Today’s Reading: Exodus 32-36
Today’s Reflection: Exodus 34:29-30
29) When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30) Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
Spending time with God changes you in ways other people can see.
The Bible says that after Adam and Eve’s mistake in Eden we are now born in sin and shaped in iniquity (Psalm 51:5). There is an internal conflict in man between that sinful nature and what God originally created us to be—reflections of His glory. But by spending time with God, reading His word, learning to hear His voice and follow His ways, we receive power to overcome sin and become more and more the image of God we were meant to be. The children of Israel saw a physical manifestation of this in the glowing face of Moses after he had spent time in the presence of God.
1) If you’re spending time with God, you cannot come away from the experience unchanged. A flower under the rays of the sun doesn’t ‘decide’ to draw nourishment from the light. It is its nature through photosynthesis to get energy from the sun. Likewise it is our nature to gain life, power and inspiration from our creator. Whenever we are in God’s presence we cannot come away from the experience the same as we were before.
2) If you’re not becoming more like God you’re not spending time with God. The example of Moses shows us that the change of becoming more like God is a visible change. We may not see faces aglow with the glory of the Lord today, but the real transformation God brings about is an internal one. If we are receiving God’s love it should be apparent in our actions—actions others can clearly see.
John 13:34-35 — 34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
If you’re faithfully attending church, but not seeing change of this sort, you have to face the challenging truth that going to church and spending time with God are not necessarily one and the same.
3) Spending time with God won’t happen by accident. When God told Moses to bring Israel before Him, the people had to consecrate themselves first. They had to prepare to come before God. They had to put away idolatry and sinful behaviour. There was deliberate intent and commitment involved in coming into God’s presence.
Our lives are filled with distractions, temptations, and cultural mores that constantly challenge God’s truths. We cannot spend a week surrounded by behaviours that displease God, then expect an hour in church to bring about a change in us. We have to be intentional and committed to spending time in God’s presence. If you will make time for prayer, praise, bible study, and Christian community then change will happen.
Note, there is a danger of this kind of deliberate behaviour becoming a series of empty and ultimately meaningless rituals. It is important to remember that the point is building a relationship with God. If the activities you’re engaging in are not giving you more knowledge and understanding of God and who you are because of Him, if they are not allowing you to learn to recognize His voice speaking into your life, you may be too focused on the activity or event and not focused enough on God Himself.
4) Spending time with God changes your nature. The Word says Moses didn’t even know his face was shining. By that point he was so used to spending time in God’s presence the change in him was no longer a change, it was now his nature to be more like God.
When you begin spending time in God’s presence and begin to change—the way you think, speak, act—it feels strange because God’s way is so different from the ways of man that you may have been accustomed to. But over time God’s way seems less and less strange and just becomes your nature. This is God’s hope and plan for you, that His way becomes your natural way of being.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.