Let’s go back to Moses’ challenge to the Israelite people in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 1 v 1 – 8 These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan —that is, in the Arabah —opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.)
In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the Lord had commanded him concerning them. This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.
East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab, Moses began to expound this law, saying:
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land . Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”
“You have stayed long enough…” Because we are human we have an inbuilt desire to stay and rest. On Mount Sinai the Israelite people had met with God – this is where they received the Ten Commandments. This is somewhere they wanted to say – it was safe!
We love to set up camp. This was Peter’s immediate reaction when he saw the Glory of Jesus
Mark 9 v 2 – 8
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
I get so encouraged when I read about Peter. Who else would have had the audacity to talk in a situation like that? Can you imagine the scene? Jesus is being transfigured before the very eyes of the astonished disciples and is having a personal conversation with Elijah and Moses — and Peter “takes up the conversation.” In his babbling, bubbling enthusiasm, he offers to build tents for the three of them. Although he doesn’t really know he is saying it, what he means is,
“This is it! There’s no place to go from here! This is wonderful! Let’s just camp here!” Just like those Israelites on Mount Sinai.
That’s exactly what I thought when I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost: “This is it! There’s nothing greater than this!” But I soon discovered there were other things God wanted to do in my life. It is interesting to me that in the Gospels we never find Jesus saying, “This is it!” Instead, what we often find Him saying is, “This is that which was prophesied and has now come to pass.” Then He moves on. One of our problems is, we get caught up in the “This is it” mentality. We like to think that things, especially pleasant things, are never going to change. When we win a victory, we like to think that is the end of our troubles, and we will never have to fight another battle. But the Lord is trying to tell us that is not so. As soon as we overcome one problem, we will have another one to overcome. One season always leads to another. If the situation we are in at the moment is not very pleasant, it will at least prepare us for the next situation, which may be more to our liking. In the same way, a pleasant situation may have to change for a while so we can be prepared for something even better.
When the Disciples came off the Mount of Transfiguration all they could see was Jesus – they were ready to GO! As we come off our week of prayer where we have met with God are we ready to BREAK CAMP? Do we only see Jesus and what He wants to do with our lives?
The third strand to our vision for 2018 is a renewed commitment to mission. We have a missions team going to Bekoji in Ethiopia during the Spring Half Term with ‘Stand by Me’ and we would ask you to pray for this missions trip. If you would like to have more information about the trip and what to pray for please speak to Pastor Jon Keel. We will also be taking a team out to see Jose and Valerie Arguedas who are church planting in Concarneau in Brittany in France. Our prayer is that as we engage in mission locally, nationally and internationally we will catch God’s heart for all peoples and the Great Commission.