“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:18-19 Exodus 20:18-19 18 And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said to Moses, Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
American King James Version×).
Before this, Israel knew of God. They had seen His great power in delivering them from Pharaoh. But on that day at the foot of Mt Sinai, God became very real to them—and they feared and respected Him greatly. They were willing to do whatever He asked.
Perhaps there have been times in our lives when we’ve experienced God’s presence. We absolutely knew it was He who rescued us from a difficult situation, sent an unexpected “lifeline” or financial windfall, or miraculously healed us. At those times, God became very real to us, in a way that we might not sense otherwise. We committed to follow Him carefully and diligently the rest of our lives. The fact is, we all believe in God; we believe the Bible is His very Word; we continue to grow iand understand His plan for mankind; we accept and are thankful to Jesus Christ for His sacrifice; we believe God gives us His Holy Spirit when we repent and are baptized and hands are laid on us; we believe God will send Christ back and that His Kingdom will be set up on this earth.
That’s knowledge and it is good. How real , though, is God to you and me?
Do we see Him as God who is with us continually day and night? Do we see Him as our Father who is interested in our development as part of His firstfruits? Do we feel His love and support? Do we think of Him every day and in every situation?
Do we turn to Him first when there is a problem in our lives—a financial or health setback, or a problem in our relationships? Do we seek His counsel and rely on Him when we are down, depressed, discouraged or when things just don’t seem to go right? It is important that we realize and remember He is there to help, comfort, encourage and provide the solution—even a supernatural solution if He so chooses.
Do we show Him the respect and honor He deserves? Do we demonstrate faith in Him, or is He a second or third thought when the other things we do or try don’t work out so well? When He is first in our minds, we can learn from our mistakes and consciously choose to amend our ways and surrender our will to His. This helps us remember that His way is best and He can literally provide all that we need. Even with this mindset, after time passes, it can be easy to revert to our old patterns and our old ways of doing things or looking at things. Keeping God at the forefront of our minds must be intentional. Do we speak of His way often, and do we consciously live His way all seven days of the week?
Do we obey Him as we might a physical boss or someone we admire deeply? Do we really seek to please Him, as we would a person we love and want to show, through our actions, that they are really important to us and we want a deep relationship with them?
Are our hearts committed to Him, and do we truly seek His guidance, instruction and correction, as we would an employer or someone in authority who took us “under his wing” and told us he saw great potential in us and wanted to work with us?
As we think about what we do each day, the attitudes we display and the choices we make, we should compare those to the standard God has established for our behavior. Are we doing things His way, really and truly seeking His Kingdom and actively applying the principles and attitudes of His Kingdom into our lives and homes right now? Are we grateful to God for all He does and all He provides? Do we take the time to stop and thank Him and seek His guidance, strength and words during the day, in silent prayers offered from our hearts?
We should be grateful to Him for the love, patience and mercy He shows all of us as we strive to become the person He wants us to be—even as we struggle with our imperfections as Paul describes in Romans 7:15-25 Romans 7:15-25 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
American King James Version×.
How real is God to you and me? We can answer that by taking a good hard look at our lives. If God is real to us—if we are really conscious of Him and grasp what He has offered us—we know exactly what we should be doing and we are constantly turning to Him, listening to Him and putting to death our own ideas and ways and consciously choosing to be like Him.
If God is real to us, and if He really is the most important thing in our lives, then it will show in what we do, how we do it and what we think about. It will show in how we spend our time. It will show in how we treat each other and it will show in our congregations, as His love develops and grows in all of us.