At this year’s SBCV Annual Homecoming we shared how God’s hand has been upon the churches of the SBCV over this past year. Thank you for your church’s partnership in the Gospel. We also shared a challenge for us to seek God’s face as pastors and church leaders because the Lord is with us and in us! We must depend upon God‘s presence, providence, and power as a partnership of churches.
We see this truth in Exodus 33. God’s Word shows us the necessity of seeking the face of God. Three (3) reasons we need to seek the face of God.
1. We have a desperate need for God’s presence.
At first glance, the beginning of Exodus 33 appears to be good news. Despite their sin, even though they had built a golden calf, God would still bless them with the Promised Land (See Exodus 33:1–2). But then we read the bad news in verse 3, “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 33:3). The Bible says the Israelites mourned and stripped themselves of their jewelry… (see Exodus 33:4–6).
Here is a warning for us: Beware of prosperity from God causing us to neglect the presence of God. They needed more than just the blessings of God; they needed the God who blesses. We have a desperate need for God’s presence.
2. We have the marvelous privilege of God’s presence. (Exodus 33:7–11)
Moses would enter the tent of meeting and spend time FACE-to-FACE with the Lord, with Almighty God, as a man speaks with a friend. What a privilege for Moses!
Think about the marvelous privilege we have today — We are the tent! Ephesians 2:18 says, “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” The Lord speaks to us directly, through His inerrant, infallible Word. We pray and He strengthens us: Ephesians 3:16, “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”
We have the marvelous privilege of God’s presence. We can seek the face of God. We can talk with God face-to-face as friends talk. We can pray. We have the marvelous privilege of God’s presence.
3. We must declare our dependence on God’s presence. (Exodus 33:12–13)
By God’s grace and favor, Moses makes his request and God answered his prayers. And the Lord responds, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14). God promises His presence. Literally: “My face will go with you.”
In the New Testament, we have the assurance of God’s presence. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). At the end of the Great Commission of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
SBCV has been saying, “You are not alone” for several years now. The greatest reason we can say, “You are not alone” is because “The Lord is with you.” I do not want to move one step forward without the leading of God’s presence. I do not want to just see the hand of God; I need to seek the face of God.
I pray you have a blessed Christmas season of ministry. I also pray you worship and praise the Lord as His child and disciple. I pray you will have blessed time with your loved ones. I pray you will be refreshed and renewed for a new year of advancing the Gospel.
I close with extending and invitation to our SBCV pastors. Please mark your calendars and join us for our 2023 SBCV Pastors’ Prayer Gathering, January 23-24 in Glen Allen (Richmond area), Virginia. I am hoping this will be a wonderful time to gather as brothers in Christ, seeking His face and encouraging one another.
Your brother in Christ,