“For how shall it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and your people? Is it not in Your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and Your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” – Exodus 33:16
Every leader among God’s people knows this trembling moment when God is moving His flock forward into some form of the unknown. The leader understands that the task is far too great to be left in his own human hands. God’s glory has been attached to the commission and the destination will be contested by forces which prefer that God’s people remain elsewhere. The promised places are paradises once they have been subdued but they are raw battlefields until that moment comes. What child of God would dare to think that, on his or her own, the victory could be fully won? No, the wise believer understands that the constant mark of God must rest on him if there will be any distinction in the claiming of the territory. We cannot win apart from God because His abiding presence is the actual victory. To defeat an enemy on our own would be no gain for us because it would train us to rely on ourselves and to fight independently of our King. Were we to gain the spoils of the war by our own power then they would remain in our hands with all of our fingerprints upon them as a reminder that we have gotten this by the skill of our own might. What child of God could desire such a thing? No, we wish to win but we never wish to win alone. There must be a distinction between us and all other people of the earth. We will experience glory but we long for it to be the glory of Another.
This day, as all of them are, is God’s. Let us worship Him with our joyful songs. Let His omniscient ears hear our ruptured prayers as we pour forth those groanings of those holy and beneficial inner-aches. Let us draw strength from one another when we gather and – God help us! – keep an eye open for those outside of the fold whom He is drawing in so that we may care for them in His name. When the call to sacrifice gives itself, beware of that inner thief that makes an offering so complicated but is always silent when the opportunity for you to procure some new purchase at a store finds you – is his inconsistent voice not a clear giveaway that he seeks to undermine your commitment to the King? He does not mind you spending but he defies you to become a giver. When the Gospel of your Lord is preached today let your voice be heard with shouts of affirmation. Do not let another chaperone your praise for you, don’t farm out the land of your testimony of gratitude. Let your own blessed tongue give God the glory this morning. We have longed for His presence and today we can find it with power. Gathered worship is grand worship and should be guarded with all of your faculties. Aim upward, saints! Few things are as precious as these fore-glimpses of Heaven that occur when God’s children come together. It shouldn’t be too long now before the unhindered substance of eternity finds us. Let us enjoy these foreshadows while they are offered to us.
The aroma will excite our appetites.