GOD’S DESIRE FOR HIS PEOPLE, PART 1

INTRODUCTION

I’d like to share with you a prophetic message from the Lord. Prophetic—not in the sense of what’s going to happen in the future necessarily; but prophetic in the sense that God Himself gave me the entire contents and outline of the message, then He commissioned me to speak it on His behalf.

Now there is a sense in which every message that a minister speaks is prophetic, presuming that the minister got his message from the Lord and not from anywhere or anyone else.  But every once in a great while the Lord speaks a message that enables us to look beyond the trees and see the forest.  Sometimes, we’re locked in to our own perspective and, in comparison to God’s perspective, our own perspective is small and limited. Sometimes, our perspective is inadequate, inaccurate, or just plain wrong and off track. Today,  God wants us to look up, come higher, and see the whole of human history from His own perspective.  He wants us to step back, see the big picture, and understand what this life—your life and mine—is all about.

I’d like to talk to you today about THE TIMELESS, ETERNAL, UNDYING DESIRE AND YEARNING OF GOD FOR HIS PEOPLE. That’s the title of the message and I’ll give you a few moments to ponder what the timeless, eternal, undying  desire and yearning of God for His people could be. I suppose it could be a handful of a number of things. But this is what the Lord said to me:  I long to be with My people. And I earnestly desire that My people be with Me. That’s the timeless, eternal, undying desire and yearning of God for His people. God wants to be with His people.

  •  It is TIMELESS because this desire of God to be with His people did not begin, or come about, in the last year or in the last hundred years. Since the beginning of time and creation God has always longed to be with His people.
  •  It is ETERNAL because this desire of God to be with His people will never change or go away.
  •  This desire of God will never die. God will never quit wanting to be with His people. Over time, with age, maturity, and the circumstances of life, people lose their desire, excitement, and enthusiasm for some things. Their interests, goals, and pursuits change. Unlike men, God will never lose His desire to be with His people. For all time and eternity, God desires to be with His people.
  •  This DESIRE of God is something that God takes great pleasure and delight in. It’s something that God really really wants.
  •  And lastly, this desire of God to be with His people is a real, true, deep YEARNING of His heart. It’s an earnest, heart felt desire. It’s a strong, consuming, homesick type of longing where God lives for the day when His people will no longer be separated from Him, but be reunited with Him and live with Him for ever and ever.

HOW GOD’S DESIRE TO BE WITH HIS PEOPLE IS  MANIFESTED IN THE BIBLE & THROUGHOUT HISTORY & ETERNITY

The desire of God to be with His people is manifested at least seventeen ways in Biblical, human history and the Christian experience.

1) EDEN. When God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, God did not forget all about the man that He created. Rather, He walked with man. Adam walked, talked, communed, spent time, and hung out, with God. Genesis 3:8a reads, And they heard   the  voice  of  the  Lord  God  walking  in  the garden in the cool of the day. So we  see  here at  the  dawn of  time  and creation God’s longing to be with the man that He created. And He fulfilled that longing of His heart by descending from Heaven and walking freely with man.

2) THE PILLAR OF CLOUD & FIRE. When God freed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt He brought them on their way to the Promised Land. And He went along with them on the journey in the form of a pillar of cloud and fire. Exodus 13:21-22, And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: {22} He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. God, I am saying, was with His people and His presence among them could be seen in the form of this cloudy, fiery pillar.

Now the thing about this pillar of cloud and fire was, it stood high up in the sky. It was visible at all times of day and night because God was always with His people. But it was high up in the sky. God wanted to come closer. He wanted to be with His people on ground level. And this is where God’s desire to be with His people is manifested in a third way. That is, in the Tabernacle.

3) TABERNACLE. When God chose the Israelites to be His one and only chosen people out of all the peoples of the Earth, God chose to live in their midst. He had them built Him a House. At first it was a portable Tent called a Tabernacle. Then, much later on, it was a permanent House of Worship called the Temple. Anyways, He had the Israelites build Him a House because He wanted to be close to them and dwell right there in their midst. Exodus 25:8, And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. Exodus 29:45-46 go on to say,  And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. {46} And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth  out  of  the  land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I
am the Lord their God.

The Israelites went on to build the Tabernacle according to God’s blueprint that He gave to Moses. And when He had the Israelites erect the Tabernacle for the very first time—and for every time after that—do you where it was set up? It was set up right smack in the center of the Israelites’ camp. You can read all about it in Numbers 2. God, I am saying, wanted to live right in the middle of His people.

4) THE PRINCIPLE OF HOLINESS. Because God lived right in the middle of His people, and because He was an absolutely pure and holy God who was separate from sin and who couldn’t stand to look upon sin; God therefore required His people to be holy, to be clean, to be righteous, to be separate from sin—because He wasn’t going to be living in the midst of uncleanness and sin. God is a holy God and wherever He lives He demands holiness.

Deuteronomy 23:9-14, When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. {10} If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: {11} But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again. {12} Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: {13} And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: {14} For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

This requirement for holiness and separation is repeated in the New Testament and it is given to Christians as well. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 reads, Be ye not  unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {15} And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? {16} And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. {17} Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, {18} And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

So many Christians see holiness as being a matter of rules, of do’s and don’ts. Many pastors, churches, and Christians have made holiness a matter of rules and rigid enforcement whereby, if you break the rules you can’t be a part of the church. In some extreme cases, they teach that if you break the rules you won’t be saved or go to Heaven.

I’m not in favor of legislating rules over anybody or trying to force, or make, people holy. But when you’ve said and done everything, it still comes down to this: holiness involves self-control. Self-restraint. You voluntarily choose to live by a set of self-imposed, Biblically-based rules, morals, values, principles, convictions, or boundaries because these rules help keep you on the straight and narrow.

However, even after we’ve said this, you still have to look beyond the rules, forget about the rules for a moment, and understand why God wants us to be holy. He wants us to be holy because we’re His people, He lives in our midst, and wherever God is, He requires holiness.   Hebrews 12:14 affirms this, Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. You see, without holiness, no one will see—or be with—the Lord. To spend eternity with the Lord we all have to be holy because where God is, He requires the people around Him to be holy. Holiness is a requirement for communion.

5) SALVATION. When Adam fell his sin separated him from God. God cast him out of the Garden and set two flaming angels there at the Garden’s entrance to keep him from trying to get back into the Garden. Sin separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2 tells us that your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Sin separates us from God. And both Hell and the Lake of Fire are places where the damned live forever separated from God.

But God, in His love for His sovereign, elected people, chose us and saved us from a lifetime and an eternity of separation.  Salvation, you see, is the restoration of fellowship, communion, and togetherness between God and man.  Romans 5:1-2, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: {2} By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  1 John 1:3 goes on to read, That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

So through the wondrous, gracious plan of salvation God could be with His people again! What is salvation all about? In part, it’s all about being reunited with God and living with the hope of spending eternity with Him.

6) BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. After salvation comes the baptism in the Holy Spirit where God’s very own Spirit comes to be with us and He actually lives inside us! John 14:15-17, If ye love me, keep my commandments. {16} And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he
may abide with you for ever
; {17} Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him;
for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

God, brethren, isn’t leaving us alone. He isn’t confining Himself to Heaven’s Throne where He lives. He really, really wants to live right here in our midst—not in a Tabernacle or Temple, but in the temple of our human body. And He’s given us His precious Holy Spirit to give us a little taste of what
it’s like being with God.

7) CHRISTIAN LIFE OR DISCIPLESHIP. Salvation, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the Christian life, are meant to be a lifetime walk, communion
and fellowship with God. When we think about why God saved us the first thing most of us think is, God saved us because He wants us to be witnesses for Him.
That’s true. But what many of us may not realize is, God’s first purpose in making us His disciples is so that we can be with Him. Mark 3:14, And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach. First and foremost, He wants us to be with Him. He wants us to spend time with Him.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 2. I’ll continue looking at the different ways God showed us how much He wants to be with us. It’ll be a convicting conclusion to a prophetic message fresh from God’s heart. You really can’t afford to miss it!

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