Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” 8 And Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. Ex 34:6-8
This December, Janine and I will celebrate 25 years of wonderful marriage bliss. Yes we have had our moments of being down and moments of being up. But to Janine’s credit, 25 years of living with me is proof that God still works miracles. Twenty five years of waking up next to me has to take a toll. Twenty five years of being by my side, walking with me in my ignorance and foolishness, as well as encouraging me in my moments of triumph and occasional wisdom has been a tremendous blessing to me. Twenty five years of having her presence with me has simply been remarkable and quite frankly is really an act of God. As a flawed man and even more flawed husband, I know that I have not always cherished her the way I ought to… yet she still loves me anyway.
But what I find even more amazing than Janine sticking with me for 25 years is the ongoing, eternal presence of God in my life. To be honest, I haven’t always cherished God’s presence in my life either. I do try to live for God and make decisions that will honor Him, but I don’t always stop to consider how others view God through what they see in me. What I mean is that many times my reactions to things which don’t fit within my scheme often show at that moment I am not treasuring the presence of God in my life. Instead of being quick to fall on my knees in worship, I react selfishly. My reactions can often depict how badly I thought I was being inconvenienced, instead of acknowledging the impact God should have on that moment. This really is an area where I need more consistent growth. Whether it is a trial or a triumph, I know I need to be quicker to worship instead of reacting.
Tracing the reasons for my own reactions, I discovered that I often take God’s presence with me too lightly. I can’t help but think I am not alone in viewing the presence of God too flippantly. We often fail to consider how the very personal presence of God in our lives is one of the ways we can have an impact on others. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16, that when what we do testifies to God’s presence in our life and the intimacy we share with Him as our Heavenly Father, then we are letting our light shine. When you read verses like 1 Peter 5:7 or Psalm 61:1&2 you find great comfort in knowing that no matter where you are, you can cry out to God in your time of need. God is with us everywhere in every situation. Are we quick to worship God in our tragedies or do we blame Him for them? Are we quick to worship in our triumphs or do we get the praise?
Moses’ response is instructive to us. After hearing what God says, Moses was moved to worship quickly. He didn’t stand around and wait to see God do something before he appreciated God. He knew God was with him, right there at that very moment. Hearing that generations to come would experience the fall out of the sinful choices of the previous generation moved Moses to fall down face first and truly worship. To hear God proclaim Himself as one of mercy and forgiveness moved Moses to intercede on their behalf. Moses was quick to worship.
Does God’s mercy and forgiveness make you quick to worship? Does knowing that if we reject God’s mercy and forgiveness today, and that the impact of that choice will last for generations to come make you quick to worship? The context of the verses above is from the time Israel received the Law from God describing what God would do and how His people were to live. Instead of walking in obedience, the people of Israel turned to idol worship. They doubted God was with them or wanted to continue to be with them. They failed to get God’s point that to enjoy His presence they had to worship Him on His terms, not theirs. They weren’t appreciative of God’s mercy and forgiveness. They did not want to walk by faith. Instead they wanted to construct a god they could touch and see, a god made with their hands, an impersonal god. But God is very personal. God wanted and still wants a relationship with them and us. God, the I AM, the self-existent one, the God no one could fashion with their hands, would have nothing to do with that. God was so angry with them that He was ready to wipe them all out and start over with Moses. But Moses interceded on their behalf and God showed mercy.
That is what Jesus did for us. He interceded on our behalf. He died for us. To provide the only way possible for sinful humanity to have a relationship with a holy God, God had to step in and act. That is mercy and grace! As a result of all Christ accomplished on the cross, the Holy Spirit now indwells every believer and He promised to never leave us or forsake us. God’s presence is with us always in all places.Does that make you quick to worship?
Do you treasure the presence of God in your life? Are you celebrating the fact that God in His mercy saved you and chose to dwell with you? What evidence points to that fact? Is there a faithfulness to sacrifice your time, your energy, your finances, etc. to minister for God’s glory? Are you interceding for others who don’t appreciate the mercy and presence of God? Have you replaced the joy and satisfaction of the presence of God in your life with the pursuit of other treasures that won’t satisfy? Are you quick to worship, both in times of trial and triumph?
Being quick to worship is directly proportionate to the degree we treasure God’s presence in our life.