Posts Tagged ‘Israelites’

Becoming Flesh

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14)

This verse is arguably the most profound and exciting statement in the Bible. We know Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but the good news goes much farther than that. Salvation is not merely the removal of our sins, it is access to life as a new creation. Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us to offer a radical transformation of what it means to be human.

Christmas is not only about Jesus; it’s about you and me!

True Humanity:

When John wrote that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us, he used an ancient image the Jews were familiar with. The word he used that is translated “dwelt” literally means “to pitch one’s tent”. It was a reference to God’s dwelling among the Israelites in the tabernacle, a special tent that was the precursor to the temple of Solomon (Exod. 40:34-38). The difference is that the Word, “Jesus” didn’t just dwell among humanity, He became human. He actually put on flesh and became like us… in our frailty and our vulnerability.

As the perfect human, Jesus comes to define everything it means to be human. Whatever Jesus is, that is what He has made humanity to be in Him. To be fully human is to know God (Jn. 17:3)! To be fully human is to live in the knowledge that He loves us, wants us, and will never let us go. Jesus heals and restores our full humanity, becoming for us the Glorious Revelation of how God feels about humanity.

“For God so loved…” (Jn. 3:16).

Jesus shows us what life is all about. It’s about walking in communion with God, being in relationship with the One who created us, loves us, dwells among us, and adopts us as His own precious children. In becoming flesh, Jesus showed us the Father’s love and compassion toward us. He “pitched His tent” among us, because He wants to be with us… to identify with us. God didn’t turn His back on sinners, He came to live among them, to love them and to heal them.

Access to Glory

Lake Victoria

Our access to God’s Glory is through entering into His Presence. We enter the gates of God’s Presence with thanksgiving and step into the courts of His Glory with praise (Ps 100:4-5). The Psalmist tells us that in doing this we will experience God’s goodness, mercy and truth in ways that both transform and increase from generation to generation.

The Glory Realm:

When we spend time in God’s Presence, we are accessing the Glory Realm. Its an atmosphere that revives the heart and renews the mind of the believer. I remind folks often that we enter the Glory Realm through the Presence, because Scripture clearly tells us that Jesus is the only Door into the Father’s heart. Through activities like praying, meditating on the Words of Christ, praise and worship, and looking into His eyes, our faces reflect His influence in our hearts. At the same time, we are being changed on the inside so that our lives begin to reflect His character. As we are transformed in this way the supernatural light that radiates within us illumines our path and increases with even greater splendor.

Moses Our Example:

“When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands he was not aware that his face was radiant, because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. When Moses was finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with Him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” (Ex 34:29-35).

Glory is Visible:

From this passage, it is abundantly clear that the Glory of God on Moses was visible; it was not merely a spiritual or moral characteristic. His face was radiant. This means that there was a shining or a glow about it. We also observe a cause and effect relationship here. Whenever Moses would spend time in the Lord’s presence and speak with the Lord, this glory would appear on his face. We also know that this was limited to Moses at that time, as it did not happen to all the Israelites. It was so unusual that everyone else who saw him was afraid of the splendor radiating from his face. That’s why he covered up his face with a veil.

New Covenant Access:

Now under the New Covenant, the Glory Realm is not limited to one man. All believers have access to God’s Presence and the Glory that radiated from the face of Moses is available to all who know Him. In fact, this glory is even more glorious than what Moses experienced. Notice how the Apostle Paul spoke of the ministry of the Spirit to the Corinthians:

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with Glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its Glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness?” (2 Cor 3:7-9)

The Ministry of the Spirit comes with even more Glory!

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away…But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:12-13 & 16-18).

I Am Sent Me!

Prophetic Commissioning

Limuli, Uganda

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you.’ This is My Name forever, the Name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. (Ex. 3:13-15)

This is what you say, when they ask you – “Who has sent you? Say I Am sent me!”

We see Moses, who had been residing on the backside of the desert for 40 years living in the shadow of the biggest failure of his life. Now he has a personal confrontation with God, who asks him to take on a task that seems way beyond his confidence and abilities. First Moses comes up with excuses and then he asks the question, as if realizing that getting out of this task is a loosing battle. “Suppose I go… what if they ask… who shall I say sent me?”

What a Question:

Asking God who He is? Remember, up to this point, Moses really didn’t know the God of his fathers. He had been raised in the Egyptian Palace and walked in the courts of the Pharaoh. It was like he said, “God I’ll go, but I’ve got to know that You are backing me up here. I’ve got to be able to tell them who told me to do this. Who are You?” Note that the Lord does not rebuke the question, but instead He gives Moses an answer. The answer, that answers all the questions he would ever have again.

What an Answer: “I Am!”

“I AM” …not I was or I will be, but I Am! These two words proclaimed, are more effective than any other two words ever spoken. I AM indicates that God is in the present carrying the authority, right now at this very moment holding all the power in the palm of His hand. “Whatever you need Moses. At the moment you need it – I AM… will be with you!”

An Awesome Promise:

When shacken or rattled by life’s greatest barriers, I Am becomes your answer! God will be with you whenever and for whatever… at the moment we need His helping hand. The God of the Universe, the Everlasting Father, will be exactly what you need when you need Him.

When I feel pressed beyond my ability to endure! When I wonder off track and come to my senses!  When I stand wanting a word in due season! Then I proclaim – “I Am has sent me!” God is here and all is not lost. This very moment I Am is ready with the resources to be everything I require for fruitfulness and success.

God has Sent Me:

So devil, I put you on alert… no weapon formed can prosper. Problems, I will not cast away my confidence. Sin and frailty, you are not my destiny. I Am has sent me and He has become my identity! It is God who works in me both to will and to do His good pleasure. So, I will not tremble nor step back from the assignments of my life… I Am has sent me!

Truly Human

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14)

This verse is arguably the most profound and exciting statement in the Bible. We know Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but the good news goes much farther than that. Salvation is not merely the removal of our sins, it is access to life as a new creation. Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us to offer a radical transformation of what it means to be human.

The Christian holiday of Christmas is not only about Jesus; it’s about you and me!

True Humanity:

When John wrote that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us, he used an ancient image the Jews were familiar with. The word he used that is translated “dwelt” literally means “to pitch one’s tent”. It was a reference to God’s dwelling among the Israelites in the tabernacle, a special tent that was the precursor to the temple of Solomon (Exod. 40:34-38). The difference is that the Word, “Jesus” didn’t just dwell among humanity, He became human. He actually put on flesh and became like us… in our frailty and our vulnerability.

As the perfect human, Jesus comes to define everything it means to be human. Whatever Jesus is, that is what He has made humanity to be in Him. To be fully human is to know God (Jn. 17:3)! To be fully human is to live in the knowledge that He loves us, wants us, and will never let us go. Jesus heals and restores our full humanity, becoming for us the Glorious Revelation of how God feels about humanity.

“For God so loved…” (Jn. 3:16).

Jesus shows us what life is all about. It’s about walking in communion with God, being in relationship with the One who created us, loves us, dwells among us, and adopts us as His own precious children. In becoming flesh, Jesus showed us the Father’s love and compassion toward us. He “pitched His tent” among us, because He wants to be with us… to identify with us. God didn’t turn His back on sinners, He came to live among them, to love them and to heal them.

Shekinah Glory

The word Shekinah does not appear in the Bible, but the word “shakan” clearly does (Ex 24:16) and is often translated as “tabernacle” or “dwelling” of God. This reveals a wonderful truth about God’s desire to be intimately involved in our daily lives. He wants to become more real to us and give us a dwelling place for fellowship and covenant relations. It points toward our greatest quest… to know God personally.

The word “Shekinah” was coined from Jewish history as Rabbis struggled for a way to define the cloud of glistening substance that so permeated their worship and their tradition. Although the experiences of Biblical characters seemed difficult to define; they were nonetheless, powerful seedbeds of revelatory truth that could only be preserved, if they could be documented. The oral traditions of the day were simply not enough. Israel held strong convictions that their worship history was filled with divine visitations of the Presence of God. Seasons and moments in the Shekinah Glory were significant markers that could only be replicated if they were described and handed to the next generation. What they wanted us to know is that God could concentrate His Presence and actually display a manifestation of Himself and His activity.

Shekinah Glory was the visible Presence of God.

The Shekinah Glory was perhaps most evident when the Israelites set out from Succoth in their escape from Egypt. Appearing as a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night, the Glory brought direction and comfort to God’s People; while at the same time, keeping the approaching Egyptians at a distance. “After leaving Succoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Ex 13:20-22).

Shekinah Glory reveals the Goodness of God.

When God speaks to Moses out of the pillar of cloud, it was to assure him that His Presence would accompany the Israelites in their wilderness journey (Ex 33:9-11). Notice how God speaks to Moses “face to face” out of the cloud. When Moses asks to see God’s Glory, he is told: “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Ex 33:18-23). Amazingly God would step out of hiding and show Moses His Goodness… guarding him within the cleft of a rock and the shade of His hand. Why? Because God wanted Moses to know Him intimately. 

  • The Apostle John said, “We beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14).
  • The Apostle Paul said, “…beholding as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, (we) are being transformed…” (2 Cor 3:18). 

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ was the dwelling place of God’s Glory. The clear expression; Word of the Father, that became flesh and dwelt among us. He was the Goodness of God made manifest and every person He healed, restored or delivered from demons was experiencing the Shekinah Glory for themselves. They were understanding for the first time the intimate grace and truth of God revealed through His Son. 

Spiritual Signposts in the Glory!

The Holy Spirit is the Shekinah Glory. His purpose is to brood over us like He did Mary, clothe us like He did those disciples in the upper room and equip us with ministry tools like He did Steven, Philip or the Apostle Paul. Shekinah Glory is still as real as ever and we must actively seek the Lord for signposts and spiritual markers that enable us to know His Presence in our journey. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (Jn 14:21). What He was saying is; that as the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling in our hearts, we would come to know Him intimately. The word manifest means “to make known”. The Holy Spirit makes the Presence and Glory a tangible part of our daily worship as we are loving and living in relationship with Christ.

Jesus said, “the works that I do, he (you and I as believers) shall do also and greater works than these…” (Jn 14:12). How? In the Glory provided by the Holy Spirit, as you live and move and enjoy the Presence of God. Experiencing the Goodness and abiding in the Shekinah Glory… its where the People of God find their dwelling place.

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