Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tent of Meeting - S and R

S and R are in East Asia now. Their team is a mix of folks from all over California. No one knew anyone else before they arrived at briefing. They were really thankful for the nametags.

Despite just learning about each other, this team walks into some pretty cool stuff. There are about 40 young believers left behind from last year’s team and around 40 new believers from the summer project. Their first problem is figuring out what fruit remains and what students might be ready to take on more leadership. May we all have that problem.

S asks us to pray for them that they would connect quickly as a team and learn to value one another’s differences. They ask for wisdom as well in knowing whom they most need to invest their time. Pray too for these believers that they will be like the good soil bearing fruit hundred times what was sown into them

Over R’s left shoulder you can see the Tent of Meeting. Moses used to take a tent like that and pitch it outside the camp. When Moses went to the tent, a huge cloud would come down and stay at the front entrance, while Almighty God spoke with Moses face to face. (Figuratively speaking, because the Lord says no one can see his face and live.)

In Exodus 33 and 34, we get a little peak into a face-to-face dialogue between Moses and God. The story starts off with God telling Moses to break camp. “The buses will be leaving in the morning. Take your team to this country that I have promised to give you. I will send an angel to drive out those controlling the land”, the Lord tells Moses. “Oh and one more thing… I am not going with you. This team you are leading is a bunch of hard-headed folks and I just might be inclined to pick them off along the way.”

What are you kiddin’ me?!? God’s not going? If I was Moses, I might be like, “Let’s me get this straight. You want me to lead a team of a million hard-headed people through a desert to a place none of us has ever seen, inhabited by big hairy dudes, and you are not going with us! Oh, you are going to send an angel. Great! Everywhere we make camp, I’ll post a cute little sign by my tent saying ‘protected by angels’.”

So Moses goes into the Tent of Meeting. It’s not just some nice little meeting over lox and bagels. Moses is desperate. It’s great that Moses doesn’t need to wear a nametag because God knows his name and likes him. But Moses goes after deeper things each building on the other. He asks in a desperate manner. He is not leaving that tent without some clear answers.

He asks that the Lord would teach him His ways. The Lord responds by saying His Presence will go with them. Moses replies, “If you are not going, we are not going. How could we succeed? What would be the point?” The Lord says He will do what Moses asks. Moses decides to risk it all and go for the big money. He asks to see God’s glory. God tells Him that He will let Moses see His goodness and proclaim His name but he can only see the backside of His glory while hidden in a rock cleft.

So early the next morning, before the buses arrived, with two stone journals in hand, Moses takes the chair lift up Mount Sinai. (I think it’s translates Copper Mountain.) The Lord comes down and while passing by, He lets Moses see His glory and know His name. Once again, Moses makes sure the Lord is going with them on this STINT.

Shouldn’t Moses’ repeated cry be your cry? Maybe you have an easier team to lead and surely not as big. But you are walking into territory inhabited by an enemy. You – we - desperately need to know the Lord’s ways. We desperately need to have His Presence go with us. (I know He promises to never leave us but it's also a cry that He would show up and move the way He did earlier in the Exodus story.) We need to see His glory. If we know His ways, if His Presence goes with us, if His glory falls down on where we are going… we cannot fail.

Lord, teach us Your ways. If Your Presence does not go with us, don’t send us out. Lord, show us Your glory. May it fall on us. May it fall on our team. May it fall in places where You are sending us.

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