Who God Wants to be in Your Life
June 25-26, 2022
I've mentioned recently about the number of themes that run through the Bible. One of the ones we've been looking at is that God wants to be Emmanuel, God with us, but there's another theme also. There are many, but another theme that runs through the Bible is that as Emmanuel, all that God is He wants to be in your life. This is one of the tremendous aspects of God's desire, what God wants to be. All that He is, He wants to be in your life. As you are walking through the journey of this life, all that He is, He wants to be for you.
Now, that changes everything when we see it. Now, all that God is that He is for you. The character of the nature of the Lords is found in His name. Now, when you go through the Scriptures, you'll find of course that there are many names that God uses to describe Himself, His character and His nature, but perhaps the greatest of all is when He told Moses that His name was Yahweh or I AM. Now actually, it means more than that.
It actually means all that I am, I am to you. In other words, it's very personal. It's very relational. If you could just imagine all of the promises contained in that great statement, all that I am, the great I AM, I am to you. It will change your life to take hold of it. Now here's the backstory to Exodus 3. When Jacob and his sons and his larger family went to Egypt, under of course when Joseph had made this great provision, there were 70 persons in all. God used that time in Egypt to preserve them as a people during that particularly difficult seven-year-famine. When you come now to the book of Exodus, that 70 people, 400 years later is now 2 million plus.
That favor which Pharaoh originally had shown when they first arrived did not last. For other pharaohs came, and they were concerned because Israel was growing in greater and greater numbers. Out of great fear, the Pharaoh gave orders to enslave them, to make life very hard and difficult, and they suffered tremendously. As they suffered, they actually grew in number.
God heard their cries and of course wanted to deliver His people, which God is going to use Moses. As you know the story, of course, Moses was a miracle baby and that Pharaoh had given the order that every son who was born would be thrown into the Nile, but Moses' parents hid him in that basket along the reeds of the river and Moses' daughter found him, of course, and took him in. He was raised in Pharaoh's house, in all of the accoutrements of wealth and status. Then when he's grown to be a man, he sees his people. He sees the harshness, he sees the suffering, and it troubled him greatly as you can imagine.
One day, he sees an Egyptian slave master beating a Hebrew, and it bothered him. Something arose in him and he looked this way and that and struck down the Egyptian, killed him and hid him in the sand. He thought no one had seen, but it had been seen and it became known. When Pharaoh heard of it, he tried to kill Moses. Moses fled into the desert, came to the land of Midian where he there became a shepherd and stayed 40 years. Then God encountered Moses, or I should say Moses encountered God in the story that we're going to read. This is where God reveals the greatness of His name and the promises contained in it. Let's read it, Exodus 3:1.
I. Let God be the Fire in Your Heart
"Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God." Mount Sinai is often referred to also, very famous in the history of Israel. "An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
Moses said, 'I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why this bush has not burned up.' When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses.' He said, 'Here I am.' Then He said, 'Do not come near; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.'" In fact, that worship song, we are standing on holy ground, actually comes from that very verse. He also then said, "'I am the God of your father, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Then Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said, 'I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I've given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their suffering. I've come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, and Hittite, and Amorite, and Perizzite, and Hivite, and Jebusite. And now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Therefore, come now I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.' But Moses said to God, 'Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?' God answered and said, 'Assuredly I will be with you, and this will be the sign to you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this very mountain.'" That was, of course, the place where God gave the Law of Moses to Israel, where God met Moses those 40 days. That was where that was.
"Then Moses said to God, 'Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel. I will say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you. Now they may say to me, well, what is His name? What shall I say to them?'" This is where, of course, God reveals His name. "God said to Moses, 'I AM who I AM.' He said, 'Thus, you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM,'" or Yahweh, the name of God, "'Yahweh has sent me to you.'
Furthermore, He said to Moses, 'Thus, you shall say to the sons of Israel, the Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you and this is My name forever.'" This is my name. "'This is my memorial name to all generations. Go gather the elders of Israel together. Say to them, the Lord, the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me. I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.'" Then, of course, he's going to tell them, "And the great I AM has sent me to you."
Now, this is the verses I want us to look at. Very important to take hold of great principles to apply to our lives, and I want us to begin by Moses' encountering God in this fire in this bush. I want us to take hold of the principle this way, that God be the fire in your heart. In Scripture, that's another one of the themes that you can see, is that God demonstrates His presence by fire. It's a tremendous picture for where the presence of the Lord is, there is a fire that burns. I suggest to you that it is an aspect of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When you've received Jesus Christ, that He brings forth the Holy Spirit to dwell in your spirit so that He is Emmanuel, God with you, and it is seen as a fire that burns in the soul.
God wants to be the passion, the fire that burns in the soul. Sometimes I see people that are bored with life, which to me means there's no fire. God wants there to be fire in the soul. If you're filled with the Holy Spirit, if you're filled with the presence of God, there's a fire that burns. I tell you, you will not be bored when there's a fire of the presence of the living God burning in the soul. Like Romans 12:11, "Never be lacking in zeal, but be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Now there's that picture. There's a fire that burns in the soul. God wants there to be a fire in the soul.
I remember one time many years ago, there was this organization that was about to or thinking about hiring this leader. They asked me if I wouldn't mind interviewing and giving my opinion. I said, "Okay, fine," and so we talked on the phone for quite some time. Afterwards, I gave a report back and I said, "Here's my concern. There's no fire in the soul, there's no fire in the belly." God wants us to have fire in the soul. Anybody agree with me? It's an aspect of God's presence in our lives.
A. God is a non-consuming fire
Now, when we see that, one of the things that we also see in the story is that God is a non-consuming fire. When Israel was led through the desert, again, the pillar of fire, always there, presence among them. God's presence is seen as that fire that burns within. It's a passion of the soul. Now, the world also has passions, but when the Holy Spirit fills the heart, there's a new passion and it's a fire that does not consume.
God's presence, the fire of His presence adds to your life, it adds passion, it adds power, glory, honor to God, but it does not consume. Now, interestingly, Paul wrote something similar to the church at Corinth, where he said that the fire of God will touch everything. This is a tremendously important insight. The fire of God will touch everything.
In other words, everything will be tested by fire. Some things will be burnt up, and other things which are eternal or glorious will remain. Let me give it to you. It's in 1 Corinthians 3:12-16, Paul wrote it this way. If any man builds on the foundation of Christ, okay so if you have Christ as your foundation, then you build on that by how you live your life. If any man builds on that foundation with gold or silver or precious stones, this is a description of those things that will remain.
They will survive through a fire. Fire will not burn them up, but then he mentions, or some people build upon that foundation with wood, hay, or straw. Right away we recognize, well, these things are burned. They burn up. He says, "Each man's work will become known." How? Each person lives their life will become known for the day we show it, because it will be revealed by fire in everything. God's fire will touch everything.
He says, "The fire itself will test the quality of each man's work." How did you live your life? "If any man's work which he has built remains," in other words, that which is glorious, eternal in aspect, it will remain and he will receive a reward. It is eternal. God will bless you in the eternal realm because of those things which you built upon it, but, and if any man's work is burned up, he suffers loss, but he himself will be saved yet as though through fire.
B. God is also a consuming fire
"Do you not know," here it is, "that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" Is he not saying the same thing? He is Emmanuel for you are the temple of God. The Spirit of God dwells in you and the fire of God will touch everything. Build upon it that which is glorious. See, the results of a person's life will either be burned up or consumed, or it will remain eternal and glorious.
I don't know about you but when I come to the end of my life, I want to know that I did that which is eternal and glorious for the Lord. I want to do something of eternal value with my life. I want my life to mean something and I want to do something for the Lord to give glory and honor to His name. Anybody agree with me? It's a very important drive, desire. Others, he says, do not build that which is eternal and so their works are burned up. They're worldly in nature. They will survive, but as a man comes through a fire, which is to say not much.
I want to have something, I want to have something glorious to give to the Lord, which reminds me many years ago. Maybe some of you remember in the early '90s when we had an earthquake here, I know this is not a fire, but I'm going to use the illustration. Back in the '90s, we had an earthquake here in Oregon, and it was like 5.6 or something in the Richter scale if you remember. Now, we're in Oregon, we're not used to earthquakes. Those people from California, of course, they can come through an earthquake like 5.6 and it doesn't bother them at all.
They could be lying there in their bed. "What do you think that is honey? 5.6?" "No, no, it might be 5.4. I don't know." In Oregon, we go like, "Ooh." The thing was, I had just come from California on a-- I was at a Passions conference and I had driven straight through and I got to bed at like 3:30 in the morning. The earthquake hit at something like, what was it? 5:15 in the morning. I was completely so deep in sleep, but when this thing hit, it shocked me. I just like, "Oh, there's an earthquake." All I can think of is we got to get out of this house, and of course my kids.
I jumped out of bed, and I said, "We've got to get out, I'll grab the kids, we've got to get out." I pointed at the closet and she's looking at me like, "What?" I said, "We've got to get out of the house." I'm pointing at the closet. In my mind I'm thinking, "Get my bathrobe. I'll grab the kids, you grab the bathrobe, we're getting out of the house." Of course, in her mind, she's going, "There's no door outside in the closet." All of this is happening while the earthquake is shaking the house and by the time we finally finished this discussion, it all stopped.
My whole point was, I want to get out of the house and at least I want my bathrobe, and if that's all I got, I got that. Anybody with me on this? Reminds me about the robe of righteousness, at least we'll have that. I built a little connection. See what I did there? Some people will have only that, that's all they'll have when they get to the end of life. That's all they've got. I want to have something more.
See, the results of a person's life. When you live by the fire of God's passion, the presence of God in your soul, the blessing of God, the favor of God, the power of God are on what you do. That changes everything. See, it's all about that. It's all about God's presence. He is Emmanuel, all that I am I will be to you. It changes everything. It's the fire of God. It's the presence of God. It wasn't the bush, the bush wasn't anything spectacular. Did God look at all of the bushes on the mountain and say, "Now I must find the most specialist of all the bushes. Only the most special bush will do here. If I'm going to reveal my presence, I have to have the most specialist of all bushes"?
I don't think so. I don't think it mattered. Any old bush would do. That wasn't the point at all. The point is the presence of God, not the bush. See, then this is important because some people think, they're convinced God only uses special people. If God wants to make Himself known in someone's life, oh, He's got to find special people. No, that's not what I see. Any old person will do, any old bush will. When the fire of God takes hold of a person's life, that's the power of a person's life, not the fact that they're special about anything. It's the presence of God that changes everything.
You know what's interesting? Many of you know Luis Palau, and it was this very verse that God used to convince him that God could use him. He, of course, was born in Argentina, in poverty and trouble, in all kinds of difficulties. He read this verse and he picked up that great insight. God didn't choose a special bush, any bush would've done. If God can use anybody, then He can use me too. That transformed his heart and his vision, and he understood that God could use even him, and of course as we know, that is faith that God can take and use in a person's life. As you know, he's become a worldwide evangelist now in the presence of the Lord, but what a tremendous insight that is.
We recognize He's a non-consuming fire, but we also must recognize that God is also a consuming fire. He's both non-consuming and consuming. In other words, the presence of God is a fire that burns within, but that same fire will consume those things that need to be burned up, worldly things, earthly things. The things which are eternal will remain. That which God is doing is eternal. God is building his character, that is eternal in nature. Those things that are temporal, those things that are earthly, those things that are worldly, those are things that need to be burned up.
Here's the thing, those things are consumed. When the passion of God, when the fire of God burns in the soul, those things are in fact consumed. Those things are burned up. This is the key to spiritual victory. It's a key to spiritual power. Many people do not experience the power of God, because you do not recognize the importance of that fire that burns in the soul. For when that fire burns in the soul, it will consume those things that are earthly, those things that are worldly.
Maybe some of you remember of course that old hymn. I won't sing it for you, but I want to quote some of the words. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace." That captures such a great truth. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of the earth will grow dim. They will be consumed, burned in the light of His glory and grace.
C. Don’t light your own fire
It's a great truth, but then there's this. Isaiah makes this point, and don't light your own fire, some people try to. There's a even expression a person is a self-made man, we say. That's a very American understanding, isn't it? A person is self-made man. He's lit his own fire. Or people who pursue again the fire of passion of worldly things but they do not recognize that those things also consume. Those things also bring tragedy.
Isaiah 9:18, "wickedness burns like a fire." We know Jesus said a very similar thing in John 10:10. The thief, he's talking about the enemy of the soul there. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." You see the contrast? God wants to build that which is glorious and beautiful in your life. The very nature of God He wants to build in your life. The enemy wants to take, steal, kill, destroy. The enemy would love nothing more than to destroy relationships. He would love nothing more than to destroy your finances, your business. He'll destroy your honor. He'll destroy your integrity. He'll burn up your life by wasting your life.
I was thinking of illustration back in the '60s when the hippie thing was happening. Raise your hand if you remember the hippie thing that was happening in the '60s. You're officially old if you were there. I wasn't there, was not. I just read about it in history books but I do know a lot about it. If a person took drugs, they would use an expression. They would say they were wasted. I don't know. Do they still use that today?
I don't know, but if a person took drugs they would say later, "Yes, I was wasted, man." I'll tell you what, I don't think you can find a more appropriate word for it than wasted. Wouldn't it be a tragedy to look back on your life and to see that it was wasted? When the prodigal son, that famous story in Luke 15, this young man went to his father and asked for his inheritance early, and he had a vast sum of money, he went into the city and he wasted it. He spent it all on parties, and women, and the whole world thing. He spent it all. That's called a waste.
Then after he had spent it all on the world, a famine hit the land. He couldn't even find a job. Finally, he found a job but it was the worst possible job for a Jew, feeding swine, pigs. Then it got worse because he became envious of the pigs because they had food and he did not. Then the Scripture says, and that's when he came to his senses and decided to go home to his father. Now, that is a powerful illustration of that very point. Person who had wasted. See, the enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy, and he'll waste your life, but there's that moment when a person sees it.
II. Practice the Presence of God
They've come to the end of it and they see it. They come to their senses. It's a glorious turning point of life. What you got to see is when a person comes to their senses and they turn and they look to their Father, God is more than willing to bring them home. It's one of the great parts of the heart of the Lord, but then we've got to see this out of the story. Back to Exodus 3. We have to see this, the importance of to practice the presence of God. We must understand then if the fire of God is the presence of God, and the passion of God, then we need to understand what it means to practice the presence, to live out of the presence of God in our lives.
If He is, in other words, I am the great I AM, all that I am I will be to you, then we must understand the and recognize the importance of practicing the presence of the great I AM in our lives. Now, what's interesting is it's His name. It is important, it's His name. I AM, that is my name. Reminds me of interesting thing that happened many years ago. I was in Russia and we were doing this outreach event one evening. We had given great invitations to many to come and hear the gospel, and there was quite a crowd listening and I saw this fellow come in wearing a white robe and bare feet.
Now, it was snowy and icy outside. I thought, well, that's a strange thing. Wearing a white robe and bare feet, and he took a seat in the back. When the thing was over we gave an invitation. One of the people on our team said to me there's a man in the back who says he's God and he would like to speak with you, and so I thought yes, I'd like to speak with him and I'd like to see this person. I come up to him and I said, "Do I understand this correctly that you say you're God?" "This is correct." I said, "What is your name?" He said, "My name is The Action."
A. All that God is, He is to you
See, now right there I know. See, God's name, He reveals His name in His word. His name is I AM, not The Action. "I'm sorry, you are not God." Amen? The power of that name is important. I am the great I AM, all that I am I will be to you. This is the key, practicing the presence of that name. All that God is, He is to you. In Hebrew, by the way, His name is made up of four Hebrew letters. It's famous. It's called the Tetragrammaton. In Hebrew is very famous, in Israel very famous. It is His name made of four letters.
By the way, most Hebrew is all consonants. They have very few vowels, so there are four letters that make up His name. We don't know how to say His name, by the way. Israel even does not know how to say His name. People have tried different things. They've taken the vowels from the word Lord, Adonai, and tried to put it in to make Jehovah which is not really quite right either. We don't know how to say His name, but one of the other things we need to understand is it is His name. My name is Rich. His name is Yahweh.
It's very personal when you use the name, it's very personal to use His name. My name is-- See, when I'm in the crowd and I can hear someone say the word 'Rich,' my ears are attentive. When you use His name, it's very personal, and it also refers His name is I AM, the great I AM. It also refers to the fact that He's eternal in aspect, no beginning and no end, He's outside of time. He's the one who created time. Jesus interestingly shocked the Jews of His day when He claimed to be outside of time. Jesus claimed to be outside of time.
John 8:57-59. "The Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet even 50 years old, and you have seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them and here he declared it, 'Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.' Therefore," now that they understood what He meant. "Therefore they picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. God reveals His name. All that I am, I am to you. His nature, His character. We must learn to practice the presence of God, the nature and character.
When we pray, we pray in Jesus' name. Isn't that the often time we pray and then we say, "In Jesus' name, amen"? When we pray therefore, we ought to practice His presence, we ought to pray according to the nature and character of God. For example, here's the prayer not to pray, don't pray this prayer. Don't say, "Lord, I'm so angry with so and so, make him have a really bad day, Lord. Get him Lord, in Jesus' name, amen."
It's not consistent with His nature, His character. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, Jesus said, I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. That is the nature of His name. Jesus said 'I am' in many different ways, and each of them apply to our lives. We must learn to practice the presence of God.
I am the living water, Jesus said. I am the living water, he who drinks of this will not thirst again, his soul will be satisfied and it will become welling up in him a spring of living water. I am the bread of life that which satisfies. I am the light of the world. I am the good shepherd. I am the true vine. I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life.
B. It’s who God is that matters
We must learn to practice the presence of God. Then there's this. It is who God is that matters. That's the point of it. The great I AM. It's who He is that matters. Moses is told by Yahweh that He has seen the affliction of the Hebrews, He's heard their cry, He knows of their suffering. Now, that's very important.
God sees also the hurts, the tragedies, the sufferings of our life as well. He told Moses that He would send him to Pharaoh and that he would lead these people from bondage. Moses replied, who am I? Which is to say, I'm nothing, I'm no one. I've been on the run for 40 years. Moses, now, that was very pleased to hear that God saw the infliction of his people, but not pleased at all that God wanted to send him. Who am I?
Then God answers, I am the great I AM, I will be with you. To learn to practice the presence of God changes everything. It's not who you are, Moses. It's the one who is with you that matters. To learn to practice the presence of God. I am the great I AM, and I am with you and I'll never leave you. Matthew 28:20. Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. I'll never leave you. I'll never forsake you. I will be with you. I am Emmanuel and I am the great I AM, and I will be with you.
He's not the great I Give, He's the great I AM. It's not something that we need, it's someone that we need, must learn to practice the presence of God. I am the great I AM, and all that I am, I will be to you as you walk the journey of this life. Must learn to let's learn to practice the presence of God. Take the sandals from your feet, He said to Moses, for you are standing on holy ground.
You know without shoes, it's very difficult to go on. Powerless, humbled, weak, uncapable. A soldier cannot fight without boots. A farmer cannot plough or work the farm without boots. A traveler cannot travel far. Take those off and put your feet on this ground. Completely humbled, completely thankful that God has invited you to draw near. This is holy ground. I am the great I AM, and all that I am, I will be to you. We must learn to practice the presence of God.
Let's pray. Father, we are so thankful for you have pursued us. You revealed yourself to us, the great I AM, and then you say, all that I am, I will be to you. God, we're so thankful for that, that you promise not only to walk with us in the journey, but to be the great I AM as we walk. Church, how many would say to the Lord today, "Be the great I AM in my life"? God, I am nothing special. I am a no one, but you are the great I AM. Be the great I AM in my life. God, I want to know what it means to practice the presence of God. I want your name to be revealed in my life, be the great I AM.
Church how many would say that? Would you say that to the Lord just by raising your hand to the Lord? Just raise your hand at this statement, it's a declaration. God, it's my prayer, be the great I AM in my life. I want to know what it means to practice the presence of the everlasting God. Be the great I AM.
Father, thank you as you move, you're steering us up. There's a fire that burns in the soul that strengthens and builds as we draw nearer and nearer to the great I AM. Oh Lord, move in our lives. Be the great I AM, reveal yourself and your nature and your name. We love you, Lord, in Jesus' name, and everyone said. Can we give the Lord praise and glory and honor? Amen. Amen. Amen. Church, we're going to--