Step Towards Transformation
There is a difference between those who merely get by – who copy, imitate, and fake it – AND those who are “real” or authentic about what they believe and do.
I. Moses is an example of someone who “got real”
Remember Cecile B. DeMille’s 10 Commandments?
Do you recall HOW he changed Charlton Heston’s look to show this “God’s glory?” Heston’s hair became white and face became wiser and more mature.
By today’s standards of film expertise it looks a little odd, but it was still effective in communicating what God did in Moses’ life.
Now think hard again – in the movie – WHEN did Heston undergo this change? Do you remember?
It was when he met God at the burning bush.
But that’s not what the Bible tells us. It didn’t happen at the bush… Moses took on “God’s glory” after the 2nd giving of the law – after he trekked up the mountain a 2nd time to receive a copy of God’s commandments to replace the ones he broke earlier.
This change took place at the 2nd giving of the law, not the first. Why would Moses change now?
I believe the difference took place because Moses had changed from an attitude of “getting by” to one of “getting real”.
Consider: at the Burning bush, Moses was a hesitant messenger. When he stood before Pharaoh, he was following orders. As he led the people in the first days of their desert trip Moses was always asking “what am I to do with these people?” Up this point, this whole thing wasn’t his idea. It was God’s.
ILLUS: It’s common knowledge that children from Christian homes, who go off to college, often lose their faith. At college, they find themselves in an entirely new world that challenges many of the standards they had grown up with – and their faith falters. Why would that happen? Frankly, it’s often because the faith they lose wasn’t theirs. It was their parent’s faith. These children had obediently gone along with the morals and believes that ruled their home while they were at home. But once they moved away, since the faith wasn’t theirs to begin with they lose it. In order to survive, they need to change from the faith of their fathers (and mothers) to a faith of their own.
For Moses, something like that had taken place. He changed in his faith and this change took place just before his 2nd time up the Mountain. Exodus 32:19-20 tells us when that change took place:
“When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. He said to Aaron, ’What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?’” (Ex. 32:19-21)
No one told Moses to smash the tablets. No one told him to melt down the idol and grind it to powder. No one told him to spread it’s powder on the drinking water and force the people to drink it. This was all Moses’ idea.
And then Moses turns on Aaron. Up until this time Aaron had been Moses’ “mouthpiece.” Ever since the burning bush, Aaron had been Moses’ support in his faith. But, no longer. Moses had learned he couldn’t lean on Aaron’s faith… and for the first time in their relationship, Moses rebuked his older brother and put him in his place.
After this confrontation, we see Moses really begin to care for the people. Exodus 32:11-12/ 31-32 tells us of Moses’ intercessory prayer and his offer to substitute himself for the people to prevent God’s anger.
II. This is such a ESSENTIAL event in Moses’ life and God uses it as example for us.
II Corinthian 3:12-18 tells us:
“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Notice in verse 18 that we’re told that we as Christians can reflect God’s glory as Moses did. Actually I’ve always liked the KJV of this particular verse which says:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
From “glory to glory.” In other words, this change in our lives takes place bit by bit, little by little, step by step. We don’t usually change overnight. But instead it’s a gradual change that takes place as we continue to walk close to God.
ILLUS: This is an important part of our relationship with God, and we don’t want to be caught “faking it” like the arrogant church member who visited a young Sunday School Class and at one point asked: “Why do you think people call me a Christian?” After a pause, one little boy raised his hand fearfully and asked “Because they don’t know you?”
ILLUS: Instead we should be like the man who inspired one of our favorite hymns. Back in the 1800’s, a famous preacher was holding an evangelistic crusade in a certain city. During the messages, he couldn’t help noticing a man who sat towards the front of the congregation with particularly radiant expression on his face. The message that night was on the “Return of Christ” and the man in the pew got caught up in the excitement of the moment jumped to his feet, and shouted “Yes, Yes! And that will be glory for me!” After the meeting the evangelist asked a deacon who the man was. “Oh,that’s old glory face,” replied the deacon. “He’s a Christian who always seems to be on the mountain top.” The impression of that one man’s countenance was so impressive, that Charles H. Gabriel wrote his popular gospel song:
(SING) “When all my labors and trials are o’er,
and I am safe on that beautiful shore
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
will thru the ages be glory for me. (Sing chorus)
How then do we grow from “Glory to Glory?”
II Corinthians 4:1-3 tells us it is when we are zealous for the things of God.
II Cor. 4:13-15 tells us it is when we care for people.
ILLUS: Do you know how to tell the difference between “pseudo” and real diamonds?
Real diamonds can cut glass. The reality of true diamonds is seen in the mark they make. So also, real Christianity is shown in the mark that we make.
III. This is the reason it’s so important for us to “reflect his glory.”
II Corinthians 4:2-6 tells us there is a veil over the eyes of the this world. If somehow they succeed in having their veil removed – who will they look to? Will it be you and me.
CLOSE: The German artist “Dannaker” was known for his painstaking work on his sculptings. For two years he worked on his famous statue of Christ. When he felt he was finished he called to some children playing outside his studio and asked one of them to come in and evaluate his work. “Who is that?” he asked.
The little girl quick replied “A great man.”
That reply struck at his heart, for he wanted a work that declared the power of a risen savior… not just a ’great man’. So he took up his chisel and for the next 6 years he toiled to recreate the masterpiece. When he was finished, again he asked a child to come into the studio and asked again: “Who is this?”
The child replied: “It’s Jesus.”
And thus, Dannaker’s powerful work was declared ready for the world. The sculptor later confessed to a friend that during those long weary days of working on this sculpting, Christ had come and revealed Himself to him. He had only transferred to the marble the vision he had seen.
Sometime later, Napoleon Bonaparte desired to commission Dannaker to sculpt a statue of Venus. The money was good, and the employment was sure, but Dannaker refused. “A man,” he said, “who had seen Christ can never employ his gifts in carving a pagan goddess. My art is henceforth a consecrated thing.”
Jesus said: “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:16)