2010 02 21

God’s Desire

Reverend Anthony R. Locke

February 21st, 2010

at First Presbyterian Church of Tucker


Exodus 29:38-46 English Standard Version

38   “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly.

39   One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight.

40   And with the first lamb a tenth seah of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering.

41   The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord.

42   It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.

43   There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory.

44   I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests.

45   I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.

46   And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.[1]

Yesterday I spent the morning with my children at Bogan Park. We played on the playground for about an hour, went for a walk, and then we went to Waffle House for brunch.

So we are sitting there with three chocolate milks, 3 waffles, cheese eggs, biscuits with gravy, and an All Star meal with bacon, grits and raisin toast. And all four of my children have chocolate milk mustaches and little droplets of syrup all over their shirts and pants. My daughter had a daddy hairdo, which means it was free flowing – my wife calls it a homeless child look – and the syrup was all knotted up in her hair, with wisps of blonde stuck to her check and mouth.

In a word they were nasty, but, they were mine.

God looks at His children with the same love and affection. Perfect love. Transforming love. The kind you get lost in. So high, so deep, so wide it can’t ever be fully investigated or understood. Pure love.

So God approaches us with the same desire that we approach our children. He yearns for quality time. Personal exchange of soul to soul. Heart to heart. Just as I crafted the morning to bless my kids with father-children time, so God strategizes every day to bring us into the blessings and fellowship of family communion.

The reason we go to church is no more complicated than that. God wants to spend time with us as a collected family. In Genesis God and the first married couple, Adam and Eve, had the habit of daily walks with the Creator. God wants that with us.

This is the meaning of John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

God promised Emmanuel: God with Us.

In Exodus 29 Moses is up on the mountain with God, and God is explaining how He will pitch His tent of meeting in the midst of His people to initiate and sustain fellowship, conversation, and family time.

Jesus is the fullness, the ultimate earthly experience of all the Old Testament imagery of God with His people. Jesus in the flesh is the place of meeting where we get cleansed, fed, and where we commune with our God.

Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful family event? Every Sunday when we get home, we change our clothes and we sit down for a meal. That meal is a foretaste of heaven.

God was speaking to Moses up on the mountain about His commitment to the family. God even provided a recipe and menu for the meal He envisioned.

We 21st Century Christians have a very incomplete idea of the sacrificial system God gives to the nation Israel. It was like walking into the house and smelling the oven cooking up something good. There were some unpleasant traditions – like eating bitter herbs to remind them of the bitterness of being slaves in Egypt. But those traditions provided a context to tell children about God’s love that came to rescue them. The lamb spilling it’s blood provided a visible metaphor to talk about the Messiah who would come and truly take away the sins of the people.

And around the meal was the family conversation – verse 42 I will meet with you, to speak to you there.

This is God’s desire toward us. He wants to meet with us over a meal. To speak with us and spend time together. The meal, just like the New Testament meal of the Lord’s Supper, provides context for a conversation about His sacrificial love. And when we behold His beauty, and then contrast that to our condition, we see the syrup in our hair. Our sin leaves evidence like chocolate mustaches. But God isn’t bothered. He invited us in to clean us up, not judge us.

He still claims us in spite of our clumsiness, our inability to keep clean, our immature manners and behavior. We are prone to wander from fellowship, prone to leave the God who wants to talk and love on us.

God’s desires to be with us. This is the real blessedness of being apart of God’s family. This is Israel’s inheritance. The presence of God in the Pillar of Fire, the presence of God in the Cloud, the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle and Temple.

The land is a good thing, but an enemy nation can take it from you and put you in slavery. You can lose the land, YOU CAN NEVER LOSE GOD!!!

  • You can be like Daniel in the lion’s den — everything taken away except the real presence of the Almighty!
  • Like Job who lost it all, but he never lost faith in the Father’s faithfulness.
  • You might be like Peter who sinned terribly against Jesus, and yet was sought out by Jesus after the resurrection to be restored back to fellowship and usefulness.

God is seeking you this morning. God is planning a day, an eternity, to spend with you. He plans the meal which illustrates His actions of sacrifice to save us, and with longing eyes He says, THERE, AT THE PLACE OF MY PROVISION I will draw my people and meet with them. Verse 43 There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory.

God will sanctify you once you get to Him at the Cross. Jesus becomes the meal. Don’t worry about getting the syrup off your shirt before you get to Him. You come as you are this morning. Trust the sacrifice Jesus makes on the cross to wipe away your guilt, to buy your pardon, to cleanse your sins and to make you ready for a life of fellowship with your Heavenly Father.

Trust the glory of Christ to sanctify you. Our Wednesday Bible study covered this in some detail this last week. The Bible teaches that no one can see God and live. His brilliance and glory would be too powerful for your soul to sustain. So God the Father provides the fullness of Deity in consumable doses through the light that comes from the life of the Son of God. And by walking daily with Christ, you get daily exposure to the glory of the Father. The life of Jesus begins to transform you from one level of glory to the other as we abide in Him.

Exodus 29:43 God desires to meet with you that he might sanctify you, and everything else, by the power of His glory.

Finally, verses 45 & 46 are the greatest expression of covenant language in the scripture. It is the heart of the New Testament Gospel, Old Testament promises, and the climax of our salvation in this life and the next.

45   I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.

To live with any other objective as a believer is to pursue a false religion. By the power of the Spirit we must daily pursue God as He has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

There is no greater joy than living for God’s glory and enjoying Him every day of our life. The greatest blessing any earthly father can give to his children is himself. God our Father has made the decision to give us that same gift. This was the greatest gift God ever gave to Israel. This was their real blessedness. God was the gift. God was the inheritance. He is their Double Portion.

For God so loved the world that He gave Himself, His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Eternal life in Christ is the only heaven worth pursuing. Seek Him first, and His righteousness, and all other things will be added to you in the good timing of His good providence.

This is the heart of the Gospel and our salvation. It is repeated all throughout the scriptures. Listen to 2 Corinthians 6:18-7:1 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

We will sin less when we are growing in our fellowship with the savior

We will witness more when overwhelmed by His glory

We will love Him more as we learn to bask in His initiating love

This is God’s Desire. That we would meet with Him at the cross, be cleaned up by His blood and tears, enabled to see Him, to talk with Him in prayers, hear Him in the Word, and know Him through a life united with Christ and obedience to the scriptures.

God has no greater desire than to be our Father, and for us to be His obedient children.

May God bless us this morning to daily enjoy the most valuable portion of our inheritance as His children.

Amen.


[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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Tony Locke

Live in Gwinnett, GA next to Lake Lanier Islands. Married with four children. Pastored three churches over 18 years. Spent time serving as an Army Chaplain. Traveled in ministry to over 34 countries. B.A., M.A., M.Div., M.A.T.S., D.Min. BCC with NSC. Covering Georgia and upstate South Carolina
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