Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Sometimes you have to be creative to get time alone with the Lord.

Woman: When our daughter was two or three years old, we had a clock which gave the time every 30 minutes. I would tell her that I was having time with Jesus. She would sit with her book—sometimes it was upside down—and she would have her own quiet time. After the bird coo-cooed, the next 30 minutes, we would have time as mom and daughter. She knew to let me have that time between the coo-coos.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with author and speaker, Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Monday, November 26. God gives us so many good things. He gives us family and friends, places to serve Him, and resources, but all those good things threaten to crowd Him out. It can be hard to get away and spend time enjoying Him, but it’s important. Here’s Nancy to tell us more.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, we’ve come to the final week of this 12-week series that we’ve called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. If you have been seeking Him during these weeks, then I know that God has been reviving your heart.

Psalm 69, verse 32b has become something of a theme verse, not only for this series, but also for Revive Our Hearts. “You who seek God let your hearts revive.”

We’d love to hear how God has used this particular series in your life. So if you’ve been responding to the Lord—maybe you’ve been working through the book, Seeking Him, or with a small group or you’ve been hearing the series on Revive Our Hearts—I hope you’ll e-mail or write us and let us know what God has been doing in your life, how He has been reviving your heart through this Seeking Him series.

Now, for the next couple days, I want to share with you what I believe is the single-most important ingredient in experiencing continuous, fresh revival. Not just for 12 weeks, not just a one-time experience, but ongoing revival. Then at the end of this week, we’ll wrap up this series with some additional practical insights I want to share with you about the process of ongoing revival.

Today I want to ask you to take your Bible and open to the book of Exodus, chapter 33, and we’re going to look at one paragraph today and tomorrow, verses 7-11. This is one single snapshot from the life of Moses. Moses, as you remember, was a man who knew God more intimately than anyone else in his day. I want us to just look at this little glimpse, this snapshot out of his life.

Let me read the passage and then we’ll draw some insights from it about this matter of a personal devotional life. There I’ve told you now what that single-most important ingredient is, in my opinion, if you want to experience continuous, fresh revival, and that is that you’re spending time consistently alone with the Lord in His Word and in prayer.

We will see that illustrated in an Old Testament sense through the life of Moses. Beginning in Exodus 33, verse 7. “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and He called it the tent of meeting.” This was not the tabernacle. The tabernacle, as you know, had not been constructed yet. This was just a temporary structure that Moses set up for the purpose of having a place to meet with the Lord.

So Moses would take this tent, he would pitch it outside the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. “Everyone who sought the LORD [that’s what we’ve been doing, isn’t it?—seeking Him] would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent” (verses 7-8).

“When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud . . .” Remember what that was? That was the visible representation of the presence of God, the Shekinah glory of God. “When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent” (verses 9-11).

Verse 7: “Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp far off from the camp and he called it the tent of meeting.” That raises the question before we get into these principles, Why was the tent outside the camp?

You got to remember the context of this passage. This is right after the incident with the golden calf where the children of Israel had rebelled against God. They had broken His commandments. They had been idolatrous. It was this huge, awful orgy of sexual and religious practice mixed up together that was very pagan.

God had judged the people. He had punished them. God had said to Moses as a result of what these people have done, I will not go with you any further. So God had distanced Himself. Sin separates from God.

Yet Moses was so intentional about meeting with God, so determined to have fellowship with God that he said I’ll go wherever I have to go to find the presence of God. So that’s the first principle we see is that Moses was intentional about meeting with God. Even though God wouldn’t come in the camp at that point, Moses took the tent outside the camp, and he said I’ll meet with God there. He was intentional. This was a priority for Moses. It was a conscious, deliberate, determined choice.

Let me remind you, Moses was a busy man. He had 2 million Jews to take care of. He had to lead them. He had to care for them. He had to make sure that their food needs were met. Well, God is the One who really did that, but Moses was the human leader. You could have imagined him saying, “I just don’t have time today for this.” But He found time. He was intentional about meeting with God.

Are you? Are you intentional about taking time out of your busy day to get alone with God to listen to Him speak? Not just occasionally, not just when you get in trouble, but as a way of life. Are you taking time? It says Moses used to do this. He would do this regularly. This wasn’t a one-time thing. This wasn’t occasional. This was a way of life for him. Is it for you? It’s got to be.

Then we see that Moses left the company of others to meet with God. He went far off from the camp. Now partially that was because that’s where God was. God wouldn’t come into the camp at that point, but to go out to that tent of meeting required that Moses leave the company of others in order to get alone with God.

That stands in contrast to the people who were not seeking the Lord. We read about them in Exodus chapter 32. They were rebellious. They were idolatrous. They weren’t seeking God, but Moses said even if no one else seeks God, I’ve got to meet with God. This wasn’t something that was popular. This was a salmon swimming upstream, if you will.

That’s what we’re challenging Revive Our Hearts women to do—that’s to be counter-cultural. Sometimes you’ve got to be counter to the evangelical culture. The evangelical culture unfortunately, by and large, is not making a priority out of seeking God. If you just go with the crowd, if you just go with your friends, you’re not going to seek God.

Are you going to go against the crowd? Are you going to go against the flow? Are you going to be faithful when others are not? Are you going to be like Moses and, more importantly, like Jesus, who we read about in Mark chapter 1, verse 35. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed” (NIV). You have to leave the crowd.

The Israelites needed Moses, and I suppose they probably thought they couldn’t do without him for that hour or two or whatever it was that he was away from them. Just like the disciples thought they needed Jesus in Mark chapter 1. It was after that verse where Jesus went away, it says in the next paragraph, “Then the disciples came and found him and said, ‘Everyone is looking for you’” (Mark 1:36-37, paraphrased).

The disciples needed Jesus. The Israelites needed Moses. There are people who need you and who clamor for your attention, but what those people most needed then and what they most need in your life is someone who has met with God.

That’s what your children need is a mom who has been with God. They need to see that meeting with God is enough of a priority for you that you’re willing to leave the company of others to go get that time alone with God.

Then verse 7 tells us, “Everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.” This says to me that the example of Moses’ devotional life motivated others to seek the Lord.

I know some people like that—people that when I’m around them I think, “This person has been with God.” They make me want to be with God myself. Does the example of your devotional life motivate others to want to seek God? Do people get around you and think, “I want to be with God like she’s been. I just see the effect of that in her life,” and they want to do the same?

Verse 8 tells us, “Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent.” Two points about that verse. First, the people around Moses watched him carefully. They knew what he was doing. They knew what mattered most to him. I want to tell you the people around you are watching you. They know what matters most to you. They know what you’re doing. They know what’s important to you, especially your family.

Then let me just point out that some people only watched Moses go to the tent of meeting and meet with God. Others went out to meet God themselves. You see that in verses 7 and 8. “Everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting.” Moses went and then others followed. But not everyone went out. Some people, verse 8, just stood up at their tent doors and watched Moses as he went to meet with the Lord.

What’s the point there? Can I suggest this? You don’t become spiritual by just watching other spiritual people, by just knowing other godly people. You get to know God by getting out of your tent and going to the tent of meeting, by going there to seek the Lord yourself.

Then verse 9, “When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses.” Verse 11 makes this same point, that the Lord would speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.

Here’s the point I see from verse 9. When Moses left the crowd to seek the Lord, the Lord met with him. His search was rewarded. And the Lord spoke to him. If God knows that we will listen, then God will speak. If God knows we want to meet with Him, then God will meet with us.

Now the pillar of cloud, was a visible symbol to the Old Testament Israelites of the presence of God. Do you know you have something that is more valuable and more intimate than what Moses was ever able to experience? That is the Spirit of God that lives inside of you, if you are a child of God.

So you don’t have to go anywhere physically or literally. Now you may want to find a place conducive to meeting with the Lord, but you have the Lord with you, in you, on you, around you, through you, anytime you can meet with Him. God will take the time to meet with you if you’ll take the time to seek Him. He’ll speak to you if He knows you’re listening.

Then verse 10 tells us, “When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door.” I see in this verse that other people worshiped God as a result of Moses’ walk with God.

Keep in mind these people were not born worshipers of God. They were born pagans. They were born idolaters. That’s what their bent was. They had just been guilty of that golden calf incident. Major idolatry. But what they saw in Moses’ example caused their hearts to turn to worship the true and living God.

We live in a nation of idolaters. We live in a nation of people who don’t worship God. In fact, most of the people in our churches today are not true worshipers of God.

  • They’re worshiping self.
  • They’re worshiping money.
  • They’re worshiping a sin.
  • They’re worshiping false gods.
  • They’re not worshiping God.
  • They may be going through some motions, but they’re not seeking God.

When people see in us really connecting to God, that we have genuine, open, honest communication with the living God, what will happen? Some of those idolaters will repent. They will turn from their wicked ways and they will want to worship the God that they see us worshiping. So let me ask you this question: Does your lifestyle motivate other people to worship God?

Then we come to verse 11. It’s familiar to most of us. “Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Because Moses sought God, Moses enjoyed intimacy with God that few others ever experienced. It’s not that they couldn’t have experienced it. It’s that they didn’t seek God the way that he did. The Lord spoke to Moses face to face.

When you go down to verse 20 in this passage, you have what seems like a contradictory verse and that is where God says no man can see My face and live. But when verse 11 tells us that God spoke to Moses face to face, it’s speaking figuratively. It’s speaking of a relationship that is open, that is transparent, of a close friendship or relationship. Moses wasn’t covering anything. He had nothing to hide and so God opened Himself up to Moses.

Think of the way you talk with your closest friends. You’ll tell them things that you wouldn’t tell anyone else or that you wouldn’t tell many others. I love that verse in Psalm 25 that says, “The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant” (verse 14, NKJV).

Or Proverbs 3, verse 32, “His secret counsel is with the upright.” You want to know the secrets of God’s heart? You want to know what matters to Him? You want to know what He thinks, how He feels? “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). “The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him.”

If you will seek the Lord, God will make Himself known to you. You can experience intimate fellowship, communion, and friendship with God. This isn’t something reserved for some super-pious saints. This is for you, if you’re a child of God.

Then we see that Moses’ prayer life revealed a heart for the glory and the kingdom of God. Now that’s not actually in this passage, but if we were to continue reading on from verse 12 to verse 23, we would find an answer to this question, What did God and Moses talk about? Well, what they talked about is recorded in the next paragraph.

We’re not going to read through all of that, but you would see that it was a two-way dialog. Moses made requests and God responded to Moses. God revealed Himself to Moses and Moses responded to God.

Three things Moses asked in that conversation. First, he said, God would you show me Your ways so I can know you. God answered that prayer. Psalm 103:7 says, “He made known his ways to Moses.” I love that verse. The reason God made known His ways to Moses was because Moses said, God, would You show me Your ways? I wonder if sometimes we don’t know the ways of God because we haven’t asked God to show us His ways.

Then Moses interceded for the people. Remember God had said after the golden calf incident, My presence will not go with you from here. Moses got before God, and he cried out and said, O God, pardon these people and send Your presence with us. In fact, God, if You’re presence isn’t going to go with us, we don’t want to go anywhere. What a prayer! That’s my prayer for this ministry. I hope it’s your prayer for your family and for your church.

Lord, if You’re not going with us, don’t send us. It’s not enough that we would just have Your promises and You’re provision and You’re protection. Lord, we want Your presence. That’s what we need in our churches. That’s what we need in our homes. That’s what I need in my life. Lord, send Your presence with my husband as he goes to work. Lord, send Your presence with my children as they go to school. May they go in the fear of the Lord.

God said in spite of the fact that God had already said I will not go out with you. God now says this very thing that you have spoken, I will do. I’ll send My presence with you.

Moses interceded on behalf of the people and God heard and responded. Then Moses prayed, Lord, would You show me Your glory? Show me Your glory. I want to know You. I want to see You. God said, I can’t show you everything because it would kill you, but I will make all my goodness pass before you and I will proclaim before you My name, the Lord.

Moses got glimpses of the glory of God that the children of Israel only ever dreamed about having because Moses’ prayer life was not consumed with, “Why can’t we have something different to eat today?” That’s what the Israelites were praying there in the wilderness. “We’re tired of this food. We’re tired of this. We don’t have any water to drink.” Whine, whine, complain.

What did Moses do when He prayed?

  • Lord, show me Your ways.
  • Send Your presence with us.
  • Show me Your glory.

Moses’ prayer life revealed a kingdom agenda, a love for the glory of God. By the way, what kind of agenda does your prayer life reveal?

Finally, verse 11, “When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.” What a wonderful thing to see, the impact that Moses’ devotional life had on the next generation. Joshua wanted to be in the place where he saw his leader spending time. He lingered there long after Moses left. He didn’t want to leave.

I think that’s maybe because He wanted what He saw Moses had. Moses saw the glory of God. Joshua said, "I want to see it too. I want to have a prayer life." This is a young man that unbeknownst to Him God was raising up for leadership for the next generation. It was Moses’ prayer life, it was Moses’ devotional life that moved this young man to stay there in the presence of God.

What a different story that is from the fact that 80% of the young people who leave our Christian homes and churches and go off to college never come back to church. What’s wrong with that picture? Why aren’t they lingering? Maybe because they’ve not seen in us something that makes them want to stay in the presence of God with the people of God. Jesus said everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:46).

So the question is: If they linger where they see you spending time and where they see your heart being attached, where will they spend their lives?

  • Consumed with work?
  • Consumed with play?
  • Consumed with hobbies?
  • Consumed with recreation?
  • Where will they spend their lives if they linger in the places they have seen you love?
  • Will it be in the presence of God?

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. If you’re ready to spend more time in the presence of God, we want to help you. Nancy shows what a deep devotional life looks like in the book, A Place of Quiet Rest. This book will give you a greater passion to consistently connect with God. She offers a lot of practical ideas for developing a rich daily life with God in the Bible and prayer. Find out how to order when you visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

That’s also where you can donate to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. When you donate between now and the end of the year, your gift will be doubled. Some friends of the ministry know how important the end of the year giving is to Revive Our Hearts. They know we can’t continue providing teaching for you in 2008 without a strong year end in 2007. So they’ve offered to double every gift up to $450,000. Please help us meet this challenge by calling with your donation to 1-800-569-5959 or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

In the next couple of days, we’ll hear from some men who’ve learned what it means to cultivate a rich devotional life. Hear from Henry Blackaby Wednesday and Brother Bobby Moore tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Now let’s pray with Nancy.

Nancy: O Lord, as we read about Moses speaking with You, listening to You, encountering You and seeing Your glory, our hearts cry out, Lord, show us Your glory. We want to know You. We want to know Your ways. We want to have that kind of intimate communion and fellowship with You.

Lord, forgive us for being so busy, so distracted, so engrossed with other things that we’re missing out on You. Forgive us for being so busy with religious activities that we miss out on You frequently.

Lord, do a work of grace in our hearts so that those coming up in the next generation will see and sense in us something that they want, something they need, something they desire. Would You raise up, O Lord, a host of young Joshuas who will follow the godly example of our lives and they’ll lead the next generation to seek after You. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion