“All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance. They said to Moses, “Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don’t let God speak with us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you, that you won’t sin.” The people stayed at a distance, and Moses came near to the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:18-21
I get a little judgemental when I read this passage. I think about the Israelites having the opportunity to speak with God directly, and instead choosing to let Moses be a go-between. They were fearful of a God who loved them. Moses tried to reassure them, but they still chose to stay at a distance.
And then I realize that the judgment, Also belongs to me. There are times in my life where I have been content to allow someone else to receive a message for me instead of seeking it out myself. I’ve wanted to easy solution and then doing so, I prevent myself from truly hearing from God and receiving exactly the word He has for me in a situation. I do this even knowing that I can be really difficult; it can be hard to convince me of something if it isn’t the way I think it should be.
I have to wonder if the Israelites had allowed themselves to hear from God directly, if it would’ve taken as long for them to get into the promised land. They had already seen him deliver them from the Egyptians. He provided manna for them. He provided water from a rock. Yet when He wanted to draw near to them in relationship, they were fearful.
How many times do we delay our promises because we want a third-party to intervene on our behalf? I want healing, but I need the pastor to pray for me. I am struggling in a relationship, but I need advice from my small group to handle it. I am dealing with a lot of heavy things, but I need to process it with my counselor to come up with a plan.
God gives us godly counsel, but it should not be used in place of God. He should be our first contact, not our last resort. We should take things to Him first and other counsel second, if it is still needed. He is always available, no waiting and coordination of schedules needed. His advice will always be perfect. The more we seek His voice, the more we will hear it.
I was counseling with a client recently. As she started to share what was going on, I immediately saw she was under spiritual attack. I allowed her to share her struggles and then asked if I could share another perspective. I told her after her first sentence, I knew she had been in spiritual warfare. She was then able go forward with her story and share how it had resolved because she recognized the same. I validated what Holy Spirit had already revealed to her.
That is a frequent occurrence when people seek His counsel before getting to mine. He is after all the Wonderful Counselor.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
She had available to her, as do all believers, Holy Spirit who can reveal all truth to us. She had a direct line to revelation. Yes, I was able to validate her. I was able to offer some additional insight and direction, but Holy Spirit did what He does best. In getting His revelation, she was no longer seeking counsel from a distance, she got her answers first hand. She knew what I offered her was in line with what God was already speaking to her.
I remember a time in my marriage where my husband and I were having a difficult time communicating. It is easy for me to put the blame on him, I reach people how to communicate in marriage. However, I am not perfect and at the time had quite a short fuse. Sometimes it is easier to teach than to practice.
This day, I took my own advice, and stepped away to calm myself. I took it to God. Usually my prayers were “fix him” with a lot of complaining about his actions. This was no exception, but God pretty strongly told me to stop (not verbally, but without question). Basically, I was told to shut my mouth. I needed to stop complaining. I needed to stop arguing. I needed to keep quiet.
So I stood there, fighting my flesh that just wanted to push my point with my husband. I don’t even remember what my point was, which says how insignificant this yelling match really was for me. I do remember God quieting me. I do remember what happened next. Within five minutes of me keeping my mouth shut (for once), my husband came and apologized.
I learned that by keeping God at a distance, I was letting my flesh have the upper hand. I was giving the enemy a foothold in my marriage. I learned that by bringing Him into the situation, and crucifying my flesh in real time, God can do far more, far better, than I can fight for myself. That is what I remember about that day. God made real for me this passage:
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”. Ephesians 3:20
It is not just that He can and will do more than we can ask or think, it that it is done according to the power at work within us. We can’t keep Holy Spirit at a distance and have His power working within us. We have to give Him full access. We have to stop and hear His voice and then actually do what He says. I can be sure He’s told me to shut my mouth before. I just chose not to listen and chose not to obey.
I don’t want to continue to be like the Israelites. I have Holy Spirit living within me. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. It is my choice, do I draw near to God and allow Him to draw near to me? Or do I chose to keep Him at a distance? Any distance between us, is established by me by not allowing Him access.
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