In Exodus 14:10-12, the children of Israel found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and the approaching armies of Egypt. Their cry to Moses was, it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. God had a wonderful land of promise ready for them to take, but they were willing to throw all of that away and stay with what they knew about, because the way seemed hard. Many Christians today are just like that. They are comfortable with what they have and are therefore unwilling to take the steps that lead on to a better place. If only they knew what God had prepared for them.
When it came time for the Israelites to posses the promised land, Joshua sent men in to describe the land (Joshua 18:8). In this lesson we want to take a walk through the land and describe it in order to get an idea of what God has for those who get to know Him.
I. Expect Great Times
There are some people in this world that are just exciting to be around. Great things and exciting times always seem to surround them. As we study the lives of those men who really knew their God, we find that God is one of those persons that is great to be around. As we consider some specific examples, keep in mind that we can expect great times like these when we get close to the God of heaven.
No doubt Enoch was a man who knew God well since Genesis 5:24 says that he was a man that walked with God. Apparently one day Enoch was out with God and perhaps God said something like this, "Enoch, its closer to my home than it is back to yours, so why don't you just come on home with me." Enoch became the first man to experience being raptured.
As we have seen already, Moses was a man who talked face to face with God. Think about the things that Moses saw: the burning bush, the miraculous plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the entire army of the Egyptians utterly destroyed, God's presence on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:16-20), and then the unique experience of seeing the glory of God (Exodus 34:5-8).
Peter, James, and John formed an inner circle of closer friendship with Jesus than the rest of the 12 disciples. There were places that Jesus went and things He said to them that the others didn't get in on. One of the greatest of these was on Mt. Hermon where they saw Jesus transfigured into His glorified state (Matthew 17:1-8). Peter was so impressed by this that he was still talking about it when he wrote 2 Peter 1:16-18.
The 120 disciples in the upper room surely got to know God well after praying for a week. Consider what they got to be a part of in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. Not only did they see the filling of the Holy Spirit, but about 3000 people got saved and added to the church.
II. Expect Great Transformations
We find that those people in Scripture who got close to God were never quite the same afterwards. When Moses saw the glory of God, the Bible says the skin of his face shone (Exodus 34:30). Wouldn't it be great if people saw something different about us because we had spent time with God? We ought to expect that to happen! It has been said before: you are or you soon will be just like your friends. Let's consider just a few examples of the changes we should expect to see when a person gets close to the God of heaven:
David said in Psalm 42:1, As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Consider also Psalm 63:1-8. It seems that David could not get enough of God. The more we get to know God, we will cry like David, "my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land".
Job said "But now mine eye seeth thee Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6). Consider also Isaiah 6:1-5. Both Job and Isaiah were given a glimpse of God that changed their lives. They saw what God was really like and this caused them to see themselves in a new light. Those that get close to God find out what they really are.
In Psalm 119:98-100 we find these three statements: "Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies, I have more understanding than all my teachers, and I understand more than the ancients." When you spend time with God, His wisdom will eventually rub off.
Notice what the rulers and elders of Jerusalem found in Acts 4: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John … they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." What about Moses? When God called him to deliver Israel, he was afraid and claimed that he was not an eloquent speaker. In Egypt, Aaron did most of the talking, but after Moses spent much time with God on the mount, he became a bold and respected leader. As we draw nigh to God, we should expect a greater amount of boldness in our lives.
The Psalms are filled with passages like this: "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches" (Psalm 63:5-6). True satisfaction can be found in knowing the living God.
If you study the life of Abraham, you will find that the closer he got to God the greater his trust in God was. Thus we find statements about Abraham like Romans 4:20, "He staggered not at the promise of God". Perhaps the greatest example of trust in God is found in God's request for Abraham to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22:1-14, Hebrews 11:17-19).
The children of Israel drew back in unbelief concerning the future that God had for them. Consequently they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness wishing that they had trusted God but never able to see the land flowing with milk and honey. We have searched out the land and seen that it is indeed a good land: now, let us enter. Yes, there will be giants in the land and trials lie ahead, but God will be there with us. Egypt and the pleasures of the world lie behind us, but God is better than those things. Let us decide today that we will seek God with all of our hearts and draw close to Him.