Dirt Or God?

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Dirt Or God?

Text: Exodus 33:1-11


Illustration: When we went to Israel, we had a guide to take us all over the promised land. A guide is super important for a couple of reasons. FIRST, they are able to help to miss the most important things there are to see and learn. SECOND, they make sure to keep you out of harms way and give you advise that will keep you healthy.
So far, so good. Even after everything the Israelites had done to displease him, God would still make good on his promises. He would give his people blessing after blessing. With Moses as their leader, they would finally leave the wilderness and enter the land that God had promised in the covenant. All their enemies would be defeated. By the power of his avenging angel, God would sweep the land clear of danger. Then the Israelites would take possession of the land in all its abundance. Everything was going to work out after all. [Ryken, P. G., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Exodus: saved for God’s glory (p. 1019). Crossway Books.]

1) The Promise Of Dirt

Notice the remainder of verse 3
God said, “because have become covenant breakers (stiff-necked people), you are on your own.”
Illustration: They had become like an ox who would not wear the yoke; refused to shoulder the plow.
“lest I consume thee in the way”
DOES NOT mean God is without self control and loose with His anger.
DOES NOT mean He has the same kind of sinful emotions as we do.
It DOES MEAN God must always respond to sin with perfect holiness and righteousness.
This made it too dangerous for Him to remain “among them”
This was for their own longevity of life.
To be honest, this should have been something they should have seen coming.
This entire Exodus journey, God has been drawing them CLOSER and CLOSER to HIMSELF. (answered prayers, fed them, taught them His law, preparing a place for Him to dwell among them)
There is no doubt that God was totally COMMITTED to this covenant relationship.
“in the midst of thee”
Reference verse 8.
God specifically meant that there would be no tabernacle at the center of their camp.
ILLUSTRATION: When you walk closer to one object, the further you get from the other.
To worship other gods is to distance yourself from the TRUE GOD.
Quote: Martin Luther said, “Whatever man loves, that is his god. For he carries it in his heart; he goes about with it night and day; he sleeps and wakes with it, be it what it may, wealth or self, pleasure or renown.” [Ryken, P. G., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Exodus: saved for God’s glory (p. 1020). Crossway Books.]
When it comes to worship, there is only so much room in your heart…God wants it ALL! (NOT OTHER gods)
Question: Can you imagine life without God?
For them: no altar, no laver, no lampstand, no table for bread, no incense, no ark, and no glory.
One preacher said, “The promised land without God is only DIRT!”

2) The People’s Response

Let’s remind ourselves what God is offering them.
The land and removal of their enemies.
WOW, this is often how many believers act today!
Give us the blessing and remove my obstacles.
I am alright without the blesser as long as I am left with the blessing.
Some have simply made a DECISION for Christ so they can get to Heaven. They do not live with Him as their Savior and Lord.
The response we see from the people is genuine REPENTANCE.
They were both broken over God’s withdraw and their sin.
Notice the removal of their jewelry.
This can be seen as them rejecting their pagan idols and recommitting themselves to serve the one true God.
Notice verse 6 — “stripped” their ornaments off!!!
This verse gives the tone of them PERMANENTLY removing their jewelry.
APPLICATION — When convicted of sin, let us take it off and never put it on again.
We learn a lot from their spiritual commitment by what they do with their gold.
Previously, they used their wealth in efforts to turn away from God.
NOW, they remove the remainder for worship GOD ALONE!
They once used their wealth to make an idol, but now give it up to use it for God’s glory.
Matthew 6:21 “21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
This scripture will ALWAYS ring TRUE!
Where we invest our money indicates where we invest our life. (follow the money trail)
A family budget has been called the “spiritual echocardiogram;” it measures the soundness of a person’s heart before God.
They now realized that even if they had the Promised Land, to not have God there would mean to have lost what mattered most.
They did not what the leadership of an angel. THEY WANTED GOD!
GET THIS — never overshadow your personal closeness to God with the blessing from God!!!
It is ultimately not about what we does for us, but WHO HE IS TO US. (creator, redeemer, sustainer, hears our prayers, sovereign over all things…)
Above all things, KNOWING GOD (experiential) is the greatest treasure one can have.
We should therefore keep God in the CENTER OF OUR CAMP.

3) God’s Communion Of Grace

In our current text, the tension between God and His people have yet to be resolved.
However, we must not miss the loving gesture of God to His people; THE TENT OF MEETING.
If anyone wanted to communicate to God, they would approach Moses and he would take it before God.
One of the most important attributes a believer can keep in view is the HOLINESS OF GOD!
This tent had to be placed way outside the camp.
Since the tabernacle was not yet built (the tent of meeting would be in the center) it had to relocated.
God CANNOT dwell among sin!
God provided a gift of grace through the tent of meeting.
God may not be in the midst of them, but He had not yet abandoned them.
He would continue to communicate through their mediator.
Compare the time we live in and theirs!!!
The “Tent of meeting” is INSIDE US!
Ephesians 3:16-17 “16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,”
The moment you receive Christ as Savior by faith, you become God’s DWELLING PLACE!
You are in direct communication with the Almighty!
Quote: John Winthrop wrote: “I was now grown familiar with the Lord Jesus Christ.… If I went abroad, he went with me, when I returned, he came home with me. I talked with him upon the way, he lay down with me, and usually I did awake with him: and so sweet was his love to me, as I desired nothing but him in heaven or earth.”
Quote: The great Princeton theologian Archibald Alexander wrote, “If Christ be in us there will be communion.… He will sometimes speak to us—He will speak comfortably to us—He will give tokens of his love. He will invite our confidence and will shed abroad his love in our hearts. And if Christ be formed within us we cannot remain altogether ignorant of his presence. Our hearts, while he communes with us, will sometimes burn within us.” [Ryken, P. G., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Exodus: saved for God’s glory (p. 1026). Crossway Books.]
A WORD OF COMFORT — Jesus will never leave your camp!
Matthew 28:20 “20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
This is the progressive story of salvation. God was always moving to a closer intimacy with His people. This converged on Jesus Christ.
One day we will see Him face to face — 1 Corinthians 13:12 “12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
While we are here, God also wants to be in the most inner place of your camp! IS HE WELCOME THERE?


Will you be satisfied with DIRT (blessings) or do you desire a close intimate relationship with God? Will you leave here tonight with your heart with wanting and worshiping Christ ALONE?
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