Worship Beyond the Mountain: The Wilderness Is Not Your Home & the Mountain is Not My Habitation

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Exodus as it was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-six through twenty-eight of this Old Testament book. YOU WEREN’T DESTINED TO REMAIN AT THE MOUNTAIN FOREVER! I CAME DOWN UPON THE MOUNTAIN, BUT I DESIRE TO DWELL UPON YOU! I DIDN’T DESIRE TO DWELL ATOP A MOUNTAIN BUT TO DWELL AMONG YOU IN YOUR MIDST! THE MOUNTAIN IS NOT MY HOME! I DESIRE TO DWELL AMONG YOU IN YOUR MIDST AS YOU WORSHIP ME! MY PRESENCE MUST MOVE BEYOND THIS MOUNTAIN! MY GLORY MUST MOVE BEYOND THIS PLACE! MY GLORY AND PRESENCE MUST GO WITH AND BEFORE YOU! YOU MUST TAKE WHAT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED AT THIS MOUNTAIN WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO! THE MOVEMENT OF THE GLORY FROM THE MOUNTAIN TO THE WILDERNESS! THE MOVEMENT OF THE GLORY FROM THE WILDERNESS INTO THE LAND OF CANAAN! THE GLORY AT THE MOUNTAIN MUST BE THE GLORY AMONG YOU! I CAME DOWN UPON THE MOUNTAIN, BUT I WANT TO COME IN AMONG YOU! YOU WORSHIPPED BEFORE ME AT THIS MOUNTAIN, BUT YOU MUST WORSHIP IN EVERY PLACE I LEAD YOU! WORSHIP BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN! WORSHIP BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN AND INTO THE WILDERNESS! WORSHIP BEYOND THE WILDERNESS AND IN THE LAND OF CANAAN. I BROUGHT YOU UNTO THE MOUNTAIN TO REVEAL MYSELF UNTO YOU, BUT I GAVE YOU THE TABERNACLE THAT YOU MIGHT WORSHIP ME BEYOND THE MOUNTAIN! THE TABERNACLE; THE PLACE OF PRESENCE AND GLORY! THE TABERNACLE: THE PLACE OF WORSHIP AND OFFERINGS! THE INSTRUMENTS OF THE TABERNACLE! THE COVERING OF THE TABERNACLE! THE CLOTHING OF THE TABERNACLE! THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE! AN ALTAR REVEALED & AN ALTAR CONCEALED! A PUBLIC ALTAR AND A PRIVATE ALTAR! LET THEM MAKE ME A SANCTUARY! THAT I MAY DWELL AMONG THEM! ACCORDING TO ALL THAT I SHEW THEE! When you come to this series of chapters found within the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find Moses still atop the mountain of God in the wilderness where He stood before the LORD God of the Hebrews as He called him to draw near unto Himself. What’s interesting and worth noting is how the Lord spoke unto Moses from the midst of the thick darkness and clouds which descended upon and covered the mountain. If you read and study these chapters—beginning with the twentieth chapter—you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that the living God began speaking unto Moses and unto the children of Israel according to His nature and character as it is found within the Ten Commandments which were given unto Moses atop the mountain. It would be while Moses was atop the mountain He would speak face to face with the living God and would hear Him speaking directly unto him His laws and statutes. With that being said, we must recognize and understand that the first words the Lord spoke from the midst of the thick clouds and darkness which had descended upon the mountain in the wilderness was an emphatic declaration that He was indeed the LORD God who had brought them up from the house of bondage and out of their slavery and affliction within the land of Egypt.

As you read and study these words you will come face to face with the tremendous reality that when the LORD God of the Hebrews began speaking unto the children of Israel from the top of Horeb in the wilderness He did so by declaring that He was the LORD their God. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and fantastic reality, for within this declaration is an incredibly powerful truth concerning the revelation of God. After having demonstrated His power and great might in the midst of the land of Egypt as He executed judgments upon the land, and having demonstrated and displayed His great strength at the Red Sea when He divided the waters revealing a path for the children of Israel and using those same waters to destroy their enemies in the midst of the sea we now find the living God who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt and through the Red Sea speaking directly unto them. Even more than this is the fact that not only do we find the living God speaking directly unto the children of Israel from atop the mountain of God in the wilderness, but we find Him using His name—the same name that He spoke unto Moses forty years earlier when He declared unto Him that He was THE I AM THAT I AM. Forty years earlier the living God appeared unto Moses and declared that He was the LORD God of his fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. What’s more, is the Lord declared unto Moses that He was THE I AM THAT I AM, and even when Moses asked what name he should speak in the hearing of the elders of the children of Israel in the midst of the land of Egypt, the Lord God declared unto Him that He would declare to them that I AM had appeared unto and spoken unto Him. Now here we are forty years later and the opening words which the LORD God of the Hebrews spoke unto the children of Israel was simply, and yet profoundly that He was the LORD their God—and not only that He was the Lord their God, but also that He was the Lord their God which brought them out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage. When speaking unto the children of Israel the living God spoke unto them and declared that He the LORD, yes, but also that He was the LORD their God. Not only was He the LORD their God, but He was also the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this tremendous reality, for at the very beginning of the declaration the Lord spoke unto the children of Israel was the same declaration which He had spoken unto Moses four decades earlier. It is worth noting that what we find here is the LORD not only using the name which He had spoken unto Moses all those years earlier, but essentially we find the living God introducing Himself unto the children of Israel—essentially for the very first time.

DO YOU REMEMBER OUR FIRST MEETING? DO YOU REMEMBER OUR FIRST ENCOUNTER? The more you read and the more you study these chapters you will find that although the LORD God of the Hebrews had executed judgments upon the Egyptians and upon the land of Egypt, and although the LORD God had demonstrated and manifested His power at the Red Sea when He divided the waters, thus opening a path of salvation for His people, but a path and invitation of destruction for the Egyptians, He had not introduced Himself unto them. Would it shock and surprise you to learn and discover that it is possible to witness and behold the great might, power and strength of the living God and yet not know who He is? Would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that you can experience the manifestations and demonstrations of the divine power of the living God and yet never know Him in a personal and intimate way? There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within these chapters is a God who didn’t want to be known according to His power, but according to His presence. Perhaps the question which we must ask ourselves right now is are we a people who know God according to His power, or are we a people who know God according to His presence. When the living God led the children of Israel through the wilderness three months that He might bring them unto Horeb the mountain of God in the wilderness—not only did He want to introduce themselves formally, but He also wanted to reveal Himself according to His presence. Removed from the land of Egypt and even removed from the Red Sea the LORD God of the Hebrews wanted to be truly known by and among them according to His person and His presence and not merely His power. Oh I can’t help but read the words which are found within these chapters and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that and find that when the Lord led the children of Israel into the wilderness and brought them unto Horeb which was there in the midst of the wilderness, He not only wanted to introduce Himself unto them, but He also wanted to invite them unto Himself that He might be their God. Oh, I firmly believe within my heart that it was there at the mountain where the LORD God of the Hebrews wanted to speak directly to them—away from the judgments of Egypt and away from the display of power at the Red Sea, and in a place where it just Himself and His people. It is worth noting that there are times when the single greatest ways the living God can and will speak to us is in the midst of the wilderness as He calls us unto Himself and as He introduces Himself unto us—perhaps even as He reintroduces Himself unto us. It’s worth noting that the Lord desired to bring His people into the wilderness and unto a place in the midst of the wilderness where it was just Himself and them as He came down among them in their midst to speak directly unto them.

There at the mountain of God in the wilderness we find the LORD God of the Hebrews revealing Himself unto a nation and unto a people. What so utterly and completely fascinates me when I read these chapters is that when the living God brought the children of Israel unto the mountain of God in the wilderness, He brought them as a people. What began with a single encounter between the living God and Moses forty years earlier would now be an encounter between the living God and an entire nation and people. With this being said, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand the awesome reality that when the living God brought the children of Israel unto the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness He brought them there as a community. In other words, what we find within these chapters is not merely revelation of the living God, but revelation in the context of community. If there is one thing we must consider when reading these chapters it’s that the revelation which was experienced there in the midst of the wilderness wasn’t one man’s revelation. There was absolutely no single person—including Moses himself who drew near and approached the living God—who could declare that the revelation at the mountain belonged to them. The encounter at the mountain was the revelation or experience of one single person and everyone else was spectators and bystanders. While it is true the people of Israel saw the lightnings and heard the thunderings, and while it was true they saw the whole mountain shaking violently under the weight and pressure of the divine presence of God, the revelation there at the mountain was not for one single person. There was not a single one from among the children of Israel who could lay claim to the voice of the living God which spoke in the midst of the wilderness, and there wasn’t a single man who could lay claim to the divine presence of the living God which spoke from the midst of the thick clouds and darkness there in the wilderness. This is especially difficult for men and women to hear—particularly and especially in our generation—for there are countless men and women who believe that revelation takes place in the context of individuality and isolation, and don’t realize that revelation takes place in the context of relationship and community. Now you might argue that the apostle Paul journeyed into the wilderness of Arabia and spent three years in the wilderness receiving revelation from the Lord Jesus, yet the revelation which he received there in the wilderness did not take place in the context of individualism and isolationism, but rather in the context of community and revelation, for that revelation would be found within the context of the epistles he wrote, and even in the gospel he preached unto the Gentiles throughout His years of walking with and serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

I have to admit that I absolutely love reading these chapters, for it is within these chapters where we come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that a whole community experienced the revelation of God there at the mountain. There was not a single man or woman among the children of Israel could lay claim to any special revelation from the living God, and not even Moses could do so, for even though He heard the voice of God speaking unto Him, the children of Israel heard the voice of the noise of the trumpet as the living God spoke from the midst of the thick clouds and darkness. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and consider the awesome and incredible reality that more often than not revelation manifests itself in the midst of community rather than simply in the midst of isolationism and individuality. There would be those among us who would like to think and believe that revelation is isolated and takes place in a vacuum, and yet when you read these chapters you will find and discover that the LORD God of the Hebrews not only introduced Himself to an entire community and nation of people, but He also revealed Himself unto a community and nation of people. We must consider and get this deep within our hearts and spirits, for when we read these chapters we must acknowledge and come to terms with the fact that community and revelation are intrinsically linked and connected. There would be those who would like to try and separate revelation and community thinking they can experience the revelation of God solely in the context of personal and private times, and yet the truth of the matter is that some times the greatest revelations we have of the nature and character of the living God take place in the context of relationship and community, as the children of Israel were not only introduced to the living God as a community and nation of people, but they also experienced revelation as a community. The question we must ask ourselves is when we gather together in the house of the Lord week after week—do we experience revelation as a community, or do we treat revelation as something which takes place in a vacuum? Do we treat revelation as something which takes place in the context of community and relationship, or do we treat revelation as something which takes place in a vacuum and a bubble away from and apart from others? The children of Israel came left Egypt together; the children of Israel passed through the waters of the Red Sea together; the children of Israel experienced the bitter waters of Marah being made sweet together; the children of Israel experienced the provision of bread from heaven together; the children of Israel drank of the water from the rock at Horeb together; and now, we find the children of Israel being introduced to the living God together, and experiencing the manifestation and revelation of His presence there at the mountain together as a corporate people and body.

As I stand here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely and completely gripped with the fact that when the LORD God revealed Himself in the wilderness of Sinai He did so in the context of community rather than in the context of individualism. When we read, study and examine these Scriptures we must understand and acknowledge that perhaps one of the single greatest contexts for revelation is not necessarily in the context of individuals, but perhaps in the context of community and relationship. I am still absolutely blown away with and by the fact that there wasn’t a single man or woman present within the community of the children of Israel who could lay claim to the revelation of God there in the wilderness. There in the wilderness the revelation of God took place with the whole congregation of the children of Israel standing before the mount before the living God. Oh the question I can’t help but ask myself and wonder is what would happen if we stood together as community and in community before the holy mount of God which is Zion. What would happen if we embraced community and come together as community before the holy mount of God and experienced revelation together? For the children of Israel they all received and experienced the same revelation and there wasn’t a single person of Israel who did not hear the LORD their God speaking unto them. There wasn’t a single man or woman or child from among the children of Israel who didn’t experience the holiness and presence of the living God there at the mountain as they all stood before the same mountain and partook of the same revelation. In all reality, this was the context that was found in the narrative of the children of Israel in the book of Exodus, for you will find that they experienced freedom and deliverance from the land of Egypt together, as well as experiencing the salvation of the LORD at the Red Sea together. What’s more, is that the children of Israel experienced the bitter waters of Marah being made sweet, as well as water coming forth from the rock at Horeb together as a community. Now they find themselves standing before the mount of God in the wilderness and they experience the presence, the glory and holiness of the living God together. We dare not and must not miss this incredible truth and this incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the awesome and wonderful reality of revelation in community and community and revelation. As the children of Israel stood there before the holy mount they did so standing before the LORD their God who had demonstrated His power and had demonstrated His strength and might in the land of Egypt and at the Red Sea but hadn’t yet introduced or revealed Himself. This is absolutely remarkable and astounding as you take the time to truly think about and consider it, for we would love to think about revelation in the context of individuals separate and apart from community, and yet the truth of the matter is that revelation is often at its height and zenith in the context of community. What’s more, is that the revelation at the mountain wasn’t one person speaking of their revelation or one person speaking of what God had spoken unto them, but rather each and every individual there at the mountain of God had and shared the same revelation which was experienced there at the mountain.

REVELATION IN THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY AND THE SAME REVELATION! What I absolutely love about what we find within these chapters is that when you think about the children of Israel standing before the mount of God in the wilderness you will not find them standing there as individuals, but as community. This is absolutely remarkable and wonderful when you truly take the time to meditate and ponder it as there weren’t separate revelations which were found and experienced there at the mountain of God in the wilderness. There wasn’t one unsocial who was stating that God told them this while another individual declared that God had told them that. There at the mountain of God the entire congregation and community of the children of Israel stood in equal and level ground and they all experienced the same revelation of the LORD God who had brought them up out of the house of bondage and from the midst of Egypt. Oh, there are times when it can be incredibly dangerous when men and women begin speaking about that which the living God has spoken and revealed unto them. Please note and please understand that I do believe that the living God can and does appear unto and speak to men and women in their personal and private time of prayer, worship and devotion, however, I am convinced that it can be incredibly dangerous when we allow ourselves to get caught up in different revelations and that which God spoke to this person at this time or that person at that time. There are times when it can be incredibly divisive and perhaps even confusing when men and women begin to speak of their own personal revelations—particularly and especially when you think about the reality that there is more often than not a hierarchy of revelation in the house of God. There is and there has always been a clear and present danger in men and women speaking of their own revelation which the living God has spoken unto them, and to think and believe that what they have received is somehow superior to that which others have received and experienced. What is so absolutely amazing about the children of Israel standing at the mount of God as a community is that they all stood before the living God equal and on the same holy ground. There was no individual who could lay claim to hearing one thing from the living God, and that God had spoken unto them one thing, while others spoke and declared of that which the living God had spoken unto them. This is quite remarkable and quite astounding when you take the time to think about it, for the children of Israel were all equal before and in the presence of the living God, and there was not one who could lay claim to something beyond themselves. There at the mountain of God in the wilderness they all received the same revelation, and they all witnessed and experienced the same manifestation of the divine glory and presence of the living God. They all saw the Lightnings, they all heard the thunderings, they all saw the mountain quake violently under the weight of the glory and presence of God, and they all saw the fire and smoke upon the mountain as though the mountain were a furnace. Please don’t mistake or lose sight of this tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss the absolutely remarkable and astounding truth that more often then not revelation finds its greatest impact in the context of community.

The more I think about and the more I consider the narrative of the children of Israel the more I am captivated with and by the fact that although they were all brought to the holy mount of God to receive and experience the divine revelation of God—they weren’t destined to remain there at the mountain. It was true the living God had brought the entire community of the children of Israel unto the mountain of God there in the midst of the wilderness, however, we must recognize and acknowledge the fact that the Lord never intended on leaving the children of Israel there at the mountain. It was never the intention; nor was it ever the desire of the LORD God to bring the children of Israel to the mountain of God there in the midst of the wilderness and to let them remain and encamp around the mountain forever. Oh there is a tremendous danger when we think to remain encamped before and round about the mountain of revelation knowing that it was never the desire and intention of the Lord to have us remain at the mountain. As you read these chapters you will find that in the midst of the revelation which the living God manifested in the midst of and before the children of Israel, He was in all reality preparing them to transition and move forth from the mountain and into those places He called and ordained them to journey. I read and I consider the manifestation of the divine presence of the living God atop the mountain and I am drawn to the reality that although He introduces Himself unto the children of Israel, and although He revealed Himself unto them, He did not design, nor did He ordain the children of Israel to remain before the mountain encamped as His people. It was indeed true the living God sought to reveal Himself unto the children of Israel there in the midst of the wilderness, however, in the context of revelation as community there was also the reality of worship in the context of community and worship beyond the mountain. As we read the words which are found within these chapters we must acknowledge the fact that in the midst of the divine revelation which the living God manifested there in the midst of the wilderness was also an invitation to worship Him. There was an initial invitation to draw and come near unto Him as the living God sought to bring the people unto Himself, but there was also the tremendous reality of the living God inviting the people of Israel to worship Him—_and not only worship Him, but also worship Him in community and worship Him beyond the mountain which He had brought them unto. Pause for a moment and consider this, for there are times when the Lord brings us into a place and even reveals Himself there, and we think and believe that where He has brought us is permanent, and so we set up camp there without realizing the Lord never intended on us remaining and abiding there. How many times has the living God brought us into a place, and we have mistaken the place(s) He has brought us into for permanent places, and instead of moving on and moving forth from those places we decide to remain there in that place? A perfect example is found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew where we find and read the account of Jesus bringing Peter, James and John with Him atop a mountain where they would experience a tremendous manifestation of His presence and glory. Consider if you will the account as it was recorded by the apostle Matthew in the seventeenth chapter of the gospel which he wrote concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ:

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elisas talking with Him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (Matthew 17:1-9).

This same account and narrative of the transfiguration of Jesus the Christ is found again in the New Testament gospel of Mark, as well as within the New Testament gospel of Luke. In order to move forward within this writing, I feel it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the words which are found in each of these accounts and narratives, for it is within these narratives where we encounter and come face to face with the reality of our being brought into and our being brought unto a place and thinking and believing that we were destined and created to remain and abide within that place. How many times has the living God brought you into a place—perhaps even into a place where He revealed Himself unto you, and perhaps even into a place where He provided for you—and instead of realizing and recognizing that you were brought into that place for a brief period of time, you assume you have been called to remain and abide in that place? The narrative and account we find within the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke bring us face to face with Jesus the Christ bringing Peter, James and john into a certain place atop the mountain where they would receive and experience a vision from heaven, and in the midst of the vision and in the midst of the revelation the apostle Peter assumed that it was necessary for them to remain and abide in that place. We must think about and consider the fact that just because the Lord brings us unto a place, and even if in that place we experience revelation and vision from heaven and from the living God—that doesn’t mean we were destined to remain and abide in that place. If there is one thing we learn from the account and narrative of Peter, James and John when they were brought unto and upon the mountain of transfiguration, it’s that even though there was a vision and revelation in that place, they weren’t destined to remain atop the mountain, nor were they even destined to build there upon and atop the mountain tabernacles for Jesus, for Moses and for Elijah. Consider if you will the words which are found within the New Testament gospels of Mark and Luke concerning this particular encounter and as you are reading them pause and consider the fact that it’s very easy for us to allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment and in the place the living God has brought us and forget that His bringing us into that place was not meant to be permanent, but rather a place where He could reveal Himself unto us and speak directly to us:

“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with Him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw His glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from Him, Peter said unto Jesus, master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While He thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved son: hear Him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen” (Luke 9:28-36).

“And after six days Jesus taketh with Him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and He was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good fo Russ to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear Him. And suddenly , when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves” (Mark 9:2-8).

The narrative and account of Peter, James and John with Jesus atop the mountain where He was transfigured before them is a wonderful and powerful example of our being brought into a place where we find and experience vision and revelation, and thinking that we have been called to remain in that place. When Peter, James and John saw the glory of Jesus the Christ, when they saw Him talking with Moses and Elijah, and when they cloud came upon and overshadowed them, they were sore afraid, and Peter responded with the only thing he thought to say, for he first declared that it was good for them to be there, and next declared that they should build three tabernacles—one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. This is actually quite interesting, for not only is it incredibly easy to think we have been called to remain where we have been brought, but we also think that we have been called to build in that place. When Peter, James and John were atop the mountain and when they beheld the glory of the living God, and when they had heard the voice and experienced the cloud overshadowing them, Peter immediately assumed that it was necessary for them to remain and abide in that place, and to immediately engage in a building project. What is so incredibly unique and interesting about this is that there appears to be an intrinsic link and connection between Jesus taking Peter, James and John with Him unto the top of the mountain where He was transfigured before them, and the LORD God of the Hebrews bringing them unto the mountain of God in the wilderness. If you read the narrative and account of Peter, James and John with Jesus atop the mountain you will find Peter declaring unto Jesus that it was necessary for them to be there, and to build three tabernacles—one for Elijah, one of Moses, and one for Jesus. This takes on even more meaning when you think about and consider the fact that it was in the wilderness of Sinai where we find Moses leading the children of Israel into the wilderness and unto the mountain of God there in the midst of the wilderness, and there in the wilderness at the mountain—there in the place of and in the midst of the revelation of the living God—Moses received the commandment and instruction to build a tabernacle for and unto the Lord in order that He might dwell in the midst of them, and in order that they might worship Him with their sacrifices and offerings. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the incredible reality that when Peter, James and John were atop the mountain with Jesus, Peter thought to build three tabernacles, and while Moses and the children of Israel were in the wilderness at the mountain of God, Moses was instructed and commanded to build for the Lord a tabernacle whereby He might dwell among them in their midst.

This concept of Moses receiving instruction from the Lord to build a tabernacle is worth mentioning and examining, for it is reality of Moses being commanded and instructed of the Lord to build a Tabernacle for the Lord that we find the awesome and tremendous reality that the children of Israel weren’t destined to remain at the mountain forever. The children of Israel weren’t brought unto the mountain of God there in the wilderness in order that they might remain and abide at the mountain, but rather that they might move on and move forth from the mountain into those places the living God would lead them, and ultimately into the Promised Land of inheritance and blessing which the Lord their God had promised unto their fathers He would bring them into. As you study the narrative and account of the children of Israel there at the mountain of God in the wilderness you will find that while it is true the living God came down upon the mountain before the children of Israel, it wasn’t His ultimate desire, nor was it His ultimate objective. When you read the words found in this passage you must understand and come face to face with the reality that although the living God came down upon the mountain there in the wilderness, His objective and purpose was not merely come down upon the mountain before them, but rather to dwell among them in their midst. Oh that we would recognize and understand that there is a vast difference between the Lord coming down upon the mountain and His dwelling among us in our midst. There is an undeniable and unmistakable difference and distinction between the Lord coming down upon the mountain in the midst of the children of Israel, and His glory and presence appearing before them while they stood afar off and withdrew themselves, and the LORD their God dwelling among them in their midst. What we must recognize and understand when reading these chapters is that there at the mountain the living God did in fact come down upon the mountain, and He did manifest His glory, His presence and His holiness before them, however, His ultimate objective was not to merely come down upon the mountain, but to actually dwell in the midst of His people. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this tremendous reality, for there at the mountain we find a tremendous picture of the contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, for in the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit and the presence of God came upon people, while in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit and presence of God actually came into and dwelt within men. In the Old Testament we find and read of the Holy Spirit coming upon men and women, while in the New Testament we find that rather than the Holy Spirit coming upon men and women, He actually indwelt men and women and abode with them. Here at the mountain of God in the wilderness we are confronted with the direct reality that while it is true the living God came down upon the mountain, His ultimate desire was to dwell in the midst of and inhabit His people.

You might be reading the words of this writing and wonder how and why I could make such a statement, and yet the answer and reality of this matter lies in the fact that the children of Israel witnessed and experienced the glory and presence of the living God as He came down upon the mountain before them and in their sight, however, it would be there at the mountain, and it would be there in the midst of the revelation and manifestation of His presence and person that He would speak unto Moses and give him the pattern of the tabernacle. When you begin reading with and from the twenty-fifth chapter of this Old Testament book you will encounter the pattern of the tabernacle which was given unto Moses—a house where not only could the children of Israel worship the Lord their God with their offerings and sacrifices, but also where the living God could dwell among them in their midst. If you study the pattern of the Tabernacle, and if you study the nature of this dwelling place which the living God commanded Moses to build you will find that the entire purpose and function of it was for the living God to dwell among the children of Israel in their midst. It would have been very easy for them to think about and consider the fact that the Lord had brought them unto the mountain to reveal Himself unto them, and in that place of revelation and visitation they could have remained and abode, however, through the pattern of the tabernacle we come face to face with the fact that there is a distinct difference between visitation and habitation. The Lord was not interested in merely visiting them at the mountain in the midst o father wilderness—even though it was the Lord who led the children of Israel unto the mountain there in the wilderness where He revealed Himself unto them. What we find at the mountain of God in the wilderness is a strong and powerful contrast between visitation and habitation, for it would be at the mountain where the Lord would visit His people as He came down upon the mountain, yet it would be through the tabernacle the living God would actually inhabit and dwell in the midst of His people. What we must recognize and understand is that the entire purpose, the entire nature, and the entire function of the tabernacle was that the living God might not merely visit the children of Israel at the mountain in the midst of the wilderness, thus confining them to the mountain, but that the Lord might dwell, inhabit and abide in the midst of His people wherever they went. So long as they were in the wilderness the children of Israel would set up the Tabernacle in their midst as they encamped round about the Tabernacle, thus indicating the living God being at the center and in the midst of them. The Tabernacle is a truly wonderful and awesome reality that the Lord didn’t merely want to visit them upon the mountain in the midst of the wilderness, but rather He wanted to dwell in the midst of them and abide among them wherever they went—including the land of Canaan where they would inherit and take possession of the land.

What we must recognize when reading these chapters is that the mountain in the midst of the wilderness wasn’t the house, nor was it the dwelling place of the living God. What’s more, is that His glory wasn’t destined to remain at the top of a mountain, nor even upon a mountain in the midst of the wilderness. The glory and presence of the living God must move forth from that place, and it would be the children and people of Israel who would transport the instrument and vessel of that glory and presence with them wherever they went—not only in the wilderness, but also when they crossed over the Jordan River and entered into the land of Canaan. Furthermore, through the pattern of the tabernacle we encounter and come face to face with the reality that the children of Israel were to transport the experience and manifestation which they witnessed and experienced in the midst of the wilderness at the mountain of God and carry it with them from place to place, and ultimately into the land which the Lord their God would lead and bring them into. IN all reality, the glory atop and the glory upon the mountain must transition beyond the mountain, and must become the glory among and the glory in the midst of them. The children of Israel could have chosen to remain there at the mountain and encamp in the place of revelation and manifestation, and yet by doing so they would have missed the awesome and incredible reality that the experience they found there at the mountain was to be one they were to take with them wherever they went. There at the mountain the glory of the Lord came down upon, yet through the Tabernacle we find the glory of the Lord coming in among the children of Israel in each place they journeyed in the wilderness, and even in the midst of the land which was sworn on oath to their ancestors and forefathers. It would be through the tabernacle the children of Israel would experience the glory and presence of the Lord—not atop and not upon the mountain before them, but rather in the midst of and within the Tabernacle in the midst of them. The pattern of the Tabernacle was perhaps the single greatest outcome of the experience and encounter at the mountain, for it would be through the Tabernacle the living God would demonstrate unto the children of Israel that He not only desired to go before and go with them, but He also desired to dwell among them in their midst. The Lord never wanted to be stuck and/or trapped atop the mountain, but rather he wanted to enter into the midst of His people and abide and dwell among them. Oh, let us recognize this absolutely incredible reality, for this reality has the awesome and incredible reality to completely and utterly transform our encounter and experience with the living God, for more often than not we think of the living God who wants to merely come down and visit when in all reality that which the living God wants to do is to enter in, inhabit and dwell among us in our midst.

As you study the pattern of the Tabernacle you will notice that it begins with the instruction to build an Ark of shittim wood which would be overlaid with gold and would have within the testimony of God, and would have upon it the Mercy Seat. While you think about and consider the pattern of the Tabernacle—perhaps one of the most interesting and intriguing realities concerning this pattern is that there was found within the Tabernacle two altars which each served their own unique purpose and function within the Tabernacle. Upon studying the pattern of the Tabernacle you will find and discover that part of it’s composition and makeup is indeed a tale of two altars, as there was one altar which was found in the outer court, while there was another altar which was found in the Holy Place just before the veil where the Ark of the Covenant was. Please pay attention to this, for within the pattern of the tabernacle is a wonderful and powerful picture of a tale of two altars. In all reality, within the pattern of the tabernacle we find an altar revealed, but we also find an altar concealed. What’s more, is that within the pattern of the tabernacle we find a public altar in the court of the Lord, while we find a private altar found in the Holy Place which only the priests had access to. Furthermore, within the pattern of the tabernacle we find an altar that was present within, but we also find an altar that was present without. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this reality, for it is this reality that brings us face to face with the presence of the altar within our own hearts and lives. There is indeed an altar among us within our lives that is a public altar which might be manifested in the house of the Lord, but there is also a personal and private altar which is not found to be in the midst of the sanctuary and house of the Lord. IN all reality, our lives are a wonderful and powerful contrast between two altars, as there is an altar which is concealed among us within our hearts and our homes, and there is an altar which is revealed and is found in the sight and presence of others. There is an altar which we worship the Lord together with others in community and fellowship, however, there is a second altar in which we worship and seek the face of the Lord in that personal and private place. It is that place which Jesus referred to as the closet in which he spoke about us entering into our closet and shutting the door behind us that our Father who sees in secret might look upon and hear our prayers when we cry unto Him. There is a public altar which we gather together with others in the spirit and power of community and fellowship, however, there is a second altar which is not seen by others, and which perhaps isn’t even seen and observed by the naked eye. There is a contrast between the public altar which is manifested among us in the context of community and fellowship, however, there is a second altar which is manifested in the personal and private place—an altar in which we worship and seek the living God in secret and in private.

As we consider the account and pattern of the Tabernacle we must recognize and understand that there is an altar which exists in the personal, private, and invisible realm which isn’t seen by the eyes of others, and there is another altar which is in fact seen and observed by others as we worship together in community. In all reality, I am completely convinced that there is a great and tremendous need for both the person and private altar where we worship and seek the face of the Lord in private within our closet, as well as the public and revealed altar which we gather together with others in community and fellowship. A true and healthy spirituality is one that not only has the person and private altar which is concealed and hidden, but also a public altar which is revealed and visible in the sight of others. There is an altar which exists only between and before us and the living God, and there is an altar which exists in the context of others as we not only worship, but also seek the face of the Lord together in the spirit of relationship and fellowship. As we think about and consider the pattern of the Tabernacle let us recognize and understand that there is a tremendous need for us to worship the living God and seek his face in the personal and private place, but there is just as great a need for a public altar where we gather together with others—perhaps in the house of the Lord, or perhaps in the home of others—as we worship the living God and truly seek his face. Upon bringing this writing to a close I invite you who might be reading these words to carefully think about and consider the fact the Tabernacle was meant to bring us into the reality of the living God dwelling within and dwelling among us versus simply coming down in visitation. The pattern of the Tabernacle was a pattern that was intended to reveal the distinct difference between coming down and coming in, the distinct difference between visiting and inhabiting. OH that we would recognize the awesome and incredible pattern of the tabernacle within our lives, and even the awesome presence of the two altars which we have been called to worship and seek the face of the Lord—both in the context of a personal and private reality, as well as the context of a public reality in community and fellowship.

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