Moses & God’s Presence in Man
When all seems dark with no way out, God is ready to reach out and lead us where only He can, but in our desperation we fail to cling to Him and remain stuck, missing our destiny by a long way.

Moses & God’s Presence in Man

         The most important thing in a person’s life cannot be success, wealth and good health but the root cause of that success is God or the devil. To live in the presence, control and strength of God is far more important for life and those who do so will always be successful in the long run. God is ever willing and ready to pull His children out of the pit that we fall into but many keep falling back into the same or some other pit of their creation.

           Moses’ sin of hitting the Rock twice – The Israelites were told to make the Ark of Covenant of Acacia wood and cover it inside and outside with gold and as per legend they made three boxes with the wooden box tightly fitting in between the two made of pure gold (Exodus 25:10-11). It is not the box that mattered but the heavenly contents inside it that represented God’s glory and was guarded by the Cherubim. The Ark contained a golden box containing ‘manna’ or God’s provision, Aaron’s rod that budded for priesthood and the Tablets of stone or the Law. The three items represented the very way that an Israelite is supposed to live.As per Rabbi Y Y Jacobson, a man’s soul is like the box of the Ark, covered with purity inside which then affects the wood that is his earthly nature and is finally covered by another layer of pure gold. The inner pure soul of a man may not be fully known to him and in the centre is the personality or instinctive nature of man which can  be shaped like the wood to any form but is also prone to decay and gets displayed in his behavior outside. The outer layer of gold is supposed to represent the outer stimulus of God’s Word which was available to Adam and Eve through their daily meeting with God and to us through the Scripture.

        The wooden character can be shaped but may vary as per outer conditions that one is faced with. Though one is living in the presence of God dwelling in him and His word outside, yet his conduct may be totally different and evil.  During the Old Testament times the Holy Spirit was not dwelling in man but was given for specific God given tasks only. God chose Bezalel for making all the articles for the Tabernacle and ‘filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship’ (Exodus 31:2-3).  He was equipped by God from both inside and outside with His power.

         ‘The LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’ and after talking to God Moses would return to the camp but his assistant Joshua ‘did not depart from the tabernacle’ (Exodus 33:11 & 17-18). Moses found grace in God’s sight and was known by Him ‘by name’ or by his very character or being. Moses then sought God to show him His Divine glory. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, the skin of his face shone and Aaron and all the rulers of Israel were afraid to come near to him (Exodus 34:29-30). But this was the receding glory which finally disappeared after sometime. Moses sought to see God’s glory but it was not displayed inside him and the power of God’s presence faded afterwards for it affected only the outer covering of his nature.

         Moses was focused on his people and their well being and refused to move forward without God’s presence going with them. He was aware that the land they were going into is though a physical entity but it fulfills the wishes of judgment of a Spiritual God and they were to have their inner spiritual strength through His Divine presence with them and through following the written commands of God. Moses was given the task of teaching the Israelites that they were to speak to God in prayer and to love in obedience of His will. The Rock represented the physical manifestation of God in His Son who was to suffer only once for all of humanity. Once we have a close fellowship with God our internal gold ensures our purity under His hand while the physical manifestation of that must come through obedience to His Word.

         The water from the rock was not under Moses and Aaron’s control but God (Numbers 20:10). Moses sinned in claiming himself to be the one fulfilling their needs by saying, ‘Must we bring water for you out of this rock?’ Thereafter hitting the rock was a show of lack of understanding of God’s word on his part and the great prophet was impacted by external circumstances rather than by the promise of God. Once the spiritual world is aligned the material world will yield all its resources automatically. Moses taught his people this principle, that their being blessed directly depended on careful observation of God’s command where the ‘blessings shall come upon you and overtake you’ (Deuteronomy 28:1-2). A careful study of the commands and the results of obedience and neglect were to have direct affect on their material well being also including protection from the enemies.

         The message God desired to convey to the Israelites was lost through Moses hitting the rock and the new distorted message was that the physical realm had to be forced to submission and would otherwise not listen to the spiritual. The occupation of the Promised Land was based on success in the spiritual realm and Moses had experienced this at the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22) and fighting the Amalekites when his raised hands in prayer on top of the hill directly influenced the battle (Exodus 17:11). The battle for conquering of the Promised Land was more spiritual and victory in that realm was only possible under God’s hand. The twelve spies confessed the abundance of the Promised Land as told by God but failed to remember the past blessings and victories under God’s power and control (Numbers 13:27-33). Ten of them expressed inability and only Joshua and Caleb urged to go in at once ‘for we are well able to overcome it’.  

        Anyone who is not spiritually aligned with God receives no support from within and the shine of the outer gold of his being fades away causing fear and failure.

          Anointing of Joshua and Elisha – Prophet Elijah declared to king Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand’ (1 kings 17:1) and the Hebrew word ‘amad’ means ‘to stand, be established, appoint’. The prophet claimed to be established by the LORD and he stood continuously in His presence in the spirit. Prophet Elijah was filled inside and outside by God’s presence and was always in communication with and focused fully on God and work of His kingdom.

         When time for Prophet Elijah to be taken up came, he asked his successor Elisha to stay back while he was moving on but the latter refused and adamantly followed him (2 Kings 2:1-8). Their journey started from Gilgal, the place where Joshua had circumcised all adult males of Israel after crossing the Jordan river, thus bringing all under God’s covenant protection (Joshua 5:2-3). Prophet Elijah moved on to Bethel and again asked Elisha to stay back. Bethel is the place where Jacob had dreamt of the ladder reaching up to heaven with the LORD standing on top and angels ascending and descending on it and receiving God’s promise of care for him (Genesis 28:12-15). From Bethel he moved to Jericho but Elisha again refused to leave him alone. Jericho was the first city that was captured by the Israelites after crossing Jordan river and every living being was dedicated to God and destroyed while all gold and silver was sent into the treasury of His Tabernacle.

         The Prophet then crossed over the Jordan river by parting the waters by striking it with his mantle and both crossed over to the other side, out of the Promised Land (2 Kings 2:9-10). Prophet Elijah then asked Elisha, his successor, ‘Ask! What may I do for you before I am taken away from you’? Elisha sought that ‘double portion of your spirit be upon me’. Elijah’s reply was about maintaining connection between the physical and the spiritual, by keeping him focused in the sight to receive the blessing.

        Joshua was chosen as successor to Moses but seeing his fear, Moses urged him twice ‘be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid’ (Deuteronomy 31:6 & 23). God also told him thrice ‘be strong and of good courage’ and ‘do not be afraid, nor be dismayed’ (Joshua 1:6, 7 & 9). Thereafter, the Israelites also committed to obey him with the same words of encouragement (Joshua 1:18).  Promises of God to Joshua on his being appointed as leader of Israel also carry a command, ‘Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses’ (Joshua 1:3, 5 & 7). Again he was assured by God, ‘No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you’.

           After such great promises, God commanded Joshua, ‘Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go’. One part is of God who promised to be with Joshua, the inner gold to keep shining bright and the second part was for his obedience to keep receiving from outside, power for the outer covering of gold. It was only with the second part that the first would be fully effective. Both Joshua and Elisha were taught by their respective mentors to focus on both the inner and the external aspects of obedience and fellowship with God.

          Prophet Elijah fought and won a great spiritual battle with the prophets of Baal and fire of the LORD fell and consumed his sacrifice and all four hundred fifty of Baal’s prophets were killed by the Israelites. On the same day after this, as answer to his prayers God caused a heavy rain to come down after a drought of more than three years. Queen Jezebel did not try to capture Prophet Elijah for this but sent a messenger warning him of the same fate by the next day (1 Kings 19:2-3). Elijah fled from the area of the northern kingdom and fled to Beersheba in Judean territory. Jezebel was the daughter of the priest-king Ethbaal (meaning’ with Baal’), ruler of Tyre and Sidon, the two centers of worship of Baal and evil spirits.

        Prophet Elijah fled out of the territory into Judah for he was aware of the plan of Jezebel to isolate him from his spiritual link to the LORD God by invoking and using the evil spirits at night. It was also due to the link of the residents of Canaan with evil spirits that the Israelites were commanded to destroy all living beings in that area. Prophet Elijah was then commanded by God to appoint Elisha as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). Elisha was from a rich family, plowing the fields with twelve yokes of oxen and he sacrificed his pair and served their flesh to everyone there and followed Elijah, after closing all avenues of return.

         Moses talked to God from a tabernacle that he set up outside the camp and then returned back inside but Joshua, ‘a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle’ (Exodus 33:11). He was totally committed to his work as an assistant of Moses, the servant of the LORD. Nobody can receive any special anointing from God for any work for Him without total commitment for the calling. Joshua and Elisha fully surrendered to God and were thus chosen to lead others.

           Lord Jesus is defined as ‘Word (Logos) of God’ and is about the written Word of God in the Scripture (John 1:1). The other word used is ‘rhema’ representing the spoken Word of God through His prophets. The presence of the two witnesses on the Mount of Transfiguration is about the testimony of both the ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’ of God about the identity of the Son of God where Moses and Elijah testified to both aspects.

          A believer’s walk in God’s presence – Whether New or the Old Testament times God has always demanded complete allegiance to Himself but we are more blessed than those of the earlier times. Lord Jesus identified John the Baptist as the greatest ‘among those born of women’ and there are three reasons for that (Matthew 11:11). First, ministry of John the Baptist was prophesied about much before his coming (Isaiah 40:3 & Malachi 3:1) for he was chosen by God to prepare the way through his call to all for repentance and then identifying the Son of God as Lamb of God. Second, he operated in the power of Prophet Elijah to rebuke Herod and the religious leaders of his time. And third, God broke the 430 years of Divine silence when no word from God was received through his testimony.

           But the second part of the same word, places every believer or even ‘the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he’ for he neither received the fullness of blessings of Lord Jesus’ sacrifice nor of the Day of Pentecost (Matthew 11:11). Every believer on the day he surrenders himself to Lord Jesus through baptism is filled with the Holy Spirit in him. Thus we are always in His Divine presence in us, empowering and enlightening us. The Holy Spirit is sent by God the Father ‘to teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you’ or all words of the Lord (John 14:26). What was promised to Joshua by God is given to every believer once he listens to God’s voice from within.

          A Jew wears a kippah or the cap on his head to remind him of the presence of God with him but a Christian is blessed to have the Divine presence of God the Holy Spirit in Him always. The emphasis placed by the Lord on the ministry of the Holy Spirit is ‘to bring to remembrance’ in addition to teaching. One can bring to remembrance only that which was read by us, thus the internal and the external word working together in a believer.  According to Nee, a passage of the ‘logos’ can become ‘rhema’ for a believer on being applied to a specific situation in prayer. 

         Apostle Simon Peter answered Lord Jesus’ question by calling Him ‘Christ, the Son of the Living God’ and in return Lord Jesus called him ‘Petros’ or the ‘rock’ (Matthew 16:16-18). No one can learn about his real identity and reach his full potential without a revelation from God and like Apostle Peter we also need lifting up from our fallen state. LORD God has blessed us with His presence within us for this very reason so that His Word can then become a lamp to our feet and a light shining bright on our paths (Psalm 119:105).

         God has promised to never leave nor forsake a follower of His to equip and guide us to face and be victorious over the forces of darkness in this world. We may be ‘walking through the valley of Baka or weeping’ but His hand is ever available to us to walk in His Divine light. The command to Adam and Eve to ‘subdue and dominate the earth’ was always a task to be completed under God’s hand of empowerment. Without God nothing is possible and with Him nothing is impossible!

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