Approach with Ulterior Motives
Christopher B. Harbin
Why do we come to God? Why do we show up at church, read the Bible, or pray? On one hand, the reasons that bring us to God do not matter in the least, for they bring us to God's presence. On the other hand, what brings us to God changes how we respond to God and allow God's presence to impact our lives. We may come into God's presence and miss the whole point of that encounter.
Some arrive before God to be seen by others. Jesus was pretty clear about the result. Being seen would be the only reward and blessing flowing from such ulterior motives.
Others would come before God to assuage their guilt, but without allowing for any change in the rest of their living. Such a motive might generate a limited or temporary return, but with little true consequence. It's just as likely that such a motive would only end up increasing one's sense of guilt.
Many would come before God out of a sense of obligation, or duty. There is nothing exceptional about such an approach to God. It guarantees little blessing, but it does allow for an open door whereby God may affect an unexpected change over time.
A fair number would come before God in deference to the expectations of friends or family. They may or may not respect God's presence, but they likely miss its blessing for lack of attention.
What about a proper way to approach God? Why and how should we come before God?
The Hebrews often displayed no proper approach to God. Sure, they were called by Yahweh to be a chosen nation, but, as a whole, they did not have a good handle on how that relationship was to work. They missed the calling more than they got it right. Perhaps the story of Exodus 16 is a prime example of their failure to seek God appropriately.
They expected Moses and Aaron to stand between God and themselves. They wanted to keep God at an arm's length. They were ready to reap the blessings of God's provision, yet wanted so ...
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