Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the significant love of your life. For some, this is a husband or wife; for others, a boyfriend or girlfriend; and some are without a Valentine for Valentine’s Day. I know I had quite a few years like that. Yet I wasn’t truly without a Valentine, because ever since I came to know Jesus in a personal way, I have considered him to be my First Love!
I’m not here to suggest that you don’t celebrate the significant other that you have in your life on Valentine’s Day, but what I would like to suggest is that you not forget Jesus as your most significant other. In Revelations 2, Jesus is talking to the church in Ephesus, and he tells them that he is upset with them, because they have forsaken their first love, who is Jesus. I have taken that phrase “first love” to mean “highest, most important, preeminent love”. That is, Jesus wants to have the status as the one we love the most. Yet when we are honest with ourselves, a lot of us recognize that the flame that once burned bright in our hearts due to the passion we had for him has now become weak and dim.
Let’s take the occasion of Valentine’s Day to renew our passion for Jesus! Even if we feel we are in love with Jesus, there is always more to be had. I’m not suggesting we beat ourselves up about our failures, or even rev ourselves up so that we get hyped on adrenalin. Rather, what I’m suggesting is that we do the things that make our hearts come alive when we are with our love: we take walks where our focus is on our love; we sing to our love; we speak words of gratitude to our love. And we don’t do this just one day out of the year — we use that one special day, Valentine’s Day, as a way of re-establishing patterns for cultivating love for our Beloved year round.
Let us stir up the passion as Song of Solomon teaches us, recalling that “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine” (Song of Solomon 2:16, 6:3) and even embracing the truth that “I am my Beloved’s and His desire is for me” (Song of Solomon 7:10)! Yes, as hard as some of us may find it to believe, Jesus’ passion for us is great — and no matter how much passion we stir up for him, his passion for us is even greater!
Here’s hoping that you and your Beloved have an unforgettable Valentine’s Day this year!
In Part 1 of Asking from a Place of Intimacy, we saw two bold requests Moses made of God in Exodus 33:12-17, and how God granted those requests. Here, we will see Moses ask for something really outrageous. We read in Exodus 33:18-23,
Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
Moses asked to see God’s glory! No person had ever asked for that before in part because people getting that close to God expected to die from the experience. Yet Moses was at the place of intimacy with God that he wanted to go deeper than he had gone before, and his request, if granted, would take him to that depth.
We have been taking a close look at the interaction between Moses and God recorded in Exodus 33. The chapter began with God telling Moses that He isn’t going to go with Israel into the Promised Land, because the nation is stubborn and unwilling to walk in faith with God. Then we read about Moses establishing the Tent of Meeting where he regularly meets with God, and how the nation responds with admiration for Moses and reverence for God when he goes to the Tent. In this article, we will focus on the unbelievable requests Moses makes of God, and the more surprising favorable answers God gives him.
You can change God’s mind from a place of intimacy
As we begin with Exodus 33:12-14, we find the first exchange between Moses and God.
Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (NIV)
To understand in context what Moses seems to be asking, we have to refer back to verses 1 to 3 in which God said that he would not go with Israel into the Promised Land, but would send an angel to lead them instead. Moses is now asking God whether He had reconsidered what he said about not going with Israel Himself. Moses reminds God that He had told Moses that Moses had found favor with Him. And Moses asks directly for God to show Moses ways that are pleasing to God, so that Moses can know God better, and can continue to please God.