A September 9th news report issued by Reuters online news service entitled Ordinance would Cover Naked Bottoms (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/09/us-ordinance-california-idUSTRE7884UV20110909 ) reported that San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner introduced an ordinance requiring nudists to cover their bottoms in public places and wear clothes in restaurants. If you didn’t already know, public nudity is permitted in San Francisco. The news report reads as follows:
"I see it pretty regularly, and unfortunately there are nudists who are not doing what they should," Wiener told Reuters.
The nudists, who expose themselves most often in the city's famous gay neighborhood, the Castro District, have got Wiener and others worrying about public health.
"I'm not a health expert, but I believe sitting nude in a public place is not sanitary," he said. "Would you want to sit on a seat where someone had been sitting naked? I think most people would say, 'No.'"
Wiener, who represents the Castro neighborhood, said he hears from merchants who fear the public displays may drive away customers, hurting the business' bottom lines.
That's particularly true in restaurants. He acknowledged that he has not seen any research establishing a health risk. "But when you have your orifices exposed in an eating establishment, a lot of people don't like it," he said.
California does have legislation against indecent exposure. But the law is lenient enough that it has barely affected San Francisco's current coterie of flaunters.
Weiner's proposed ordinance will next be assigned to a committee, and Wiener expects a public hearing within months. Clothing required.
What is notable about this article is the absence of any concern for public decency. The only concern is for sanitary conditions and economic harm. We are living in an age and nation where “morality” is becoming more and more passé, if not considered at all. Morality is so broadly defined that it is becoming a nonentity in society.
These types of things are happening on our watch. Where is the church in all of this? Too often it is a leader in ever worse immoral conduct. The church and our world needs to be reconciled to God. We need to be brought back into alignment with God and His holy ways. We need a revival.
In the Bible we find a situation not unlike our present day immoral circumstances. Moses was on the holy Mount Sinai receiving God’s Law when God interrupts their conversation to tell Moses he need to return to the people for they had entered into great sin (cf. Exodus 32). It is in connection to this historical context that Moses uttered to God the key to dealing with such immoral conditions, “Please, show me Your glory.”
The Context of the man who asked to see God’s glory
It was Moses who said to God, “Please, show me Your glory.” The context of this verse gives us insight into a holy attitude and inexhaustible resource in God.
The positive contextual aspects of Moses were that he was he was a man chosen by God to lead one of the greatest and most miracle filled victories in the entire Bible; one that is regularly referred to throughout the Bible - the Exodus out of Egypt (Exodus 1-12). He was a man chosen by God to lead the children of Israel in one of the most miraculous escapes in the entire Bible; one referred to regularly throughout the Bible – the parting of the Red Sea and the passing through it (Exodus 13-15). He was a man chosen by God to lead His people through the wilderness where God provided for the people in incredibly miraculous ways (e.g. manna - Exodus 16; water from the rock – Exodus 17). Moses was a man chosen by God to be His instrument to impress unbelievers (e.g. father in law Jethro - Exodus 18). He was a man who spent chapters 19-31 mostly on Mt. Sinai with the Lord receiving His Law, order of priests, and Tabernacle designs and instructions (13 chapters!). He was a man chosen by God to lead a people afflicted with alzheimers (short term memory loss about the work of the Lord in their lives) who passed the test of God for humility and intercession on behalf of the people (Exodus 32:1 – 33:6). A man who gained the respect of God’s people (Exodus 33:7-8). A man who the Lord made His presence known to (Exodus 33:9). A man who God talked to (Exodus 33:9). A man used to move people to worship God (Exodus 33:10). A man to whom God spoke “face to face” (Exodus 33:11). A man who spoke to God (Exodus 33:12). A man who was known by name by God (Exodus 33:12, 17). A man who had “found grace” in the sight of God (Exodus 33:12, 17). A man who had a dynamic prayer life and could ask God for direction and help and get it (Exodus 33:13). A man to whom God said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14). A man who knew God well enough to make holy demands (Exodus 33:15). A man who knew he and the people he led needed God’s “grace” (Exodus 33:16). A man who knew that he and the people he led needed to be “separate” and holy, distinct and that their distinctiveness was based on God’s presence with them (Exodus 33:16). And a man whose prayers were answered by God (Exodus 33:17).
The negative contextual aspects of Moses were that he was a man who was called by God to contend with the most powerful political figure in the world at the time, e.g. Pharoah (Exodus 1-14). Moses was a man who had to deal with tremendous logistical complications due to the size of the group of people he was leading, e.g. the waters of Mariah, manna and water from the rock incidents (Exodus 15-17). He was a man who had a chronically complaining congregation of people to lead (Exodus 15-17). A man who had a very carnal and immature spiritually congregation of people to lead, e.g. were more fearful than faithful toward God (Exodus 19; 32). And a man whose second in command had no backbone to resist the carnal advances and idolatry of his congregation, e.g. The Golden Calf incident (Exodus 32).
This is the man who said to God, “Please, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18). This is the man, greatly blessed and used by God, a recipient of God’s grace and presence, a man who also had great difficulties and complications leading the congregation of God, this is the man who God’s presence descended upon when he prayed, the man who wanted more; the man who didn’t settle for what God had given him but couldn’t get enough of God.
Show US Your glory
You may have been greatly blessed by God. You may think you have all you could ask for from the Lord. Or you may feel for some reason you don’t have enough of what you thought you might get from the Lord. Whatever your station in life and ministry, Moses’ teaches us to seek more from the Lord. Please LORD, show me Your glory!
We live in Alzheimer’s America; a nation that forgets their heritage in God and the bountiful blessings God has bestowed on them throughout their history. Given our state of affairs the Lord has impressed on me recently our need for revival. Historically, revivals come when society and even the church are at a low point; on life support spiritually. Revival means resuscitation. Revival is a fresh breath of life.
Look what’s going on in the world: dying economies; countries going bankrupt; out of control debt; rampant immorality (e.g. same-sex marriage approved in NYS; San Francisco passed a law permitting public nudity; The American Psychiatric Association has been petitioned to remove Pedophilia as an abnormal diagnosis); divisiveness; meanness; harshness and hatred; tremendous unrest in the Middle East; perpetual warring; the constant threat of terrorism; etc. We are in dire straits nationally and internationally.
Look what’s going on in the church: an emergent movement away from the absolutes of Bible truth and toward relativism; tolerance and ecumenicism that disregards and contradicts the gospel and scripture; ordination of homosexuals and lesbians; celebrating same-sex marriage; etc. All this in the face of the rise of Islam and a liberal media that denounces and ridicules true Christianity at every opportunity.
And on top of all of that the true church, those who know the Lord, follow His word in the Spirit are wearied by the battle. There comes a time in war when the soldier suffers battle fatigue. I don’t know about you, but I get spent and exhausted at times with all the polemic and apologetics, problems and persistent needs of ministry. I know it is not by our might or by our power but by the Spirit we minister (Zech. 4:6). I know Jesus tells us to come to Him and find rest for our souls (Mat. 11:28-30). But I still get tired. I still get spent. I get battle fatigued. Like the Psalmist I thirst for more of God:
Psalm 63:1-5 - 1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. (cf. Also Psalm 42:1-3)
And what I need, what we all need, is revival.
We need a revival
We need a revival. We need more. Please LORD, show us Your glory! In the book Revival Martyn Lloyd-Jones defines revival as, “Revival is something extra. It is something additional. It is something which is quite unusual” (p. 175). He says, “For, revival, after all, is nothing but God hearing the people and answering them by giving this manifestation of his glory, and his strength, and his power” (p. 199).
What is God’s response to Moses’ request to see His glory; his request for more? Scripture indicates:
Exodus 33:19-23 - 19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
In other words, the LORD said “YES”! And this is what revival is, God’s glory passing by. Martyn Lloyd-Jones described revival in light of these verses saying:
“’While My glory passes by . . .’ (Exodus 33:18-23). He is passing by. Do you know what a revival is? Well, that is a perfect description of it. It is just this glimpse of God, of the glory of God, passing by. That is precisely what it is. Just this glimpse of God. The God who is there in the glory, as it were, comes down and pours out his Spirit and ascends again, and we look on, and feel, and know that the glory of God is in the midst, and is passing by. It is only a touching of the hem of the garment, as it were; it is but a vision of the back.” p. 220
Where can WE find God’s glory?
Where can we find revival? In the New Testament it states:
2 Corinthians 4:6 - 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We find revival, the manifestation of God’s glory, in the face of our Savior and LORD, Jesus.
But how can we experience God’s glory? The apostle Paul was inspired to write:
Colossians 1:26-27 - the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Up to that point in history God had held back something which was now being revealed. That something was “the riches of the glory.” God’s wealth and rich blessing in revealing His glory to us. How? “which is Christ in you the hope of glory.” We see God’s glory most vividly depicted in Christ. But Christ in us by the second birth makes a way for us to experience that glory. It gives us a hope, the prospect of future good, in that with Christ in us we will grow closer to the Lord experiencing His glorious presence more and more until one day we are eternally in His presence. And it also gives us hope in glorifying God in all we do by the presence of Christ in us to empower us in life.
There are times when God manifests His glory in a special way in the church. That is called revival. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains:
“Revival is a time when . . . the whole Church is filled with this glimpse of his glory; the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came he would glorify him. And so when he comes in exceptional power, the glory of Christ is made unusually plain and clear. It is the Holy Spirit’s special work. And so you will find that in every period of revival the hymns of the Church, the prayers of the Church, are filled with thanksgiving and with praise, for the glory of the Lord, and especially for his death upon the cross. The glory of the cross. The wonder of the blood. These things are the theme of the Church. The Spirit coming in unusual power has given an exceptional glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Do you not long for it? Do you not long to see it and to feel it? Do you not long to know what it is to be almost overwhelmed by a sense of his glory, his majesty and all the fullness of his goodness? Seek it, my friend. Seek it personally. Seek it for the Church in general, not only in this country, but everywhere throughout the world. The need of the hour, individually and collectively, is the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” P. 249
Our world and much of the church is in dire inglorious condition. We need a revival. We need a special manifestation of the glory of God in the face of Christ. We need to fully experience Christ in us. That is the perfect answer to our present day predicament.
This poem gives the heart attitude of the one who experiences the glory of Christ within:
Not I, But Christ
Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted;
Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard;
Not I, but Christ, in every look and action,
Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.
Not I, but Christ, to gently soothe in sorrow
Not I, but Christ, to wipe the falling tear;
Not I, but Christ, to lift the weary burden!
Not I, but Christ, to hush away all fear.
Christ, only Christ, no idle word e’er falling;
Christ, only Christ, no needless bustling sound;
Christ, only Christ, no self-important bearing;
Christ, only Christ, no trace of “I” be found.
Not I, but Christ, my every need supplying,
Not I, but Christ, my strength and health to be;
Christ, only Christ, for body, soul, and spirit,
Christ, only Christ, live then Thy life in me.
Christ, only Christ, ere long will fill my vision;
Glory excelling soon, full soon I’ll see –
Christ, only Christ, my all in all to be.
- Mrs. A.A. Worthington
A burden for revival: A burden for more
Moses had experienced quite a bit with the Lord. We look at him and see a man who walked with and knew the LORD personally. We see a man who knew God well enough to humbly, yet boldly petition God. He was a man who knew God’s presence and grace. But he was a man who was not satisfied with that; he still wanted and asked for more.
Moses had a holy dissatisfaction always seeking more of the Lord. I’m not talking about a carnal fatal attraction with dissatisfaction that the children of Israel had. I’m talking about an insatiable appetite for more of the Lord. Do you have that?
Do you share that desire? Do you have that need? Do you have a burden for revival? If so, good, that is the beginning of revival. To quote Lloyd-Jones once more he comments:
“And that is how revivals have always begun. God has put a burden in this way upon somebody, upon one man, perhaps, or upon a number of men – the number does not matter. You might say that a man develops a ‘one-track mind’, it is all he talks about: ‘I will take no rest, I will not hold my peace.” [Isaiah 62:6-7]. He is speaking about it, telling people about it, exhorting people to consider it. Thus, I say, God begins to move.” p. 257
Do you have a burden to be revived? Do you have a burden for your church, community, country and world to be revived, for the glory of God to pass by, for Jesus to be lifted high, for the Spirit to come down upon us?
Do you have a burden for more? Again Lloyd-Jones explains:
“And, here is something that you will find in the lives of all the great saints of God in the Church throughout the ages, and particularly in men on whom God lays his hand in this matter of revival and of intercession. The first thing that happens to them is that they themselves feel this desire for a deeper knowledge of God. Of course, they are good men, they are orthodox men. They believe in God, they know they are saved, they have assurance of salvation – they may have had it for years, - but now they begin to feel a hunger and a thirst for something bigger and something deeper. They read their Bibles, and they feel that here there is some deeper and some fuller knowledge of God, and God’s love, and that is what they want. They are no longer content with what I may call the ordinary condition of the Church. They want something extraordinary, something unusual.” p. 177
Pray it through. Beseech, beg and be burdened for a revival from God. We are doomed without a revival of God. Wherever you are at with the LORD, you need more. You can never have enough of God; enough of Jesus; enough of His Spirit. Like Moses, even when we have experienced all that we could have possibly hoped for, ask for more from the LORD. Ask Him, “Please, show me Your glory.” God said, “Yes” to Moses. He will say “Yes,” to us.