I enjoy reading the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). One of the reasons I enjoy it is the fascinating conversations that God has with Moses. I like those passages where God wants to destroy the people and Moses intercedes on their behalf and they are delivered. I also like the passages when Moses is fed up with his brothers and sisters and God reminded him to be patient and to carry them to their destination.
However, my favorite passage is when Moses says to God: "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all other people on the face of the earth? And the Lord said to Moses, I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name." Exodus 33:15-18
In the New Testament, the presence of God with us is known by the news prophesied by Isaiah. That holy presence is known as Emmanuel, which means God with us. (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23)
As many people have experienced some of the worst economic downturns, they have asked why these things have happened to us. Even those who are watching some things that are happening in our various churches have asked why these things have happened to us.
One of the answers is that we have decided to travel without God. I am amazed at the hubris that exists in the business community. Many of the company CEOs believe that they are the creators of the profits that are in this country. When they are not successful they become even more arrogant.
This year a new Anglican group was created, as the church splintered. The main issue of debate for them is the issue of homosexuality. It is dividing the Anglican Church globally, but the homosexual defenders are primarily in the West. When the African and Asian bishops were calling their brothers to be faithful to the Scriptures, they were derided by people like the retired Bishop John Spong from Newark as being infants in their faith. They were additionally threatened that unless they fall in line, some of their money will stop coming from the West. That was the height of arrogance.
What will happen if we invite God to be a part of the business community? Some of the practices that go on will have to cease. Some of connections will have to be disbanded. Some of the ways of creating profit have to stop. Some of the CEO's opulence has to cease. The ways of God are wonderful, but they do not allow for some other ways.
What will happen if we invite God to be the leader in some of our conventions and seminars? Many churches will have to seriously read the Word of God again and see what He says because while we are changing, He does not change. What He said to Moses is valid for us and what is valid for us will be valid for all eternity.
Advent declares that Emmanuel, God with us, has arrived. He invites us to travel with him. Traveling with Him has tremendous benefits - protection, peace and abundant blessings together with our transformation to be like Him. Those who do not want to be like Him choose to go their own way - in economics, in politics and in religion. For a while, the pleasures of sin seem very attractive, but in the end they are destructive, because while God loves and transforms, the Devil hates and destroys.
With whom are you planning to travel in 2009?