I know that many, as well as myself, have been praying for His presence and provision for years. I know that we crave to live and be in His presence. We cry and beg for it, and seek it, etc. Yet when we get His presence and provision it may not mean that we are in the place He would like us to be in. We could be in sin and going the wrong way and still have His presence and provision. Being intimate with God, in the sense of that meaning you have His presence and His provision with you, is not all there is to being who He wants us to be or where He wants us to be. It is not the end or the sum total of intimacy.
Let’s go back to the Old Testament and look at a people hungry for God to show up. They were slaves in the world system and culture, bound by their work and the requirements of what must be produced each day. There was no way for them to get “ahead” because of their position in life and the expectation of those who ruled over them. These people were feared, despised, and hated because they had something no one else had, a living God. At that time though, He was nowhere to be found. They were just surviving in a world filled with hate and fear.
I know what their prayers were like and how they must have felt because I have felt the same way. Where is the God of the Bible? Where is the great freedom that is spoken of in it’s words? Why are we going through this, what sin have I committed? I wonder, “is there really a God who did those things we have heard about?” Are the testimonies of those who went before us true?
I, like these people, have been angry with Him and upset over my condition and position and all I wanted is to be FREE! Just give me freedom from my bondage, take me out of this place of chains and lack. This place that I can never succeed, where I am always ridiculed and mocked for my faith.
Of course the people I am talking about are the Jewish people in slavery to the Egyptians and their tyrant ruler in the world. I am talking of the people who were slaves to a secular government and all it stood for. I doubt that their position in life was much different than it is for many Christians in the world today. Beaten and robbed of life and hope they are used to show others that there is no escape from the tyrants in the world. Your religion is not allowed here, many are told. I think that the Hebrew people were in the place then like most Christians in the world today, kept as slaves to all that they hate, not able to escape in their own power or expect anything different for the future. All we are asking for is the same thing the Hebrews were asking… Your presence God and your provision to bring us FREEDOM!
OK, so God hears the Hebrews prayers and comes to their aid. (You can find this incident in the book of Exodus. It is all there although I am not quoting any scripture as such.) Moses shows up and does God’s thing with the “would be” or “wanna be” ruler of the earth (the same position that Satan wants over God’s people) Pharaoh, king of Egypt. God’s presence and His miracles set the people of God free and He delivers them from the bondage of the world’s system. Free, after crossing the Sea and seeing the enemy destroyed behind them in the very water that parted and saved them. I wonder, though, were the Egyptians really the problem?
Now here they are, free from the worlds bondage, living in God’s presence and seeing His provision every day. Can you imagine? What a wonderful thing, you get up each morning and look outside and there is a pillar of fire in the midst of your camp, or a cloud to shelter you from the sun and heat. Your clothes never wear out, your food is fresh each day, you live in the shelter of the God of all creation. You drink from a rock that follows you around. Not only did He save you but, you have been given all the gold, silver and precious jewels of those who held you in bondage. At last, FREEDOM in the Provision and the presence of God, now that is living, [for a while].
I don’t think I need to bring this into the present with an new analogy… but just for the sake of not being misunderstood. We today as Christians are praying in our places and crying for the presence and power of God to show up and deliver us into the freedom of Christ… We want to dwell in His presence and power. We want His provision and FREEDOM. We want to show the world that Our God lives, and we want to know it ourselves. We want to see the stories we have read and heard be true in our time and place. Where is God? Like with the Hebrews, God shows up and we see miracles and signs of His power and presence. We are all thrilled to see prosperity and gain in the world we live in; to see Him make a difference in our lives. We live in God’s presence and provision as a result of Him hearing our prayers. “I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread in the streets” is a reality. We find in God’s deliverance the truth of that scripture. We are pleased and show our thanks by our worship and thanksgiving. We enjoy God’s presence, power and provision [for a while].
Let’s go back to the Jewish people, in God’s presence, power and provision, walking toward the Promised Land. The Promised Land is like the Kingdom of God. It is now, not later in heaven. It is a place of God’s presence and more. God has a vision for His people, to inherit the best land and be the most prosperous of all people in the world. There is just one problem, the people that live in the land that God has for His people. God says it is time to enter into what He has for the Hebrews, they send up spies and find that the biggest and the toughest people in the world are in this place that God wants to “give” them. After much deliberation it is decided that God’s vision costs too much and He is out to get them killed. They refuse to enter the Promised Land because it will take too much work and it involves too much trust in God for them. The spies brought back fruit from the place and it is marvelous what is there, but the taste of the land’s offering is not enough to entice them to leave this place of provision and presence where they don’t have to battle. Israel had no vision for God’s promise; they only wanted to leave their past. They were not willing to pay the price to see God’s vision fulfilled even though His vision had their best interests at heart. God says that without a vision the people perish and that is just what would happen. For forty years the people would wander around and finally all but two would die. It is interesting that they could see God’’s vision across the Jordan at times as they went around their mountain but, never was it brought up that they reconsidered their decision. They were dwelling in God’s presence, power and provision, could anything be better than that? Why go to battle for something that has giants and could cost you your life and all the provision of God and why wake a sleeping giant that is not bothering them where they presently live? Didn’t God’s presence, power and provision prove that they were in God’s will, why go to battle for something when they are in such a good place?
Oh my, what does the Bible say, — they all died in their sin. Because of unbelief they did not enter into His rest. Interestingly, during that whole time in the desert they were not at peace, they constantly were grumbling and not content, yet they were unwilling to take up God’s vision for them. All the years that they were avoiding the giants did not do away with them, not did it do away with the fact that God wanted His people to defeat them, destroy their rule in the world and take possession of all that they had control of. Maybe the giants were not the problem. The Hebrews had no need, they walked in health, prosperity, presence and provision, yet God says in the Word that they died in their sin. They only lacked one thing.
They had everything but God’s vision. They did not have intimacy with God so they did not have His desire in their hearts. His goal is not just to seek and save the lost, which is what the Hebrews were before he came to rescue them, it is also to destroy the works of the enemy, the devil.
Interesting enough, the giants had not gotten smaller over the years and were still there when the next generation came to the Jordan. Just because we don’t want to fight for God’s vision will not do away with the need to fight. Someone will have to destroy the works of the enemy to inherit the Promised Land or the Kingdom of God. There is a price to pay to enter the Kingdom of God, there are enemies of The Kingdom that must be destroyed for all the people of God to be able to live in peace in the Promised Land!
There are so many today that think just because they have God’s provision, presence and power that they are “in” God’s will and right standing. All that that proves is that God is with us, in us and for us. It does not mean we are for God and His desires. It does not mean we are living where He wants us to live; to do that we must have His heart for the Lost and His attitude toward the enemy. We must be about His business of seeking and saving the Lost and be out to destroy the works of the enemy. God’s kingdom is not about us being healthy and living in plenty. These things are a part of what God is, a part of salvation, but you can have them without having His Heart. The Word says that we are to be like Jesus, and He came to give His life for others and to do The Father’s will, not His own. Somewhere we have gotten sidetracked to thinking it is just about our health, prosperity and power. What about a vision for what God is about, are not all of the people who are lost God’s desire? Should we be about destroying the enemy’s hold on our children and in the minds of sexual predators, can’t we expose that in prayer and change it. We can reach the addicts with prayer that destroys the strongman in their lives. I think that we need to realize that we must fight to enter into God’s Promised Land, the kingdom or God for the sake of all those who are lost and in bondage. We must have God’s vision for who should be in Heaven and His kingdom.
The enemies of the Hebrews were not the giants, anymore than our enemies are people. The real enemy is found in our heart. It is our lack of intimacy, faith, trust and belief. We are being cheated out of our inheritance by being content with the Father’s presence, provision and power in our “church” and yet not having it in our own intimacy. The Jewish leaders did not want to go out into God’s presence with Moses at the very beginning of their walk because it would cost them too much they feared. As long as the intimacy with God is only with a leader, there will be murmuring and complaining, and all that we see in the Hebrew people and their journey. As long as we have not experienced intimacy with God for ourselves, we will not want to fight nor will we stand for long for what we don’t love with all our hearts. We want to enjoy the world’s goods and His power for our provision. Until there is real love in a personal way for Him and all He desires we will not be in the right place with Him. Honor, obedience and sacrifice are the real signs of our love. These attitudes are always evident with anyone or anything we “love”.
Someone will have to fight the giants eventually to finish this work given us, to take us to the place we are destined to live. I, for one, want to take the fight to the enemy and quit thinking about my own comfort. We need to think about God’s plan and the future for my children and the next generation. We need to think about our relationship with the Lord. I am getting tired of the people I know and love dieing without getting to see the Promise of the Father. We must not stop short of the complete will of Father. We must see what He sees and trust Him to fight for us in the battles to make the kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of Our God. Our intimacy with Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not complete until we have His vision for the future and we are willing to partner with Him to see the enemies who possess “our” inheritance destroyed.