Sunday, 5 January 2020

Vision 2020


Psalm 27; Exodus 24: 1, 2; 9-12 (NKJV)

In Exodus 24, Moses is invited to go up the mountain and to be with God.  The other leaders of Israel went up part of the way and worshipped from afar.  They were given an amazing vision of the Lord and even ate a meal in his presence, but Moses is invited to join God on top of his mountain.  God is going to give him the written stone tablets so that he can teach the people from them, but first God says to him:

Come up to Me on the mountain and be there.

Some modern translations have ‘stay there’, but ‘be’ seems better.

You spend all day climbing up a mountain and left all the others behind. Your first priority is going to be to bet back down again and make sure everything’s fine...

But God had given his name to Moses: I am.  Here he says: “I am; you be.”

Be in my presence.
  • Don’t worry about what the others are doing.
  • Don’t worry about what you’re going to do next.
  • Don’t be freaked out about the past – how can a man like me be in the presence of God?
Just be – with me.

It’s like God is saying, I am outside of time; for a moment, I want you to be here too.  Come into my place.

Moses was there for 40 days and 40 nights (v.18).  God have him a major download about:
  • The Ark and what the Holy Places would be like;
  • How they would be built and by whom;
  • The priestly garments;
  • The consecration of the priests;
  • The sacrifices;
  • The anointing oil and the incense;
  • The Sabbath
  • The whole idea of what holiness is
Then God the two stone tablets of his Testimony, written by his own finger.
40 days.  That’s like six weeks!

And when Moses returned, there was chaos!

Aaron, his right-hand man had made an idol of a golden calf: “This is your god!” 

But Moses was being in the presence of God.  Communing with him.  God could have done it in 5 weeks.  Or maybe a couple of days.  He could have done it in 20 minutes.  But it took him 40 days and nights and Moses was ‘being’ with him.


When we come to worship, very often we are doing a religious thing.  We are coming to give God his ‘due’.  We sing praise to him; we acknowledge his glory and his holiness.  That’s good.  We may come with burdens on our hearts that we want relief from – that’s fine too.  There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain; his blood cleanses us from sin and heals us.

We acknowledge these things, and it’s good.

Perhaps we come to reiterate the terms of our faith.  Maybe our home or the place where we work is battering and we need to come and find a few moments’ solace in a place of safety.

Perhaps we come for encouragement.  We might need a top-up of blessing.  Or for mutual support.  This is good too.  Paul tells us to sing to one another psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with grace in our hearts to the Lord.

All of these things are fine if we are ‘followers of God’, but it’s as if we are with Aaron and the others, worshipping from afar, and again, that’s not a bad thing. 

They must have been amazed to have been in the presence of God – and he didn’t destroy them.  He loved them; he even put on a special meal for them there, halfway up mount Horeb.  They were privileged and honoured.

But they wouldn’t have been there without Moses.  Moses was the key to their spiritual experience, their priest and their prophet.

There was much more than this available from God if they had had the heart to receive it. 
And there is more available to us, too.  In Christ, we are a kingdom of priests.  Our walk with God isn’t dependent on Moses or anyone else.

We get glimpses of it through the scriptures:

  • In King David singing (Psalm 27: 4):

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

David wasn’t a ‘priest’; he didn’t even get to go into the ‘house of the Lord’ (except to eat the Show Bread on one occasion).  But he longed for the presence of God, and in spite of his sin, that One Thing is the thing that defined his life. 

He was a man after God’s own heart.

  • In the writer to the Hebrews, writing (Hebrews 10: 19; 22):

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus… let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Boldness to enter the holiest place – the very presence of God.

        Come up here ... and be.

Do we crave the presence of God?  Do we seek his holiness?  Is that our One Thing?  The thing that defines our lives?  Will our epitaph be, ‘He/ she was a person who sought after God?’


  • A vision for the church

My hope for this church is that we will take the good news of Jesus out from here.  That we will be ‘missional’.  But this can only spring out of our worship and out of the presence of God with us.  (That is, God being with us as we are being with him).

So let us as a community draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.  Let us be determined to seek him.

Psalm 27: 8
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Years ago, God told us to seek his face. 

None of us really knew what that meant; possibly we’re still a bit hazy, but we determined to do it anyway, and some of us have been seeking his face steadfastly – rather doggedly at times – ever since. 

Please join us on Sunday evenings.

Like Moses in Ex 24. We must ‘be’ where he is so that he can ‘download’ to us, and we can tell others.  We can lead our families and be beacons in our communities.

As a church we need to know him – to love him.  To hear and respond to his voice.


There is going to be a lot of ‘stuff’ to do around here in the next few years.  Maybe you’re just ready to jump up and volunteer to take it all on.  Or maybe you’re feeling worn out, flat on your back and way too old for all that now.

The only reason – the only – reason to do anything is because God the Holy Spirit put it on your heart to serve him in that way.  Not because it looked as if it needed doing, or because you’re really talented, or because you have some sort of obligation.  If what we do here isn’t grounded from first to last in our worship and our response to his grace – in our ‘being’ in his presence – it will fail. 

Solomon sang:

Psalm 127: 1, 2 (NLT)
Unless the Lord builds a house,
    the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
    guarding it with sentries will do no good.
2 It is useless for you to work so hard
    from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
    for God gives rest to his loved ones.


  • What is your vision from God this year?

·    What is your One Thing?

David and Diane Chamberlain sent me this New Year resolution:

Psalm 19: 14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.