Introduction…Ever had someone like a friend, parent, grandparent, child, teacher, coach, pastor or perhaps even an attorney intervene or stand up on your behalf, especially when you really really needed it—like if no one stood up for you, you had no hope with respect to the matter in question?
Have you ever chosen to intervene or stand up for someone else’s behalf—a child, a grandchild, someone broke or destitute, someone whom, for whatever reason, you felt needed a second chance?
Ever cosigned a loan note for someone else? Did you offer to sign or were you asked to sign? How did it work out? Was it a good experience or did you feel used in the end?
Ever had your own mind changed because someone else decided to step in and intervene on another person’s behalf before you?
In the end, why does anyone standup for another? And does the intervener serve as a type of hero? Do all rescued people get it in the end? Do their lives or thanks reciprocate the act of kindness and generosity? And if they don’t, does that negate or invalidate the intervention?
Within this study, you are about to experience or witness one of the great acts of intervention of one party on behalf or another before another. The intervener will be Moses. The persons being intervened on behalf of will be the God’s unfaithful nation-bride, Israel, and the party whom the intervention is before? The divine Groom, Yahweh God. Notice how all three play their role within this crucial dramatic moment. Does anything you learn or experience here shape your thoughts and feelings on the act of choosing to intervene on another party’s behalf?
Finally, how might we intervene on others’ behalf before God?
General Introduction… After having been saved by her Lover-Redeemer, Yahweh God, from her slavery in Egypt, in Ex. 24, Israel finally ratifies her national marriage covenant by affirming her wedding vows to Yahweh God.
The official mediator of the covenant, Moses, now goes up on the mountain to be with God and to receive the actual stone record of the covenant (beginning with the Ten Commandments).
While Moses is on the mountain with God, he receives detailed instructions concerning the who, where, when of how a holy and perfect Creator will connect with a very imperfect and immature national bride. This sacred connection will take place within Yahweh’s holy dwelling via his priests offering the people’s acceptable sacrifices.
Then just as everything seems just about perfect, the relationship between Divine Groom and earthly bride suffers a seemingly deadly wound.
While the mediator is away with the Groom, the bride commits Spiritual adultery and worships another god. Despite the Groom’s desire to dissolve the covenant, the mediator begs the Groom not to dissolve the marriage. The Groom agrees, but NOT without repercussions. Ex. 32.
Read Passage several times…
33:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’
2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”
4 When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments.
5 For the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.’”
6 So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.
8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.
9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses.
10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent.
11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, `Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, `I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’
13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.
21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.
22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
• Yahweh tells Moses that he will NOT be going with Israel to the Promise Land. They will go, and his angel will go with them, but he will NOT go, because he might destroy them.
• Hearing this, the nation, not only grieves, but, as commanded by God, removes all bodily ornamentation.
• Moses then pitches a tent outside the camp in which he might have a pow wow with God. In doing so, Moses makes his communication with God still away from the people, but, at the same time, closer to the them.
• Moses goes into the tent in the reverent presence of the entire nation.
• In the tent, Moses makes the argument with God that he has promised to send someone with them to the Promised Land…i.e. the angel of the LORD…but you have not told me who. In addition, you have said that I have found your favor. If I have, show me your way that I may know you and continue find favor in your sight.
• The LORD responds that his presence will go with Moses and that he will give Moses rest.
• Moses clarifies what the LORD means by his promise to go with Moses and that his favor will accompany Moses.
• The LORD agrees that he will not abandon Israel and that he will deliver them unto the Promised Land.
• As confirmation of this promise and blessing, Moses asks Yahweh God to show him his glory.
• So God agrees to Moses’ request and promises to show him his glory, but not his face because seeing God’s face would kill Moses.
Summary…Yahweh promises to reveal his presence and glory to Moses as a pledge that he will honor Moses’ request to accompany Israel to their Promised Land, despite God’s fear of destroying his nation bride due to her incredible propensity for fickle, unfaithful disobedience.
Why? (What truths do I learn about God, man, people, myself, life?)
• God’s design typically includes some type of human intervention in sinful man’s rescue because that is exactly what Moses is doing. Moses’ intervention causes God to relent from his threat to NOT accompany Israel on her journey to her Promised Land. Even our New Covenant redemption from sin comes about through a combination of human-divine intervention through the Son of God giving his life as a sacrificial atonement for our sins. Without his incarnate humanity, Christ could not have died in the first place because God, by definition, because he is infinite, cannot die, but the incarnate God-man did die and was raised to life again, and thus our redemption was made eternally secure. Bottom line…without a divinely-inspired intervention that most usually employs human vessels for delivering God’s salvation, man or mankind would have little hope. Our goal: to be divinely set apart vessels of wise, patient and resilient Spiritual intervention within the lives of others. Our job…our mission is to be used of God to give hope…hope through the truth…hope through divinely-inspired and empowered love.
• So why is intervention so important in God’s grand scheme of things in how the universe operates? And why do human intervene on behalf of others? Is God teaching us that while righteousness demands truth and justice, at the same time, there is hope, because God does intervene within our own self-destruction. Thus while righteousness rightly and justly condemns, grace intervenes offering forgiveness and mercy. Both divine attributes are satisfied—that God is both just and merciful, and that we, his children, should be the same because this is God’s plan for eternal redemption. After the Fall and Flood, man still sins. Man is still fickle. Man disobeys. Man will be unfaithful. But there is a back up plan. A divinely-inspired human intervention. Because sin has been atoned for, justice, in the end, embraces mercy
• Moses is wise enough to realize that while God, via his angel, promises that Israel will make it to the Promise Land, Moses does not want to go on this treacherous and dangerous journey without the presence of Almighty God. If Moses compromises now, allowing God to somewhat informally separate from these stubborn, obstinate and fickle people, what will this bode for the future. Any thought of a divorce must be rejected at all costs, or a dangerous precedent is about to be followed.
• Moses seeks God’s presence as assurance that Israel will not go it alone, which God seemingly easily and graciously grants it, thus foreshadowing his gracious giving of his Spirit to the church via Christ’s intervention in the New Covenant.
Could God have hid Moses in such a rock cleft as this narrow slot canyon in which to allow Moses to both witness and experience God’s glory while at the same time, not being destroyed by God’s immense glory?
Thanksgiving…Rest. Cool weather. Fall. Calm. Quiet. The quiet before the storm? Fall colors. The ball field and grounds are back up to a reasonable snuff. God’s constant financial provision. Did I say, “rest”? Thanks God.
Struggle…Attempting to briefly integrate, seem or stitch together new research and study results concerning the biblical words for love with my original 2010 prosed argument.
The 2010-prosed argument seemed to flow very well and was very simple and to the point, and could almost work as is, but since then I have done some rich, intensive research that makes a one-lane country road into an interstate.
It all has to do with the idea that “love” needs a modifier, and I believe that modifier to be “Spiritual” with a capital “S,” meaning of or inspired by the third Person or the Triune godhead, the Spirit of God…THE SPIRIT…GOD. The less God and the more Man, the less Spiritual, sustainable and fulfilling is Man’s attraction. The more God or Spirit, the more Spiritual, sustainable and fulfilling our “attraction” for others.
Bottom line…not only is a seeming, logical plausibility—the more God, the better our loving—I can make a strong contextual (specific biblical passages), lexical (the Greek and Hebrew words for love) and theological (the Spirit is the Divine’s primary operative person of the godhead functioning within the church) that this is true, and therefore, why the concept of love or attraction needs to be viewed through the lens of how Spiritual is our loving or attracting? If we want to more fully enjoy, experience and meaningful give away God’s loving or attraction, it all begins and ends with the Spirit of God’s presence and influence within our lives—thoughts, feelings and choices…
Truth…Intervention is the PLAN! It was always the Plan! Without intervention, there is NO hope! The question then remains, what kind of intervention? Is the intervention inspired of God? Does it lead to God? Or away from God? We all know we need help. Just what does that help look like? And am I a part of that help? How does the Son and Spirit of God’s intervention within my life, struggle and crooked path, change my path? My journey? Yes, the Son of God’s death atones for my mistakes, but do I get that within this forgiveness and freedom, God’s Spirit wants to teach me how to think as God thinks, how to grow up…how to Spiritually grow up, and to NOT think solely about myself, but others as well. Do I want to wisely, attractively and shrewdly give away what the Spirit is giving to me? Do I want to be used by God to Spiritually shape or straighten out others’ crooked journeys? Do I care? Whom will I intervene for? Why? When? Where? And How?
Application…It would seem personally for me right now, the Spirit of God is using me in several ways to help shape or facilitate others’ Spiritual journeys:
1) I tend to do a lot of pastoral counseling where I typically empower individuals, couples and families with many successful, practical, biblical and Spiritual skills, truths or tools for coping with life struggles and stresses, so that is big;
2) I attempt to shepherd a flock of God’s Spiritual sheep, and while that involves many skills and many of which I mediocre at best at, one of the most significant skills is studying, understanding in context and then attempting to clearly reveal, teach and apply God’s biblical truths to others. In fact, it is the later that has greatly informed the former. My study and teaching has greatly informed my intuitive counseling, listening and question-asking skills. I try to understand what a person is really saying and feeling, and then appropriately redirect them to God’s truth, word, Scripture or practical ways to either think about or act upon what might be bothering them.
3) And then in addition to all the other practical ways I influence people, including within my marriage, family, elders, home church and personal friendships, I am seeking to try to put everything I have learned via life, the Scriptures and counseling into a practicable, teachable, understandable and readable explanation so that others, beside just those I personally influence, might also benefit from what I have learned and am passing on to others.
At the same time, much like Moses or Christ or many many others whose paths I am attempting to walk in, regardless of all my Spirit-inspired attempts to intervene within the lives of others, I need to be realistic. People, like rabbits, can be very very fickle and overly concerned with the NOW, as opposed to turtles and the bigger, long-term Spiritual picture. And yet despite, much rejection and seeming failure, there will be some that get it. My job…to Spiritually intervene. I am not promised who or how many will get it. That is between God and the person, but my job is to be used by God to intervene, to care…to get people’s attention…and then to pray to God for them with the truth I learn from them and their Spiritual condition.
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.