Read to Read …Again
Daily Reading: Exodus 19-21
And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mound; and Moses went up.
Probably only preachers will fully understand this devotion. For all the preachers who read this, enjoy. For those who are not mounting pulpits four, five, or six times a week to preach God’s Word, you may understand, but not fully comprehend, that which is easily seen in this chapter. Let’s dive in.
The Lord came down to mount Sinai. Moses went up to meet with Him. Moses then, in the next verse (21), was commanded to go down to the people to charge the people with all that God said. This is how Bible messages come about. This physical reality of the Old Testament is a spiritual one in the New Testament.
The Lord comes down. He visits with the preacher as the preacher comes into His presence. William Shakespeare wrote, “And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” True to this insight, sermons come to preachers from a variety of sensory inputs. Sometimes they come during times of prayer, while reading the Bible, or seeing some interaction between others, hearing a phrase, observing some aspect of nature, a business term, or during heartbreak. Somehow, through His Spirit, God comes down today and gives a preacher a message from Him.
But to get that message, the preacher must go up to Him. They leave the here and now, the cares of this world, and the pressures of this life and enter into His presence in their spirit. They go up to a higher level to meet with Him. I remember my pastor, 30 years ago or more, coming back from a hunting trip and for the next three church services preached what he called his “deer blind sermons”. These were sermons the Lord gave him while he was in a deer blind. I learned something from that. We can go up unto Him anytime, anywhere. Not only preachers, but any person filled with the Holy Spirit.
But as sure as the preacher goes up to get a message, he must come down to preach it. This is why sometimes those in the pew feel that the preacher is preaching “down” to them. Because he is. He is preaching something he obtained by going up unto God. He is preaching perfection. A man who is not perfect, as Moses was not perfect, as no human is perfect, but they speak perfection learned from a perfect God. Physically, later in the book of Exodus God gives us the story of Moses’ face radiating the glory of God that was so bright that he had to preach with a veil over his face lest he burn the people of his day. Likewise, sometimes a wise preacher will veil the truth they learn from God, not in diminishing it, but rather taking care not to “burn” the folks to whom they preach.
A perfect New Testament illustration of this is found in Acts 10 where Peter is on the housetop receiving from God the vision of the three sheets. At the same time, three men were at the door of the house seeking the preacher (Peter). He had to come down to the door and travel with the men to deliver the truth of a message God gave him on the rooftop. Today, for every preacher, three seek thee. The lost man, the saved man, and the undecided man, they are seeking you to give them a message from God. He comes down, preachers go up to meet Him, then preachers come down to preach the message given.
As stated earlier, all may understand this theoretically, but only preachers who live it and experience it routinely will fully comprehend it. For we live it.
William T. Howe Ph.D.