(Ex 19:10 NLT) Then the LORD told Moses, “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing.
Today we continue our series entitled, “The Benefits of Prayer and Fasting,” with an emphasis on “The Power of Prayer.” Yesterday I dealt with having reverence for the Lord. This message flows in the same vein.
I am convinced that one of main reasons many of us don’t experience powerful encounters with God is because we don’t reverence Him enough to prepare for His presence. In Exodus 19 we see how Moses prepared the Israelites for a meeting with Jehovah. In our text the Lord told Moses to tell the people to consecrate themselves for two days and to wash their clothes. The Lord went on to tell Moses to “Mark off a boundary all around the mountain.” Anyone who crossed the boundary without divine access would die. At the appointed time, the people would hear the sound of a ram’s horn; this was the indicator that the people were clear to approach the mountain and to come in contact with God. Moses did as the Lord instructed. He came down from the mountain, He told the people to consecrate themselves for worship, and they washed their clothes. He even told them to abstain from sexual intercourse for the two days leading up to the encounter with God.
The Bible says, “On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. The people heard a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and they all trembled. Then Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire… and the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder… Moses climbed the mountain. Then the LORD told Moses, “Go back down and warn the people not to break through the boundaries to see the LORD, or they will die. Even the priests who regularly come near to the LORD must purify themselves so that the LORD does not break out and destroy them.” (Exodus 19:16-21 NLT). This is an interesting passage. Once again, I am not saying that we need to revert back to Old Testament practices, but the we have come so far in the opposite direction that I believe we forgot what I means to reverence the Lord.
This reminds me of something that happened the night before my sister’s wedding. My sister Desiree was married in NYC in 2000. The night before the wedding the official party had to meet with the priest for a rehearsal at the church. Our caravan of cars arrived for the meeting and we waited for the priest outside the parsonage. This was a Catholic church in Brooklyn. Most Catholic churches stay open, so I went ahead and entered the church while my family waited. There were a few people in the church, scattered about, praying. As I entered I immediately felt the presence of the Lord. When the rest of the party came in with the priest I was surprised that everyone basically whispered while we rehearsed. It was like no one wanted to disturb the presence of the Lord. When I went back outside it dawned on me that many of my cousins were still outside. When I asked them why they did not come in the church, they said, “I can’t go in there. I know I am not living right.” Wow! While I don’t agree with any religious practice that actually keeps you from God, I respect the reverence they had for the Lord and for His sanctuary. That reverence is very much lacking in the hearts of many believers today..
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
- You must learn the delicate balance between confidence/boldness and humility/reverence. While it is true that God wants you to approach His throne with confidence and boldness, it is also true that He requires you to respect, revere and worship Him. Striking the right balance is necessary in life and especially when it comes to prayer.
- While the Bible teaches you to embrace all that Jesus is, and to approach the Father with boldness because of Jesus, the Bible also teaches you to revere, respect and honor God’s presence. You must remember that it was God who made you and not the other way around (Ps 100:3).
- When you learn to properly balance confidence with reverence, you have the right disposition when we pray. If you are afraid of God, you won’t have any confidence. But if you approach God with arrogance, your pride will stifle your prayers. You must learn to be humble and bold (in Jesus) at the same time.
- Prepare for God’s presence. Create an environment that is conducive to the moving of the Holy Spirit. If you are heading to church to worship, don’t wait ‘till you get there to prepare your heart. Don’t require others, like the praise and worship team, to get you ready. Come ready. Enter God’s presence ready to receive. Enter your prayer closet with your heart tilted towards Him. Honor God. Respect His authority. Worship His deity. Reverence His presence. If you do, your prayer life will be amazing!
Father, this is a season of expectation for me. I clearly acknowledge Your deity and I recognize no other. My heart fears You with a healthy reverence. I know there is a God and I am not Him. I humbly bow before Your presence daily. You alone are the Lord of my life. Jesus died so that I could become Your child and a joint-heir with Him. This reality gives me confidence and boldness. I balance my boldness with my humility, my confidence with my fear, and my audacity with my worship. This balance helps me in prayer. I understand the position I have in Your Kingdom and my understanding helps shape my disposition when I approach You. I come with the right disposition and I know You hear me when I pray. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!