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Lowell Brueckner

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The Privilege of Every Christian I

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(I have something on my heart, which I feel constrained to share with you immediately. Therefore, I interrupt our study on the glory of God in the home, in order to give you this vital article, and one which will shortly follow, on the essential need of prayer in the church in our day.)



  
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”                                                Hebrews 4:16



Without getting into the details or the context around this single verse, I wanted to lay it before you as an encouragement to all Christians, concerning the common privilege of prayer. Obviously, not all are preachers or teachers, not all can sing or play instruments and not all can be pastors or deacons, but private or group prayer can be enjoyed by all.



Now I want to take you to a portion of Exodus, which I find intriguing, and one that I really enjoy sharing with brothers and sisters in the faith. It is from the life of Moses and tells of his relationship with God. I’m writing about Exodus 33:7-11:




7. Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.

8. So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.

9. And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.

10. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.

11. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.



A mysterious place to seek God



I am attracted to this tabernacle, simply a tent in common English, which is described here. Through a good portion of Exodus, you will read of the tabernacle that God ordained and you will study its materials, its furniture and its construction. But this is another tabernacle altogether and Moses erected it before the main one and set it far outside the camp of Israel. Its appearance is rather mysterious and after these few verses, we read no more of it.



There is a principle in this account, which I wish to uncover. To further emphasize the mystery of the tent and the small account that we have of it in the word of God, I want to point to a mysterious man in the book of Genesis. If you have studied the book, you know that Abraham is the protagonist, beginning from chapter 11. Even before he appears, in the same chapter we have the descendants of Shem, the son of Noah, and his genealogy connects us with Abraham… Shem, then, was an ancestor of Abraham as, of course, was Noah himself. Previously, we have the account of the flood and in chapter five, we have the genealogy from Adam to Noah. The entire purpose of the book is to give us a biography of Abraham, who was selected to be the patriarch of the Hebrew race. The story of his son, Isaac, follows and then Abraham’s grandson and great-grandsons, the children of Israel.



In chapter 14, a mysterious man, Melchizedek, appears and his story is related in only three verses (18-20). From that point on, throughout the historical books, he is not mentioned again. We could easily conclude, that he plays a minor part in the plan of God. That is, until we come to the Psalms where David, under the Spirit of prophecy, discerns a testimony of Jesus (glance at Rev.19:10). This is a Messianic Psalm and in it, David writes only one verse about this man. He declares that the Messiah is “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Ps.110:4). However, when we come into the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, the writer fills more than a chapter, teaching us of Melchizedek and shows his superiority over even the patriarch, Abraham, and the Levitical priesthood (Heb.6:20-7:28). I find this to be an amazing principle!



Under the same principle, we now have this mysterious tent before us. I want to quote again verse 7, so we will quote it again, keeping it close at hand: “Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.” Can we possibly miss the fact that the writer of Hebrews had this verse in mind, when he wrote 13:13? “Let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” I find this verse very fitting to our times, especially if, as I believe, Laodicea is the dominating church today. The Lord Jesus calls to the individual member in that church in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”



The Laodicean Church does not praise the one, who goes out to Him, bearing His reproach. Most Christians in the West today look for commendation from the world, not reproach. Moses, however, knew of the reproach of Christ. The writer of Hebrews tells us: Moses esteemed “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb.11:26). The individual Christian must go far from the camp, if he is sincerely seeking God, and does not want to be identified with the general, stiff-necked people: “The Lord had said to Moses, ‘Say to the children of Israel, You are a stiff-necked people’” (Ex.33:5).



This tent was not for meeting with other people; it was there to establish communion with God… to meet with Him. We must assure ourselves that we are united to Him, before we can be united with one another. Go with me to John 17:21 for a moment to the prayer of the Son to the Father: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Be very careful how you read this verse. The main goal of the Christian is to be one with the Father and the Son, and not, in the first place, to be united with others. You must go far outside the camp first, and establish union with God. Even if you go alone, you will encounter others there with the same desire, emanating from the heart. With these there will be union and communion.



Prayer is the most important activity of the church



“Then He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?” (Mk.11:17). Therefore, if a church is not a house of prayer, it is not a house of God at all. In Isaiah 56:7, God promises, “Them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful (the most popular Spanish version says ‘I will cause them to recreate’) in My house of prayer.” This doesn’t seem to me to be a fulfilment of duty or a heavy responsibility. With passion, we want to come here! This is where we long to be over anyplace else, isn’t it?



The people stood in reverence, when Moses walked to the tent. It was the most enviable place to be, over the entire universe. Prayer is a privilege and most desirable and nothing can be compared to it. More than Moses, Jesus demonstrated to His disciples the great delight in His communion with the Father. “As He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord teach us to pray…” (Lk.11:1). They heard Him preach His famous Sermon on the Mount, but afterwards, no one asked Him, “Lord, teach us to preach.” They heard Him, as He sat in the boat and taught, but no one asked to be a teacher. They saw amazing miracles, but they didn’t ask for power to do miracles. However, there was something so beautiful, so wonderfully attractive in Jesus’ prayer, that His disciples yearned to experience it.



God’s presence came down in visible form, when Moses entered the tabernacle and the Lord spoke with Him. The people rose to go to the door of their tents, but arriving there and seeing the column of cloud, they worshiped… but the Hebrew has no word for worship. The original word here is to prostrate. The experience was overwhelming and they fell on their faces. Verse 11 clearly declares the enviable privilege of Moses: “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” The wonderful news followed that, without partiality, everyone who sought the Lord” could follow him to the tent of meeting.



Would you please notice the intense hunger in the heart of the young man, Joshua? When Moses returned to the camp, Joshua stayed right there. If someone wonders why Joshua was chosen to take Moses place as leader in Israel, this verse should answer his question: “But his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” He was passionate for God!



Anyone, who has ever been used in the history of the church to bring true renewal or revival, has been a person, who could put all other activity aside, and get alone with God. If you have studied the history of the Christian church over the centuries, you will know that those who led her, were people accustomed to be alone before God in prayer and Bible study. I know of no exceptions. I am talking about going outside the camp as Joshua. This is the one measure, by which someone’s spirituality can be judged.



There are few examples in the Bible of men of intercession, who are on a level with Moses. Even the Egyptians esteemed him for this reason, because he interceded again and again and the plagues ceased: “The man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people” (Ex.11:3). In the tent of meeting he continues to intercede for the Israelites. His relationship of intimacy with the Lord permits him to use much confidence. No one should lightly use the same, without possessing the same relationship. Moses was always reverent, but he was in the position to ask great things of God.



Would you look at his argument in the next verses (12-13)? I paraphrase: “Lord, you speak of our intimacy and of grace that you have shown me. You have given me a mission, but I have to know Your ways and be sure that You are with me.” He has two great desires: 1) To have the evident presence of the Lord with him, and 2) to be able to direct the people in His ways. We know that God answered this prayer by Psalm 103:7: “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.” I think I can say that in this 21st Century, I desire the same for the church. I still want to experience a moving of the Holy Spirit, in which the presence of God is manifested and, in which the Spirit has the liberty to conduct everything in His ways.



 Moses wants Israel to be a people of His possession (15-16) and for him there was no Plan B: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Do you know what I think? I don’t think that we should take this sentence in the form of a teaching, but adopt it as a passion! Are you with me? Can we lift our voices, pleading with God to answer this prayer among us? In the history of the church there have been people with the same determination. They went to prayer and brought revival to the church and the fear of God upon the sinners. They were extremely tired of the work of men, including their own work. “May God move!” that was their cry. Moses continues in prayer, reasoning that if Israel is called to be a testimony before the world, it must be the testimony of God’s presence among them. They cannot walk in the ways of the world. What more can I say? I ask you to read and meditate upon verse 16. God has been waiting to hear this prayer and He promises to fulfill Moses’ desire.


1 comments:
Unknown said...
July 17, 2020 at 2:38 AM  

Thanks brother for this encouragement stirred up my heart even more to seek the Lord "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection ",truly the highest call of man is to the holy place and the highest wisdom of man is to heed and follow that call.

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