|THE MAN OF GOD
Series: Burning Bush Adventures - Part Six
Pastor Stephen Muncherian
July 11, 2010
This morning is our last Sunday looking at Godly manhood - what makes a man a man. We’ve been looking at how God - who created men - how God defines manhood.
What we’ve seen is that for a man to be manly he first needs to be Godly. Let’s say that together: “For a man to be manly he first needs to be Godly.”
That’s a mouthful. Isn’t it? First off its pretty broad and philosophical - hard to wrap our minds around all that. Second, it seems almost impossible. “How am I suppose to be that?”
We’ve been looking at Moses as an example of what manhood is all about - looking at how God worked in Moses’ life. Hopefully that’s been encouraging for you - seeing God at work in Moses’ life. Seeing that God really does want us to get this - to be the men He’s created us to be. God wants to use us significantly in our families and work places and even here at Creekside.
From before Moses was born God was personally involved in the details of Moses’ life. Moses being saved from death - the whole baby in a basket in the bulrushes thing - oh my. Moses being raised in the Hebrew culture and belief - what it means to know the God of Abraham - Isaac - and Jacob. And then, being raised as a son of Pharaoh - educated in the finest schools in the world - raised with Egyptian gods and culture.
Moses alone has the unique understanding of what it means to be a son of slaves and the son of Pharaoh - both ends of the food chain. All that is a purposeful work of God. God preparing Moses to step in as the deliverer of God’s people. Remember when we looked at this?
Moses takes His God given uniqueness and does what? Kills the Egyptian who’s beating the Hebrew slave then orders the Hebrews to stop fighting with each other. Moses the deliverer. Moses the leader.
The result was what? Total failure. Rejection by the Egyptians. Rejection by the Hebrews. Moses fleeing across the desert to Midian - a huge disaster.
Moses’ problem was what? He’s doing it without God. “I’m Moses - the deliver of God’s people in bondage. Don’t confuse me with God’s plan and timing. ” Very linear. Very self-focused. Not a whole lot of room for God in all that.
Moses is about 40 at the time he arrives in Midian. Rejected by the Egyptians. Rejected by the Hebrews. What happens to men who set out to conquer the world - who are totally rejected at age 40? What happens when our male ego comes face-to-face with our inadequacy? When our self-worth comes face-to-face with our mortality - our vulnerability?
What happens when at about the age of 40 your business folds - you’re suddenly out of work - your investments tank - your wife walks out - your body starts to fall apart - when you realize that you’re over the hill - that your kids are stronger than you are and no amount of physical training is ever going to balance that out?
Why do men have affairs in their 40’s? Suddenly they’re addicted to Rogaine - wearing pooka shell necklaces and open collar shirts with their chest hair hanging out - driving around in convertible red sports cars. Men begin to question their masculinity - their future - themselves.
It is not a stretch to imagine Moses sitting by that well in Midian - remember the well? Moses - rejected - a failure - Moses thinking about his life and wondering, “How did I ever get here? This isn’t even close to what I thought I had going for me.”
On the Egyptian totem pole of society - at the far distant top is the royal family - descendants of the god Ra - shades of Stargate. At the top are sons of Pharaoh like Moses. Somewhere towards the top are priests and soldiers - warriors - like Moses. Down towards the bottom - way down towards the bottom of the totem pole - are shepherds.
How hard is that for us? To let go of what we’re clinging on to - our vision for ourselves - and to trust God - in order to become the man God’s created us to be. To go God’s direction with our lives - trusting God - not ourselves.
God - in the wilderness - in the desolation of Moses’ life - God - in all His holiness - speaks to Moses out of a burning bush. Remember the bush?
In the aloneness of where we often find ourselves - after we’ve exhausted all our resources - exhausted all our efforts at trying to be so clever at making our lives work - after exhausting ourselves resisting doing what we know is what God would have us do - when we’ve finally been humbled by the desolation - broken by the wilderness - when we’re finally ready to turn to God - to listen to God - God is already right there where we desperately need Him to be.
God provides a new family - a wife - a son. God provides what Moses needs for life - a livelihood. In the wilderness where nothing makes sense God provides sustenance - purpose - deliverance. A land to dwell in. All that comes from God with the purposeful job title of “Shepherd of Midian.” “Moses, are you willing to trust Me for what your life is to become?”
Which is the great Burning Bush Adventure. We men like adventure. Right? A challenge - hills to climb - mountains to conquer. With God - life really is the great adventure. But we can only go there if we’re willing to stop trying to go there on our own strength and cleverness - to stop making excuses - to stop coming up with objections and fears - and to trust God to take us where we cannot go without Him.
For a man to be manly he first needs to be... Godly.
If we could learn to let God heal us rather than covering our hearts with our version of manliness. If we could learn to be more fascinated with Jesus than with ourselves - if we would be more concerned with knowing Jesus than knowing ourselves - if we were more passionate about following Jesus than following our passions - if we could be more impressed by God’s love for us than impressed by our own love for ourselves - if we could learn to do life in imitation of Jesus - trusting Him for our lives - we would become the men that God has purposed for us to be.
We would begin to live out the great adventure of life. And as God changes us - uses us - our marriages will change. Our families will change. Our communities will change. Our culture - our world will change - when men become Godly men.
I’ve invited Ray Smith to share with us some of what God has been doing in his life. I appreciate that he’s willing to do that. Getting up in front of all of us and sharing from the heart is not an easy thing. Pray for Ray as he comes.
This is not an easy thing. But it is hugely valuable thing. Because its one thing to study about Moses - some guy in the Bible - and another thing to hear an ongoing God story from a brother in Jesus.
RAY SMITH TESTIMONY
Before my time is up, I want to proudly acknowledge my current wife of 20 years, Sheri and my 14 year-old Daughter Kayla, for whom Sheri and I get to share our love with. We have also adopted 2 previously abandoned dogs, Winter and Peanut.
I have the honor of working and ministering at Nursing Homes - what a personal blessing it is for me to help people make the most of the time left to live - we realize our time to live is limited, however, most of us do not know how much time we have or don’t want to think about it. Shortly after getting licensed as an Administrator, one of the residents I knew helped me put things in perspective. I asked, “Do you know who I am?” The reply was, “I don’t, but that pretty young lady by the front door has a list and she can tell you.”
I have been privileged
to work in California nursing homes for 21 years, my
start in life was
on a farm in Kansas. I am
the only boy of
5 children. My parents
survive and lost the farm before I started to school. My dad worked as a labor
foreman in construction and one
of the jobs he had was repairing tracks on bull
dozers. One day his
partner accidentally put the dozer in gear and
ran over my dad, crushing the right side of his body,
his right lung
collapsed leaving him only one lung to breathe with. Any other injuries are
unknown because when the ambulance
arrived, he refused medical attention.
watched him suffer daily trying to stand and walk. What does he have to with my
testimony? He taught me
if you are in pain, drink alcohol
- it provides relief. By
problem with alcohol became my problem.
age 12, I followed his lead and drank every
opportunity, not just to
numb out, I drank all I could. Once
started, I could not stop. I
enough to win the state wrestling championship, get an
MBA degree and
lucky enough to pass the CPA exam.
something was wrong with me but stayed in denial
thinking all would
work out someday. Than is
I used alcohol to help me sleep. So what do I do when alcohol stops working? Logically, for the state of mind I was in, the only way out was suicide. End of pain, right. My dad had taught me another lesson, which thank God I did not have to follow. That is, if the pain and suffering becomes too overwhelming, there is another way out. When I came home early one day from high school, there was the example. He had hung himself to death. I thought, maybe things would be different if I did not drink. I took a chance and cried out one night alone in a park. “God, if you exist, please help me.” When I allowed God to love me, He had another plan. AA helped me overcome the drinking problem. Sober, I was ok with myself for the first time. Then, my prayer to God, “Heavenly Father God, I want you to show me what love is.”
It was not long thereafter that I started regularly attending a local church. I had been attending this church prior to my becoming sober, however, I would come late and leave early. My thinking was, “If they really knew me, I would not be welcome to attend.” On my birthday in 1984, I became reborn by asking Jesus to take charge of my life. One of the members named Carolyn Ulyate became curious to know more about this guy who came late and left early.
What a friend Carolyn became - she was teaching a Bible study for new Christians so I went. Our friendship grew slowly, then we were married. How did I know she would be the one God had in mind to show me what love is? Her wisdom was beyond her years, although she gave me an out because before we were married, she was found to have Stage 4 breast cancer at age 25 and allowed me the option of going forward as friends because of the survival battle she would be engaged in. Her attitude, unlike most was not “Why me?” but rather “Why not me?” She said, “If it were left to me to choose someone to take on this battle, it would be her because I know when I get to heaven I will get a new body, but my soul will last forever.” Carolyn was a witness to her faith to the end of her life at age 28. She even planned her own funeral to be a witness to her love of God - she was the right hand of God as God directed her.
I will be forever grateful for the love of Carolyn and her parents for graciously accepting me into their family. After Carolyn’s funeral, I was able to take a year off, first attending a camp in Idaho for crossroads training, a part of YWAM.
spent some time in Kansas and
called a pastor friend telling him I was coming home,
for what was next, no more did I want to just work for
a paycheck. The pastor
said, “You are an
answer to prayer - we have entered into contracts with
a hospital and
some nursing homes to provide Chaplain services.” So, I took
training (Clinical Pastoral Education) at the Crystal
Cathedral. During the
clinical part of the training, I
visited patients both in nursing homes and an acute
During this training, a mutual friend of my current wife of 20 years and I were introduced. Thank God for this mutual friend. To get a second chance to be married to your best friend is too much to expect - but if not for the grace of God.
If you are hurting in any way, don’t quit. Persevere. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Talk to someone that knows Scripture and read/study the Bible. Thank you for letting me share.
END OF TESTIMONY
“For a man to be manly he first needs to be… Godly.”
God wants us to get this. God’s desire is to transform us and to make us into Godly men who will live out the great adventure of life with Him - being used by Him - bringing glory to Him - radical instruments of change in this world.
How do we do that? I’m glad you asked. Turn with me to Exodus 33 - starting at verse 7. I’d like to suggest 3 simple things. We’re talking about men here so we’re going to keep this simple. You’ll notice on the Sermon Notes that the blanks are one word blanks.
Three steps. Very basic. Very simple. Very powerful. Three things each one of us can do that will put us where God will transform our lives.
Exodus 33 - verse 7: Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent.
First thing we can do to be where God will transform our lives. Number one: Place. Say that with me, “Place”
The tent here is not the Tabernacle. That comes later. The Tabernacle had a fence around it - the altar - the Holy of Holies - the Ark of the Covenant - sacrifices going on. That’s different. This was a smaller tent. Probably something Moses could set up by himself or with very little help - maybe some help from Joshua - maybe a few other guys.
Not that a real man would ever ask for help setting up a tent. But that’s a topic for another time.
Moses takes this tent - which he called the tent of meeting - which in Hebrew the idea is something like “the tent where you keep your appointment.” Tap it in on your iPod - Friday afternoon - tent appointment with Yahweh. This is a regularly scheduled event. Something that Moses does on a regular - ongoing - basis.
does Moses pitch the tent? Outside
the camp. A
The people that are seeking God come to the tent - outside the camp. Why? Because that’s where the tent of meeting is. That’s were Moses keeps his appointments with God. That’s the place you seek God - outside the camp.
Everyone else - all the rest of the nation is back in camp - hanging out at their own tent - gazing after Moses. All the people seeking God - who came out of camp - watch as Moses leaves them and enters the tent - until Moses enters the tent of meeting and gets alone with God.
Are we together here on the process of separation? Getting away from the people? Meeting alone with God? He has to get away from the people - first - in order to spend time alone with God.
All of us need a place - a place to be alone with God. For me - I cherish my Monday mornings. I end up at different places - McDonald’s - Carl’s - Yosemite - a cemetery - a park - someplace where I’m alone or away from any possibility of running into someone.
It doesn’t always have to be the same place. But we’ve got to get away from people - from distractions - from the stuff that’s in our lives. We’ve got to make an effort to get away. Schedule it or it’ll never happen. Make an appointment with God.
Place. Second. Position. Let’s say that together: “Position.”
Verse 9: Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses - who’s in the tent. Not the people outside. But Moses inside alone with God - and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent.
Moses enters the tent. The pillar of cloud descends. The pillar of cloud is what? Symbol of the glory of God - God’s presence - God is there with Moses. God meeting Moses. God speaking to Moses. That’s amazing isn’t it?
When people see the pillar - and they know that the Almighty God of creation - the God of their fathers - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - Yahweh Who’s delivered them out of bondage in Egypt - when they see that the God has come to the tent of meeting to be with Moses - the people do what? They worship. Each person at the entrance of their own tent - rising to worship God.
What’s the largest crowd you’ve been in? I remember being at the opening ceremonies for the ‘84 Olympics. 90 to 100,000 people in the Coloseum - maybe a billion more watching - being at the nexus - the center of all that. Have you experienced something like that? Imagine - maybe 2 million people all standing and worshiping God together. Songs of praise. Prayers of adoration. Rising from this vast multitude. What a moment. Wow!
Moses in the tent. Moses isn’t making smores and serving hot cocoa in the tent. This isn’t a camping trip. This is being in the presence of God. The God Who from the midst of a burning bush told Moses, “Take off your sandals this is holy ground” Holy ground because God makes it to be holy.
The response of the people gives us an indication of what Moses was doing in the tent. Moses is the leader. He’s the example. When Moses worships the people worship. Moses who comes to the tent with the expectation of meeting God - not with swaggering pride and arrogance - macho man with the pooka shells - but in humility - openness - brokenness - awe and trembling before God - the great I AM.
Are we together on the position of Moses’ heart before God? Maybe even his physical position. The people stood to worship. That’s respect. Maybe Moses stood.
This may be kind of a stretch. As good as worship is here at Creekside we don’t have to come here to worship God. Coming together to worship God is great - an act of obedience that God blesses. But worshiping God alone is also something God blesses. When we worship God - just us and God - our hearts get opened up to His. He blesses us with His presence.
praise to God alone
works. Even if you need a
bucket to carry
a tune - a CD or an iPod works to sing along with. I greatly enjoy singing to
God while I’m driving - singing
along with a CD. Other
people may think
I’m strange. But God
Read Scripture to God. So many of the Psalms are prayers. David praising God. Why not read to God in adoration of Who He is. He’s worthy of it. When was the last time you told God how awesome He is?
What’s the position of your heart when you come before God? Expectation? Worship? Openness? Humility? Adoration?
Place. Position. Third: Prayer. Let’s say that together: “Prayer.”
Verse 11: Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Isn’t this one of the most amazing verses in the Bible? Can you imagine this?
“To speak” - “dabar” in Hebrew - means… “to speak.” It has the idea of just talking with someone. “Face to face” has the idea of eyeball to eyeball - nose to nose - directly in front of the person we’re talking to talking to them. “Friend” - “ray-ah” in Hebrew is a companion - a confidant - a colleague.
Numbers 12 God reveals that
He speaks to His prophets in visions and dreams but “not so with
My servant Moses.” God says, “With him I
speak mouth to mouth.” (Numbers
How many of you - as you’ve gone through stuff in life - would have settled for a vision or a dream? Maybe even some handwriting on the wall? But face to face. That’s astounding. Intimate.
The brain rattling truth of the New Testament is that - because of Jesus - we can experience that kind of depth of intimacy with God - perhaps even a deeper intimacy with God than even Moses experienced.
The Apostle John writes, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only be begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Jesus - the Word of God - rather than being spoken - takes on human flesh - born in Bethlehem - taking on all of what it means to be human and lives here with us - fully God - fully man - Jesus coming clothed in humanity is the fullest revelation of Who God is - the fullest expression of His Word.
Jesus - taking our place on the cross - unimaginable suffering - taking on Himself the penalty for our sins - the wrath of God poured out on Him - the unbelievable expression of God’s love and grace and mercy demonstrated. Actions speak louder than… Words. All of that goes beyond what Moses knew.
Moses had to hide in the cleft of a rock while God passed by. God needing to covered Moses with His hand so Moses wouldn’t be toasted by the awesome holiness - the glory - of God. Moses was limited in His relationship with God.
John writes, “We saw His glory.” Not a pillar of cloud or fire. But the face of Jesus. John writes in 1 John 1:1-4 that he saw Jesus - looked at Him - touched Jesus with his own hands. What color were Jesus’ eyes? John knew. What did it feel like to touch Jesus? John knew.
In Jesus - God invites us to take in His glory - to enter into intimacy with Him.
We might be tempted to say to ourselves, “Well, with all the crud going through my mind and my life I can’t imagine why - even if I got off in a tent someplace - why God would ever want to come and speak to me? Why would God ever want to have any kind of relationship with me that comes anywhere close to what He had with Moses?”
Paul writes in Galatians 3:26,27: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
favors His sons. That’s
who we are when we come to God through
faith in Jesus. God’s
sons are clothed in
Christ. We’re entitled to
clothing of the Son because we are His sons - sons of
Father. How could God not
favor His sons -
We need to grab on to that for ourselves. God favors us. He is our Father. He desires intimacy with us - provides for it - enables it - favors us with it.
When we come apart - and humble ourselves before Him - opening our lives up to Him to do with us as He wills - He will speak to us.
Prayer - way too often is us speaking at God. How awesome is it that God desires to speak to us. In fact has spoken to us in His word - written - the Bible - and in the flesh - Jesus. The question is are we willing to listen? Are we willing to take in what He says and to live in obedience to His word?
For a man to be manly he first needs to be... Godly. Godly men live the adventure of life with God. Godly men change the world - starting even right here.
If you’re desire is to be a Godly man - get alone with God - open yourself up to Him - and listen - and obey - what He speaks to you about your life.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright© 1960,1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.