Grunt before glory

Read: Exodus 39-40, Matthew 24:1-22

Who doesn’t want to see God’s glory? You’d have to be crazy not to. For many in the church, it is (or maybe should be) our primary pursuit.

Exodus 40-34

We all want the cloud to descend so we can bask in the presence of God. But, for as many of us who pursue the glory, nearly as many never see the fullness of it. Why?

Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him.

Exodus 40:16 (NIV)

This verse is followed by seven more that state, as the Lord commanded him. Seven. the number of completion and perfection.

And so Moses finished the work.

Exodus 40:33b (NIV)

He did everything the Lord commanded him. Then he finished the work. And only then did the glory of the Lord fill the tabernacle.

Well, I’m just waiting on the Lord. It is to our detriment that we use the word wait. To wait on the Lord has absolutely nothing to do with sitting in silence and everything to do with getting off our blessed assurance and working toward the high calling that God has set before us.

WAIT: To attend to; to perform. To be ready to serve; to obey.

Moses waited on the Lord by doing exactly as he had been commanded. Not only did God give a long list of very specific instructions, but He also sent His Spirit to empower the craftsman to do their work.

We all want the glory, but very few want to do the grunt work required to prepare ourselves and the place for the Lord’s presence. Christianity is not the easy way out, but the narrow road in. We are called to live a life set apart and that life requires work. Lots of work. Hard work.

We have a whole book of commands that we carry around to make us feel good about ourselves, but carrying the book is the most work many are willing to do. If we would only put into practice all the instruction we’ve been given, perhaps we’d see a lot more of that glory we’ve been looking for. A little grunt may go a long way toward the glory.

Keep on

How often do you try something before giving up? Once? Twice? Maybe three times? In a society where instant gratification is the norm, there are a rare few who really keep on in earnest pursuit of anything. I am convinced that is why there are so many who claim to have searched for God and found nothing.

If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)

Earnest isn’t a word we use often. We often follow it with Hemingway or Goes to Camp. (I know the spelling is different, but when we all use autocorrect, who really knows the difference anymore?)

EARNEST: Ardent in the pursuit of an object; eager to obtain having a longing desire; warmly engaged or incited.

That sounds like more than a hey God, are you there? Kind of looking.

What are things you really look for in life? Say you lost your wedding band, how hard would you look for it? Under a few couch cushions and then give up? Or would you turn the house upside down? The truth is, we will make time to look for and pursue the things that are important to us.

While these words Jeremiah penned were from God to the enslaved citizens of Jerusalem, Jesus made some similar remarks to his followers.

Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.

Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)

When Jesus said, keep on, I don’t think he meant try once or twice. I think he meant keep on until you get what you’re looking for. God isn’t out there playing hide and seek with us always trying to evade capture. He wants us to find Him. But He also wants us to put in the effort to do so.

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 29-30, Titus 1

Zealous

How often do you use the word zealous? I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t land in your every day vocabulary. But maybe it should be. If not in speech, then in thought. Why?

ZEALOUS, adjective. Warmly engaged or ardent in the pursuit of an object.

Even if you don’t use the word, I’m sure that there is a measure of zeal in your life. Is it in the right context, though?

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)

What are you zealous for?  If you’re looking for inspiration toward good works, back up in Titus and read the first part of chapter two. It’s all there, outlined for us. Not only does God ask us to be zealous for good works, but He lets us know what those good works are. This Christianity thing often isn’t as difficult as we make it out to be.

Today, go after good works. Be dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 31-32, Titus 2

Persistence

How long will you chase after someone who does not want to be chased? An hour or so? A day? A week? How about centuries? Millennia?

If you’ve been following along in your Bible, you will have noted long ago that Israel and Judah couldn’t make up their minds about whether or not they wanted to serve God. One king would do right in the eyes of the Lord and another evil. One would rebuild the temple another would tear it down. One king followed the law another made his own law.

Yet through it all, God still held on to His promise.

The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.

2 Chronicles 36:15 (ESV)

When God has chosen someone – whether it be a group of people or an individual – He is persistent in His pursuit. No matter how many times you turn away, He will always want you back. When the world scoffed at Him, He sent His only Son as a sacrifice.

His compassion far outweighs your sin.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 34-36; John 19:1-22