Exodus 34:1-3 (NKJV) 1 And the LORD said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. 2 So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain. 3 And no man shall come up with you, and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain; let neither flocks nor herds feed before that mountain.”
(We are still in Kenya but in a lighter part of the schedule. One of the seminars was canceled so we are mostly busy on weekends. There are some other things in the works so pray that we keep busy. Our last scheduled conference is the will be October 3-6. In the mean time let me continue with the teaching on “The Goodness of God.”)
For the last few weeks, we have been looking at the encounter between God and Moses in Exodus chapter 33. In the course of their interaction, God tells Moses that he has found favor with the Lord. Moses response is to ask to see God’s glory. It is worth repeating that Moses had seen manifestations of the glory of God that none of us has seen. Yet he understood that there was something he had not seen. He knew that the source was something deeper than plagues and pillars of fire. He knew that the outward manifestations of glory came from an inward life. He wanted to see God as he really was.
God granted Moses’ wish. God told him he would show him all of his glory that he could see and still live. I believe he was also showing Moses the most important aspect of his glory. God said, “I will show you my goodness.” The goodness of God is one of the basic elements of his nature. I think that the revelation of the goodness of God is fundamental to showing forth the manifestations of the glory of God we want to see in the earth.
It is my desire to live in God’s goodness. There are two dimensions of this. One is to live in the blessing his goodness brings into my life. We looked at Matthew 7:11 last week. Jesus says that if natural fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, certainly the perfect Father, God, will give good gifts to us. God is by nature a father. All we know and feel about parenthood comes from him. I would do anything to bring blessing to my children. I believe God’s goodness brings healing, prosperity, peace and joy to his children.
On the other hand, I brought other good gifts to my children so that they can be happy and successful in life. I brought discipline and correction when needed. I taught them how to be good citizens and good people. I taught them the value of work and of self-control. All of these things were also manifestations of my goodness to them. They are sometimes hard to learn and harder to live. However, these “good gifts” enable them to fulfill their destiny through a productive life. If I provided them with toys, gifts and money but did not provide them with the other things, I was not a good father.
God is a good father in every way. He desires to give good things to his children. It is never his will for us to be sick in body, soul or spirit. Never! It is always his will to heal us in all areas of life. If you are a parent, is that not how you feel?
At the same time, he desires that we become channels of his goodness not just recipients of his goodness. Therefore, he not only brings healing and blessing, but he also requires that we walk in faith and integrity. He requires a standard of behavior that he knows will enable us to walk in the blessing he wants to give to and through us.
There is some confusion today about grace, righteousness and behavior. Salvation is free. There is no question about that. We can do nothing to earn it. We can do nothing to deserve it. It is a gift. We do not have to confess past sins to obtain it. We do not have to do penance. We do not have to change our behavior in order to partake of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. We must believe it and receive it; nothing more.
Keeping our analogy of parenting in place, birth is a free gift. The baby has nothing to do with it. The baby is conceived by an act of the body and will of the parents. The baby does not go through the pain and work of birth. The mother does the work. The father contributed the life that caused conception. The baby does not earn life, nor does he deserve life based on anything he or she has done. Life is a product of the love of the parents and the love of God.
A newborn has nothing to contribute. Babies have no responsibilities in life. The parents provide everything they need. As they grow, more and more is required of them. These requirements have nothing to do with earning life. Life was and is a gift. They have everything to do with how happy, healthy and productive they will be in life. What is cute in a toddler is unacceptable in a pre-teen human. What we can excuse in a teenager can be devastating in an adult. It is the job of parents to show goodness to their children in training as well as in emotional support and provision.
Salvation is free. Walking in salvation requires that we grow up in him in all things (Ephesians 4:14-15.) This means we need to learn the proper behavior for those in the Kingdom of God. Children in my house had to behave according to a standard. This had nothing to do with their identity as my children. That comes by birth. It had to do with pleasing me and more important with what it takes them to be productive.
We must understand that the goodness of God does not mean we do not have to behave according to righteousness. There are certain qualities that define the lifestyle of any family. The qualities that define the family of God are things like his goodness and his love. They are also things like holiness, character and integrity. Righteousness is not earned but given to us by Jesus in salvation. That does not mean we are not required to walk right with God.
Walking right before him does not earn us sonship it releases the power of his goodness in and through us as sons. Walking in ways that go against the standards of behavior in the family of God will “close the supernatural gates” and keep us for experiencing the “good life.” My love for my children is not determined by their behavior but their love for me is indicated by their behavior. My love for him reflected in certain behavior opens the channel of his goodness in my life.
In today’s scripture, we see that God instructs Moses to cut two tablets of stone so that God can once again write the Ten Commandments upon them. God had given Moses the standards of behavior for the family once. Moses had broken the stone tablets in frustration over Israel’s behavior. Before God can show Moses his goodness, his glory, the commandments had to be back in place. It would not be fair for God to show Moses his goodness without the revelation on how to walk in that goodness.
Some would say that this was for Israel not the church. The tablets were for Israel. The written laws were for Israel. The principles are for all who would be part of God’s family. Jeremiah 31:31-34 makes it very clear that God had something better than the written law in mind.
He was not going to do away with the standards of behavior for his children. Any parent who does not teach their children how to behave is a bad parent. He said he would give them a better way to walk in these standards. He would write them on their heart so that once their sins were forgiven, they would be able to walk in a way that the goodness of God would be free to bless them and everyone they would meet.