Going Deeper

Knowing More Of God’s Kingdom

Come As You are

No matter where you’re at spiritually, you should desire to go deeper with God. Since God is infinite, we can always know Him more deeply.

Paul who wrote Philippians affirms he wanted to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Then he added (Phil. 3:12-14. So press on! I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Jesus The Bridge

Jesus explained to Philip the resemblance of God in him who many ask for with the reply “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”.

John 1:14 declares, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Although newlyweds may not understand this, those of us who have been married for a few decades realise that romance is not totally effortless. To keep the romantic fires burning over the years requires deliberate forethought and attention.

It’s the same spiritually. To keep your relationship with the Lord fresh and vital over the long haul is not automatic. It requires forethought, effort, and constant attention. It’s easy to be lulled into complacency in your Christian life. Things, even good things, become routine: Did my quiet time (check). Went to church (check). Gave money to missionaries (check). But you’ve drifted into not actively pursuing to know God more deeply.

That I May Know Him

When the apostle Paul wrote Philippians, he had been a Christian for about 25 years. God had used him to perform many mighty miracles. He had several encounters with the risen Lord, including being caught up into the third heaven. But he didn’t rest in those experiences. He said that he wanted to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Then he added (Phil. 3:12-14): Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

He goes on to say that we all should have that same attitude. We all need to fight against spiritual complacency. We see the same thing in Moses’ experience in our text. The lesson is: No matter where you’re at spiritually, you should desire to go deeper with God. Since God is infinite, we can always know Him more deeply. So press on! I can’t deal with everything in this amazing text, so I’m limiting myself to five ways to go deeper with God.

To go deeper with God, you need a holy dissatisfaction with where you’re at: “Show me Your glory!”

Contentment-Psalms 23:1. Life and goodness in Him-2 Peter 1:3.

The Unfathomable riches to explore Eph 3:8.

Praying as Moses did ” Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favour in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favour in Your sight.” The Lord assured Moses that He would grant this request (v. 17). But Moses wasn’t content with that. So he continued (Exodus. 33:18), “I pray You, show me Your glory!” This was not a prayer for material comforts or health. It wasn’t a prayer for success in ministry. It was a prayer to know God more deeply.

As you know Jesus more deeply, we see more of God’s glory. As you feed daily on God’s Word, ask Him to reveal more and more of Christ to your soul.

To go deeper with God, you need to understand His abundant goodness.

When Moses sort God’s glory, the Lord did not give him a vision of His throne room with the impressive seraphim, as He later gave Isaiah (Isa. 6); or of the four scary living creatures, with fire and lightning and spinning wheels, as He did with Ezekiel (Ezek. 1). Rather, the Lord gave Moses propositional statements about His attributes. He says, in effect, “Okay, if you want to know Me and see My glory, let Me show you some of My attributes, especially as they relate to saving sinners.” Attributes of God’s goodness referenced below;

First the Lord said (Exod. 33:19), “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you ….” Proclamation of goodness to Moses (Exod 34:6-7).

Basic revelation of who God is (Num. 14:18; Neh. 9:17; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 145:7-8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; [alluded to in 2 Chron. 30:9; Ps. 111:4; 116:5; Isa. 63:7; Nah. 1:3]). God’s goodness includes His compassion. In Psalm 103:8, David cites Exodus 33:6 and then adds (Ps. 103:13-14).

To go deeper with God, you need to understand His sovereign grace. for all.

It is significant that when God revealed this glimpse of His glory to Moses, the first thing he said was (Exod. 33:19), “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” He didn’t say, as some think He said, “I will be gracious to everyone and compassionate to everyone.” Rather, as the Sovereign Lord, He gives grace to whom He wills and compassion to whom He wills. And this is of first importance in knowing who God is.

Apostle Paul cites Exodus 33:19 in Romans 9:15 and then explains (Rom. 9:16-18), So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Don’t dodge the truth of God’s sovereign grace or you’ll miss a fundamental aspect of who He is or won’t adequately understand the salvation that He has freely granted us in Jesus Christ. His sovereign grace is all about His glory (Eph. 1:3-14). And it’s at the heart of your assurance of salvation (Rom. 8:29-39).

To go deeper with God, you need to understand His holiness, forgiveness, and justice.

When The Lord said (Exod. 34:7) that He “forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” The Hebrew words translated, “iniquity, transgression and sin,” have slightly different nuances. “Iniquity” means to turn aside from what is right.

“Transgression” is a more defiant violating of God’s covenant. “Sin” is a general term for any moral failure (the above from Ryken, ibid. p. 1043). But the Lord piled up the three terms to show that no matter how great our sin may be, His grace is greater. He is willing to forgive the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) if he will repent and trust in Jesus Christ.

This reflects God’s holiness and justice. But, remember, this is also a part of God’s goodness (Exod. 33:19)! He would not be good if He were not absolutely holy. And He would be neither good nor holy if He were not just. He must impose the just payment on every sin. As the absolutely holy, just Judge of every person, God says (Rom. 6:23), “The wages of sin is death.” He means, eternal separation from Him in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15). Every person will be punished for his or her own sins (Ezek. 18:20). However, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). God “keeps loving kindness for thousands” (Exod. 34:7). Come to Christ to receive mercy, healing, and hope!

To go deeper with God, you need to be concerned not just for yourself, but for all of God’s people.

When Moses prayed to see God’s glory, it was not a self-centred prayer. He wasn’t praying, “I don’t care if all these complaining idol-worshippers die in the wilderness; just show me Your glory.”

Rather, he was praying as the mediator of God’s covenant with Israel. We’ve already seen how Moses was willing to be blotted out of God’s book of life if God wouldn’t forgive the people’s sin with the golden calf (Exod. 32:32). So here, he prays (Exod. 34:9), “If now I have found favour in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.” He was thinking about others, not himself only.

Going deeper with God is not just so that you will have a deeper experience with Him. Your desire to go deeper with God should be so that He can use you more effectively in helping others experience His abundant grace and know Him more deeply.

Moses’ response to God’s revelation of His glory was (Exod. 34:8) to make “haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.” And that should be our response, too. The point of going deeper with God is not so that we can know more theology or win theological debates or brag about our knowledge. The point is that we will worship our sovereign, gracious God more deeply! Moses’ response reminds me of Paul’s response after describing God’s sovereign grace in Romans 9-11.

The application questions that will ignite your thought for God.

  1. How can I keep my desire burning strong to know God more deeply?
  2. What should I do when my heart is cold toward Him? Some claim to know God through a miraculous vision which they had. Is this valid or suspect?
  3. What is our only reliable source for knowing God? How can a person who grew up in a very abusive family believe in God’s goodness?
  4. How would you counsel him/her?
  5. Why is knowing God’s sovereign grace in salvation (Exod. 33:19; Rom. 9:15) at the heart of knowing Him more deeply?

Moses’ response should remind us all of Paul’s response after describing God’s sovereign grace in Romans 9-11. He exclaimed (Rom. 11:33-36):

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counsellor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. No matter where you’re at with the Lord, I encourage you to make the necessary changes in your schedule so that this week you begin the process of going deeper with God.

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