allowed to look upon God in the midst of the fire with
his natural eyes. What began as a revelation of God's glory in a vision to
Abraham had grown into a flame of fire seen by the eyes of mortal flesh. He
heard the sound of God's voice, and experienced the glory of His holiness
like no other one had before. As Moses stood there, he received a capacity
to speak with authority that no man had ever partaken of. He was endued
with a glory no man had ever experienced. His encounter with God would
result in the exploits of God being manifested through him in Egypt in a
way that had never been seen before in the world of men. Moses was endued
with God's Presence as he stood before His fiery flame. He would go from
that place of the encounter and be accompanied by God in a way that was
hitherto never expressed, as God said, "Surely, I will be with you."
(Exodus 3:12)

With the appearance of God in a fiery flame came a new revelation of the
holiness of God. The glory of His Presence caused everything encountering
it to be holy, including the ground. Unlike the Seraphim, who must cover
their feet before the Presence of the Lord, Moses was commanded to uncover
his feet. The Lord said, "Take your shoes off because you are standing on
holy ground," a ground made holy because the Holy God was there. When his
shoes came off, his feet came into direct contact with God's holiness. His
feet would now carry the message of this great encounter to the people of
Israel, and the nations of the world would tremble at the Presence of the
Lord. As Moses' feet touched the holiness of God, every part of His flesh
and being began to be filled with the power of the Almighty. His feet were
endued with the holiness of God to tread down the nations. His feet would
carry his encounter with the holiness of God into the darkness of an evil
nation, the Light would confront the darkness, and the holiness of God the
iniquity of the people. He would go from that place and stand before the
greatest kings and nation on Earth, and wield the sword of God's holiness.
The demonstration of God's holiness through Moses would shake the land of
Egypt, and cause it to crumble by the voice of God speaking through one
man. The touch of His presence and the revelation of the mighty Name,
Yehovah of Armies, would change a man from someone of mere mortal flesh to
the one endued with power from on High (Exodus 7:1-7, 14:31, 15:1-18).

Our God is a consuming fire! (Hebrews 12:18-29)
 
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