And The Glory Of The Lord Filled The House

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Do you long for your church to be defined not by the style of music or the powerful preaching or the incredible programs or the cool café in the lobby, but by the presence of Almighty God? What would it take to set the right conditions for such a Divine intersection of our lives with his presence? Certainly, God’s sovereignty is a critical factor—he will show up where he chooses, in the way he chooses, when he wants to. But perhaps a key phrase that appears no less than 18 times in Exodus 39-40 is the secret: “And they did as the Lord had commanded.”

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 40:35-35

Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.

After all of the detailed construction of the tabernacle was complete—from the structure itself, to the garments of the priest, to the pots and pans used in ritual worship, the glory of the Lord fill the house.

Feast on that phrase for a moment: “And the glory of the Lord filled the house!”

That is the hope and prayer I have for every corporate gathering in the church where I serve—that every time we come into God’s house to worship him, call upon his name, and hear from his Word, that the glory of his presence would fill his house in an undeniable way.

I bet you long for that, too! Whatever church you belong to, wherever you worship, no matter what the style that defines your spiritual community, my sense is that you and others you gather with desperately long for the manifest presence of Almighty God as you come together. If you are like me, deep down, you don’t want the excellent music, or the great preaching or the beautiful architecture of your building to be what attracts people, you want it to be the glorious presence of God himself. After all, that is what we need most: to encounter the living God.

What would it take on our part to set the right conditions for such a Divine intersection of our lives with his presence? Certainly, God’s sovereignty is at play in this matter—he will show up where he chooses, in the way he chooses, when he wants to. And he does: he reveals his presence in gatherings under trees in Africa, in boardroom Bible studies in Hong Kong, in underground house churches in China, in prayer sessions in dormitories on college campuses. But I want that in my church the next time we gather!

But perhaps a key phrase that appears no less than ten times in Exodus 39 and another eight times in Exodus 40 is the secret: “And they did as the Lord had commanded.” I have a feeling that our slip-shod, overly-casual, low-expectations, anything goes, cheap grace approach to the presence of God these days keeps us from experiencing those deeper dimensions with God that we long for.

Perhaps it is time that we rethink how we plan our worship services. In all honesty, don’t we give more thought to how the people will respond to the music and the message than how God will respond? Of course, worship blesses us, since we were created to worship God and to fully enjoy him forever. But worship is first and foremost for God. He designed it and gave careful instructions for how his people were to approach his glorious presence in worship down to the smallest details. Graham Kendrick offered this insight, “Worship is first and foremost for His benefit, not ours, though it is marvelous to discover that in giving Him pleasure, we ourselves enter into what can become our richest and most wholesome experience in life.”

What if we began to list “for the glory of God alone” at the top of our weekly worship planner?

May doing “everything the Lord has commanded” become our first and highest priority! And may the glory of the Lord fill your house of worship this next Lord’s Day!

Going Deeper With God: Pray this prayer for a visitation of the glory of God in your church: “Father I long for your presence to fill your house where I worship. I pray that you would work in lives of me and my fellow worshippers as you see fit so that the conditions are set for your glory to sweep over us as you did in the Tabernacle of old. God, we long for you, we desire your glory, we need your holy presence. Come among us, I pray, and declare your greatness. We live for you; we are yours, so come and touch your people that we might never be the same.

God’s Work—Our Work

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Our work matters to God, because it reflects his DNA. God is a working God and creative God. We ought therefore to work as if we were to be saved by our works; and so rely on Jesus, as if we did no works.

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 39:42-43

So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.

Thank God for work!  No—really!

When we first meet God in the Bible, he is a creating, working God. In fact, we first learn of God that he is the Creator. He takes nothing and makes it something, turning the mess into his masterpiece. Often in the creation account, we find that when God has finished a certain aspect of his work, he looked it over and upon examination, exclaimed, “that’s good.”

When God created the human couple, he declared that his work as Creator was done, and that it, too was good. In fact, he declared it to be his most impressive work: “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” But he didn’t stop either his work or his creativity; he simply assigned it to Adam and Eve. In Genesis 1:28, God says to the couple, “Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” In other words, now you take what I’ve done to the next level. Creatively work it so that it brings honor to me.

All that to say, in our passage today, we find a parallel to the creation account in Genesis: “Moses saw that the people had done, that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded, and his summation was that it was good. How do we know that? We see that in response to their creative work, “Moses blessed them. On God’s behalf, Moses is looking it over, then saying, “it is so good.”

Among the many things that could be said in commentary on the construction of the tabernacle, one of the things we can draw from this is a theology of work. Work is what God does, and being made in his image, being assigned responsibilities of co-rulership with him, work is what he has called us to do. Work is not a necessary evil, it is at the heart of our God-infused DNA. Furthermore, we have his creativity in our DNA as well, so our work is to be done in a way that creates beauty and value, bringing honor and glory to the Creator. That is why, over in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Colossians believers,

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. (Colossians 3:17-24)

So whether it is managing creation on God’s behalf in Genesis, or doing God’s work in constructing a beautiful tabernacle in Exodus, or giving effort in whatever our daily life brings to us, in marriage, our family, or on the job either as an employee or an employer, God has ordained our work. So therefore,

  1. Our work is to do God’s work. In fact whatever we do is God’s work.
  2. In our work we are actually managing God’s creation for him, no matter what it is we have been assigned to do.
  3. When we do our work as God’s work, and we carry out our work in God’s way, we will never lack God’s favor and God’s provision. Like Moses did with the tabernacle workers, God will review it and reward it.

And as we approach our work in that way, whatever we do, big or small, glorious or common, we will find great joy and eternal significance in knowing we have done it as service unto the Lord Christ.

Going Deeper With God: Reevaluate your work: What you are doing is God-ordained and is an opportunity to be God-honoring. It is an opportunity for you to manage the part of creation assigned to you—at least for the time being—to add value and beauty to it, and to please the true Boss of your work.

God Cares About the Details of You

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

For reasons that are important to God, he saw fit to include minute details regarding tabernacle worship in the eternal witness of the Holy Scriptures. Perhaps in doing that God is reminding us that he cares about the minute details of our lives, too; that we are his holy people—set us apart and sanctified as sacred instruments of God-honoring worship.

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 38:21

This is an inventory of the materials used in building the Tabernacle of the Covenant. The Levites compiled the figures, as Moses directed, and Ithamar son of Aaron the priest served as recorder.

The reading in Exodus today isn’t all that exciting to me, frankly. I found my mind wandering to my “to do” list for the day ahead as my eyes passed over the minutiae of the endless list of strange Tabernacle furnishings. Why would I care about “horns overlaid with bronze at the four corners of the altar”? How will details about the “pots, shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans” provide wisdom for dealing with heady spiritual issues or direction for leading my church toward a glorious future? All this stuff sounds more like a packing list for a camping trip!

But wait…the Lord is in the details!

For reasons that are important to God, he saw fit to include these details in the eternal witness of our Holy Scriptures. Perhaps God is reminding us that he cares about the details of our lives, too, just as he did about the implements of worship for the tabernacle. Maybe he is reminding us through this inventory that we are his holy people; he has set us apart, sanctified us, as sacred instruments of worship.

And, just like the details of tabernacle worship, he cares about the details of our worship. He cares because he is a holy God and he longs for a people who are a holy people who can experience closeness and intimacy with him through the pathway of their worship.

Reading about these ancient artifacts and building plans in Exodus and the archaic sacrificial rituals in Leviticus quickly reminds us that this holy God is very concerned that we, his people, have been selected and set apart for his holy purposes. As we come before God in worship and as we serve God with our daily lives, he doesn’t want our second-rate stuff or sin-tainted lives. He demands, and he deserves, our very best, even in the smallest details.

Given your sin nature and the tendency of your heart to wander, perhaps that sounds to you like you will never be a holy implement of worship. But the good news is that Father God, through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, has cleansed you from all unrighteous and has purified you in holiness. Through his blood, he has made a way into the Holy of Holies; through is death, he ripped the veil separating you from the unapproachable holiness of God. As a Christian, you stand before God in the righteousness of Christ. Yes, you are holy! And that is not due to your own efforts or inherent worthiness. It is all because of God’s mercy and grace.

Yet the truth is, that while your position before God is holy, your walk before him is not always so pure. That is why, on an ongoing, if not daily basis, you ought to surrender your mind—how you think, your heart—what you desire, your hands—what you do, and all your ways down to the minute details of your being to his cleansing power.

God demands daily holiness from you, because he has set you apart to glorify and represent him with your whole life. What an honor that you have been chosen for that purpose! And the God who chose you deserves holiness as your reasonable act of worship. Because of who God is, and for all that he has done to save you, sanctify you and select you, holiness is the very least that you can offer to him.

I have a feeling that even though God demands and deserves your holiness, deep down, as a redeemed believer, holiness is what you desire to give God. And you should know this: that even though you don’t always achieve holiness in your thoughts, feelings and actions, your desire to be holy pleases your Heavenly Father’s heart. So much so is God blessed by your heart’s desire that he will help you this day to present to a holy life before him, even in the details, even in the pots and pans and utensils of your life.

Going Deeper With God: When you surrendered your heart to Christ, his holiness was transmitted to you. You are holy. Now learn to walk in it. As difficult as that might be, God has set himself to help you achieve the holy walk, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

God’s Promissory Note Of Love

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

When you plow through the tabernacle details and are getting a bit bored, or tempted to skip past them, just remember that they are reminding you of a God who cares about your worship because through your worship he wants you to be close to him and him close to you. And furthermore, those details are a promissory note to you that one day in the eternal future, there will no need of a tabernacle because “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb will be our tabernacle.”

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 37:1-9

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. He overlaid it with pure gold, both inside and out, and made a gold molding around it. He cast four gold rings for it and fastened them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. And he inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it. He made the atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. Then he made two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. He made one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; at the two ends he made them of one piece with the cover. The cherubim had their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim faced each other, looking toward the cover.

In chapter after chapter over the last sixteen chapters in Exodus we are provided exacting details of the tabernacle, its furnishing and the supplies that will be used for worship. How exciting this must have been for the children of Israel, who up to this point, worshipped a God who took no form and had no sacred temple where the worshipper could meet with him. Unlike the surrounding nations, their God was invisible. Now he would have a home, and they would have a place worthy of a deity.

From our point of view, it is very likely that as we read this tabernacle minutiae between Exodus 25-40 we may be bored and tempted to “speed read” if not skip over it entirely. Yet since we hold a high view of Scripture, namely, that all sixty-six books of the Bible are inspired by God, and are therefore “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), we must conclude that God included these chapters as a blue print for worship that still has some application for both our corporate and private worship today. And it does.

Many have undertaken the task of explaining the significance of the tabernacle, but that is neither my expertise nor my purpose here. But I would point out three general “take-aways” from this chapter, and its companion chapters, that should remind us of the grace and mercy of the up-close and personal God to whom we belong.

Firstly, it reminds us that Almighty God, the Creator and Sovereign of the Universe, is worthy of our highest praise and continual adoration. In the artistry and richness of the tabernacle—made according to his design—he tells us that our most careful and costly worship is due him.

Secondly, in calling his people to construct a tabernacle that he, himself, has designed, he is showing us that he has come “to dwell,” literally, to tabernacle, in the midst of his people. That is why his people must be holy, worship him in his holiness, and themselves be holy. But more than that, think of how amazing it was for a God to dwell in his awesome but loving presence among his people! And he does. What other god is like Israel’s God. There is no other. How merciful and lovingly kind Yaweh is!

But thirdly, as significant as this house of worship was for the people of Israel as they journeyed through the desert and later on possessed the Promised Land, the tabernacle was also a picture of what was to come—a prophetic foreshadow of a time when God would come to permanently and personally dwell among his people. He would come one day in the glorious incarnation of his Son (John 1:14), and would again one day return in the Second Coming to usher in his permanent and personal dwelling among his people in the eternal kingdom.

When you plow through the tabernacle details and are getting a bit bored, just remember, those details are reminding you of a God who cares about your worship because through your worship he wants you to be close to him and him close to you. So much so does the Creator desire intimacy with you, his creation, that he sent his Son to physically, literally, bring the tabernacle to you and through his death, make a way—a new and living way—into the place of the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy of Holies. And the full and final fulfillment of that Divine desire to have intimate closeness with you and all his people will be consummated at the Second Coming when there will be no “temple in the eternal city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Revelation 21:22)

Learn to read between the details of the tabernacle the promissory note of love that God has left for you.

Going Deeper With God: Exodus 37, along with all the chapters between Exodus 25-40, are in a sense, a pre-incarnate sneak peek of what God has planned for his people in both the First and the Second Coming of Jesus. In anticipation of that, re-read John 1 and Revelation 21—and do it from a heart of grateful worship.

You Are Jaw-Droppingly Gifted

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

It is through the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the body of Christ ministers effectively to God, to itself, and even to the world. How awesome is it that God would share his grace with his children, through the gifts that he places within us, allowing us to be vessels through which his supernatural power flows as the Spirit enables us.

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 36:1

The Lord has gifted Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other skilled craftsmen with wisdom and ability to perform any task involved in building the sanctuary. Let them construct and furnish the Tabernacle, just as the Lord has commanded.

As you read about the work of the uber-skilled craftsman that God anointed for the construction of the tabernacle, you are tempted to stand back in jaw-dropping amazement at the incredible gifting of the Holy Spirit that enabled these workers, Bezalel and Oholiab, to pull off this stunning feat. But do you realize that “the Lord has gifted” you, too. And when your gifts interact with the rest of your spiritual shape, your personality, experiences and passions, the angels stand back in jaw-dropping amazement at what the Holy Spirit has enabled you to do, too!

The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12:1 and 7, “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I don’t want you to be ignorant…. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” What follows is Paul’s description of the body of Christ building itself up and functioning in its God-given call to be the dwelling place of God and repository of truth in the world. Essential to this process of edification is the operation of spiritual gifts within the body. Paul says each one has at least one gift, these gifts are determined and empowered by the Spirit, and they are to be used for the common good, i.e., “as a means of helping the entire church.” (vs. 7 NLT)

When you understand and begin to operate in your gifts, serving according to your passion, the church is unleashed to experience the effectiveness and success that Christ envisioned when he said he would build his church. And the widespread, Spirit-directed operation of the gifts active among all the church members indicates the church’s degree of health. When people are operating in their gifts and authentic ministry is occurring, there is no limit to what God will accomplish through that body of believers to reveal his power and presence to the world.

The presence of spiritual gift in your life—and in the lives of all the others in your spiritual community, means several things:

First, it means that ministry is not just for the pastors, but also for the parishioners. Each believer is called to a ministry, and ministries are enabled only as one understands and operates in the ministry gifts. It is through the gift-based ministry of the believers that God’s grace flows to the body. I Peter 4:10 reminds us, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

Second, it means that ministry is a privilege, not a problem. So many Christians have looked a service in the body as a duty that must be endured, perhaps even resisted and avoided in some cases, and not a joy. Most likely, this occurs because that believer is not serving according to their gifts. When Paul teaches in Ephesians 4 on ministry gifts, he reminds his readers in verse 7, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” Christ gives the gift that enables us to minister. Furthermore, that gift is associated with grace. Seeing it as a problem reveals a profound misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches about gifts.

Third, it means that the impartation of spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit gives you the privilege of being partners in ministry, not a pew potato. I Corinthians 12:7 says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” A gift requires a stewardship, a producing of fruit, a contribution to the common good. An uninvolved believer simply warming a pew is an oxymoron.

Fourth, it means that gift-based ministry releases your potential, which in turn, as your work in harmony with all the other gifts operating in your church, enables your fellowship to grow exponentially. Operating in the gifts of the Spirit release God’s power to work through the Christian in ways that would not ordinarily occur. When many believers are operating in the gifts in a Spirit-coordinated way, unlimited and unexpected results occur. Ephesians 4:16 says that it is through the operation of the gifts, that “the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Fifth, it means that using your spiritual gifts to minister enables other believers to experience God’s grace. I Peter 4:10-11 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms… so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” What is the conduit of God’s grace (the Greek word is charis) in the church? Your spiritual gifts (the Greek word for gifts is charismata).

It is through the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the body of Christ ministers effectively to God, to itself, and even to the world. How awesome is it that God would share his grace with his children, through the gifts that he places within us, allowing us to be vessels through which his supernatural power flows as the Spirit enables us.

Yes, “the Lord has gifted” you “to perform your task involved in building the sanctuary” of his presence among his people!

Going Deeper With God: Have you discovered the spiritual gifts God has placed within you? If not, ask your pastor to help you figure out just how jaw-droppingly gifted you are—then get to work.

Passing The Collection Plate

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Offerings didn’t originate with the preacher, but with God. Interestingly, God could have created all the resources a ministry would ever need to operate if he wanted to. He is God, the Creator, after all. Apparently, he didn’t want to. What he wanted was willing partners who would take steps of faith to sacrifice their own resources to invest in the things that mattered to him.

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 35:4-5, 20-23, 29

This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering… Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. …All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.

Preachers get a bad rap for taking offerings—early and often. Surveys reveal that a high percentage of the un-churched believe there will be an over-emphasis on money if they attend a church service. Even believers—some of them, anyway—clinch their wallets a little tighter when it comes to offering time. Unfortunately, some preachers and televangelists have given folks good concern about getting fleeced.

Yet there is a place in the work of God for giving people the opportunity to give of their time, talent and treasure to support and advance the work of the Kingdom. In fact, the call to give didn’t originate with the preacher, but with God. Interestingly, God could have created all the resources a ministry would ever need to operate if he wanted to. He is God, the Creator, after all. Apparently, he didn’t want to. What he wanted was willing partners who would take steps of faith to sacrifice their own resources to invest in the things that mattered to him.

And when people—you and I—are willing to give and allow God to touch our hearts, as was the case with the Israelites in this story, opportunity and generosity meet to create a miraculous giving moment. Human willingness meets with Divine enablement and the Kingdom of God is advanced in defining ways that please the heart of God and delight the hearts of the giver. What happens in the catalytic moment is what Jesus said would happen: It is better to give than receive. (Acts 20:35)

Arguably there is no more impactful way to partner with the Almighty than by joyfully, willingly and sacrificially giving to his work. It is worship—it honors God with your trust at the most costly level. And it unties his hands to bless you, the giver, with divine abundance—the giver becomes a conduit: the more you give, the more God gives you to give. Generous, joyful Kingdom givers get caught in a cycle of Divine generosity—and there is nary a more beautiful things.

Yes, I know: I’m a preacher who just wants more money. Right? No, wrong! I just want to see God’s abundance unleashed in your life through the joy of generous giving. Just try it, and see if it doesn’t work.

Legend has it that a man was lost in the desert. He’d wandered for days and was near death from thirst. He stumbled on a dilapidated, deserted shack. An old pump was in the yard, likely useless, but he was dying, so he starting furiously pumping. All he got was squeaks and dust.

He was about to give up when he saw a jar nearby. A note was attached, and it still had a little water. It said, “Use the water in this jar to prime the pump.” He suddenly faced a decision: Drink the water in the jar and live a few more hours or put faith in the note and hope for a flow of life-giving water. Then he decided to hedge his bet, so he poured in some in, kept some back, and began to pump. All he got was just a dribble, but there was hope! So he poured in all the water and began pumping. And soon there was all the water he could want.

When he’d fully satisfied his thirst, he filled the jar back up and added to the note, “Believe me, it really works, but you’ve to give it all you’ve got!”

Going Deeper With God: Try it! Believe me, it really works. And if you don’t believe me, at least believe God. In his own words, he says to you, “Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)


The Radiant Face of Your Pastor

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Moses was tasked with leading a people, some of whom didn’t want to follow, others who were jealous of him, and some who just didn’t like him or his style of leading. But God gave Moses a gift to fulfill his high call: the dramatic Presence of God himself. As a result, the glory of the Lord lit up Moses’ face whenever he returned to the people from the Lord’s presence. Most pastors don’t expect something that dramatic, but they do crave God’s approval as they stand before their people. Without that, they’ve got nothing.

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 34:29-30,35

When Moses came down from Mount 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…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.

Most of the direct interaction pastors have with the people of their church is quite positive and appreciative. Those who are upset and who do not appreciate their pastor’s leadership style or his ministerial abilities don’t usually speak to the pastor directly—which is certainly the Biblical approach to handling differences—they tell other people. Pastors usually hear of it either second or third hand, or after the fact when those who are disgruntled have landed in another church.

This is, undoubtedly, the most disheartening thing that the pastor faces. Don’t let your pastor kid you: he takes it personally. (I realize your spiritual leader may be a woman, but just for the sake of discussion, let me use the masculine pronoun to refer to your pastor.) It gnaws at his insecurities, shakes his confidence in his abilities, discourages his spirit, frustrates his vision, and if all that weren’t enough, it hurts his feelings. Yes, pastors have feelings just like you. I know all of this because I am a pastor, and because I interact with enough of them to know this is true.

Is the challenge the pastor faces any different than the one Moses faced? He was tasked with leading a people, some of whom didn’t want to follow, others who were jealous of him, and some who just didn’t like him or his style of leading. But God gave Moses some special gifts to fulfill his high call: miracles, Divine interventions, the dramatic Presence of God himself, and in this case, the glory of the Lord that lit up Moses’ face whenever he would return to the people from the Lord’s presence.

Most pastors I know don’t expect something that dramatic—neither do I. But we do crave some sort of Divine aide that will indicate the Lord’s approval as we stand before our people. Our only qualification to lead is God’s anointing upon our life and ministry. Without that, we’ve got nothing.

What is interesting to note is that even though Moses had these Divine displays of affirmation on his résumé, there were still those who resisted and rejected his leadership. I guess it happens to the best of them—and I guess I, and every other spiritual leader, have to steel ourselves against the insecurities, oppositions and rejections that will assault our leadership at one time or another.

But at the end of the day, for most of the pastors I know, including me, the privilege of representing God to the people and the people to God is more than enough to make up for any slight, oversight, or personal inconvenience we may experience.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Going Deeper With God: Here is a prayer you might consider lifting up to God on behalf of your spiritual leader: “Dear Father, I am not asking for you to make my pastor’s face to glow like Moses. But Lord, it is true that my leader cannot fulfill his Divine calling to lead me and my fellow believers to the victories you have destined our church to achieve without your visible anointing and favor upon his life. So I ask that you would put your hand on him in a special way. Cleanse him that he might contain your holy favor and purify his motives that he might handle your blessing and anointing as a sacred trust. And fill him with the Moses-like enabling Presence that your people will be inspired to follow. Cause your Presence to go before him…let your hand be with him…expand his territory…bless him indeed…and cause his life to expended for your glory and honor.”