Rabbi Schneider - Draw Closer to God
There are many applications for us from the Feast of Tabernacles, but I'm specifically in this series concentrating on the concept of God tabernacling with His people. Every year Israel build for themselves booths that we call Sukkot or individually a sukkah. And we go into these booths each year to remember how the Lord was with His people in the wilderness wandering 35 hundred years ago as He led them out of Egypt towards the Promised Land. And we remember that they had nothing in the wilderness, but God Himself and how He provided for all their needs; that God Himself, listen now, was tabernacling there in the wilderness with His people and Father God wants us to experience that same reality today. He is tabernacling with us.
Again, I laid a lot of foundation on this that I wish I could go over again, but I don't want to do that. I want to just continue to press through this. I'm trying to help us understand how close God is, that He's tabernacling with you and I, that He surrounds us with His presence. Listen, He is closer to you and I then we are to our own breath and we need to wake up. We need to wake up to how close He is, how near He is, that His presence surrounds us and this happens not simply by being passive, but this happens through our participation. We need to by faith affirm that God is with us even when we don't feel it, because often times the workings of God, listen now, are underneath the surface. It's like on the surface of an ocean you don't see everything that's going on beneath that ocean.
In other words, that ocean goes deep, sometimes hundreds of feet and there's all kinds of activity deep down in the ocean. You don't see any of the activity on the surface of the ocean. The same thing is true in the operations of God, beloved ones, in our lives. God is always here and He's always doing something. We need to affirm that. We need to refrain from doubt, from cursing, from unbelief and affirm that Father loves us, that He's here, that He's always doing something good. But you and I have to choose, listen now, to partner with Him in faith; because the Bible says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God".
How do I know God's with us? Well the scripture tells us that when Jesus was born they called Him Immanuel, meaning God is with us. Some of you know that when Jesus was crucified, when He breathed His last there was a veil in the temple that separated what's called the Holy of Holies, which is the chamber in the temple where God's visible presence dwelt. And there was a curtain that separated that special room where God's visible presence was from everything else and only one time a year was the High Priest able to go into that special room where the Lord's presence was. No one else could go in it and the High Priest could go in it only once a year, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. But when Jesus was crucified and breathed His last, the scriptures tell us that that veil that separated mankind from where God's presence dwelt was torn asunder. It was ripped in half.
And the reason that scripture tells us this and the reason also that Jewish historians talk about this fact, they don't attribute it to Jesus, because they're eyes aren't able to perceive it, but the historians tell us that that veil was torn in half. Listen, the reason that it was torn in half is because Father God was showing us that now everyone that would come to Him would have access into His presence. His presence wasn't removed now. It wasn't just certain or select individuals that could experience His glory, that anybody that would come to Him now could have access to His presence. But you and I need to come. Jesus said, "All you that are weary and heavy laden come to me".
God is here and He desires to live your life with you. That's why He said, once again in the book of Exodus 25, He said to His people, "Build Me a tabernacle, a mishkan," listen, "That I might dwell". It was God's idea. He's the one that wanted to dwell with His people in ancient Israel. He desires, listen now, to share your life with you. He wants to partner with you in your life. He wants to be our best friend. He wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to love Him and He wants us to affirm that He's here and that He's causing all things to work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. But we need to be paying attention or we're gonna miss what He's doing.
You see in scripture we see God works in all types of mysterious ways. He speaks in dreams. Jesus spoke in parables that the disciples couldn't understand without really digging into them. And there's gonna be many things that God will do in your life, because He's thinking, He's speaking to you many things that God will be doing in your life, things that friends will say, your dreams at night, circumstances, which seem like coincidences. Many of the things that are happening, listen, are God speaking to us, but we have to be paying attention and we have to be looking to the Lord to discover what it is that He may be saying in a circumstance.
In other words, if all of a sudden you're shopping somewhere and you run into somebody that you hadn't seen in three years, five years, ten years, you should be asking the Lord as I do, "Lord is there a reason that I ran into this person today"? I wake up every morning and I say, "Father did I dream anything last night in which You were speaking to me"? Because a careful study of scripture shows us that one of the most common ways God speaks to His people are through dreams. But many people are receiving words of the Lord in their dreams at night. In other words God is wanting to speak to them, but they're not benefiting, because they're not paying attention.
And so when I wake up in the morning I say, "Lord, did You speak to me last night in a dream"? I just had an example of this. I was facing a situation with an individual and the individual did something that really hurt me and really upset me and I knew that I was going to be seeing this individual in a few days. And I was concerned as to how I was going to handle the relationship. And so you know I was just concerned that I was gonna just you know be emotionally very direct with this individual and hard on this individual, but I had a dream a day before I was gonna see the individual. And in the dream my dad, my earthly dad, spoke to me and he said just one thing to me. He said, listen, He said, "Begin with the end in mind".
I want you to know that the dream in which my dad spoke this to me it was not a pleasant dream. I didn't feel good when my dad said it to me. The quality of the texture in the dream was kind of gray, so there was nothing pleasant about the experience. But it was so strange and the statement that he made was so sharp and tight that I thought, "Wow Lord that seems like it might have been from You". Even though I had no idea what it meant, it seemed common, because the dream was gray and it was even unpleasant. But the next morning I started inquiring of the Lord, "Lord what is this? Does this mean anything? Was this from You"? Because it wasn't like I knew a hundred percent it was a God dream, but I have the habit of asking God, "Are you saying something here"?
When this person spoke to me for example, was there a message there for You, from You for me Lord? So I did that with the dream and then I was praying about it. The Lord brought to my mind, "You know that person that you're gonna be seeing tomorrow that you're upset with? Well if you go up to that person and that person just feels how upset you are and you relate to that person emotionally and show them that you're frustrated with them, what's gonna be the end of that? What will be the result of you doing that"? And I thought, "Wow, the result of my doing that would not produce what I want to happen".
So as a result of the dream that I had where my dad said, "Begin with the end in mind". I said to myself, "What do I want to happen with this relationship? Where do I want this relationship to go? Where do I want the fruit of my encounter with this person to be when I see them tomorrow"? And so I completely changed the way I would have handled it, because the Lord spoke to me in the night. But listen church, I had to be looking and it wasn't like some huge power dream or power miracle, it was just a subtle dream that was gray, that seemed unattractive. I didn't even know it was from God. But I'm always looking for Him and beloved one, even as He spoke to me, get it now, He is speaking to you. God is always speaking to His people. His face, listen now, His face is always directed at you in love.
In fact we have a prayer that the Lord told us to pray, you've heard me say it at the end of every broadcast. We call it the Aaronic Blessing, from the book of Numbers. And part of the Aaronic Blessing says, "Yaer YHWH panav eilecha vichunecha", which is Hebrew for, "And may the Lord's face," listen now, "Shine towards you". What does this mean? God, listen church, your His child. God the Father's face is always looking at you. You never escape His eyes and He's always looking at you, get it now, in love. You're not far away from Him. God is tabernacling with you. Ya air Yahweh panav eilecha vichunecha. The Lord's face is shining, get it now, on you. He's looking at you always, every day, every second of your life in love. He's with you.
You know I read about a story recently and in the story that I read about there was this little boy and the little boy could not go to sleep unless he was sleeping in his daddy's bed. And he would you know say, "Daddy I need to sleep in your bed so I can fall asleep". But the little boy couldn't fall asleep just by sleeping next to his father. He couldn't fall asleep unless his daddy was looking at him. So he would say, "Daddy you're not facing me. Daddy turn around and face me". And it was only when his daddy turned around and looked at him that the little boy could fall asleep.
You know what? Father is looking at you. You can go to sleep. You can rest in His love. You can trust in His presence. Father God is tabernacling among us, but like Jacob, listen now, you and I need to wake up. You see we talked about how God walked with Adam in the cool of the day. We talked about how the Lord met with Moses on top of Mount Sinai. We talked about how God traveled with the great fathers of the faith and they knew that He was with them. But I want you to know, God is not just with the great heroes of the faith. God is with you. Think about Jacob. Jacob was a conniver and a deceiver. I mean he was not the model of a moral person. He deceived his father.
Remember he put the hair on his arms and told his father that he was Esau so he could steal the birthright from the firstborn. You know he lied. He did all these things and yet God loved him and He was with him. In the same way my friend, you don't have to be perfect for God to love you and be with you. You just have to open your heart and let Him in. Jesus died for our sins. All we have to do is receive Him as a free gift. I want to read a portion of scripture now that I hope encourages you. I'm going to the book of Genesis, we call in Hebrew the book of Bereshit.
I want to read about the story of Jacob and the dream that he had. Many of us know the story. Jacob was fleeing for his life. He was fleeing from his brother. He was afraid that his brother Esau was gonna murder him, because of the deceiving his father and stealing Esau's birthright. And so Jacob now he had to leave his family. He had to leave his home. It wasn't like it is today where we can move to a different city, get on the internet and find new friends. No, when you left your city back in the days of the ancient scriptures, you left everything you knew. So Jacob was alone.
Let's pick up now in the book of Genesis chapter 28, verse 11 and 12. Speaking of Jacob we read this, "He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head and laid down in that place". So he's using this, this stone as a pillow. "He had a dream and behold a ladder was set on the earth with it's top reaching to the heavens. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it". Then we continue in the 16th verse. "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.'"
Let's step back for a moment, put it in perspective. Jacob's in the wilderness. He's left everything. He's alone. He's afraid. The sun sets. It's night time. It's time to go to sleep, so he looks for a stone, that was his pillow. And this is not, I know it's hard to believe that you could use a stone as a pillow, but I've actually seen tribes in Africa using wood for pillows. So he's putting his head on this stone and he falls asleep. As he's sleeping God comes to him in a vision of the night, in a dream and Jacob sees a ladder. He sees a ladder laying from where his head is laying on the stone all the way up to the heavens where the Lord dwells. And he sees from heaven to earth angels ascending and descending upon this ladder where his head is laying.
And he wakes up and this is what he said, that, he said, "Surely God is in this place and I did not know it". he had a revelation that God was with him, that God was present, that God was all around him, that God was gonna be with him wherever he went. He didn't realize it before. He thought he was alone. What about you? Do you think you're alone like Jacob? I'm saying to you today, "God is with you and Father loves us. He wants us to wake up. He wants us to affirm it".
I want you just to affirm this with me, because part of coming into this reality is that we need to exercise faith. So let's exercise faith here. Jesus said, "If you say to that mountain be moved and cast into the sea and do not doubt in your heart, it will be moved and nothing will be impossible for you". We have to come against unbelief, because it's a spirit of darkness. We have to exercise our faith. So let's speak the truth right now. Let's say this together.
Father God, King Jesus, I know that You're with me. I believe that You love me and I'm gonna walk in that revelation from now on. Even when I feel You're not with me, I know You are with me. Thank You Father. In Jesus name amen and amen and amen.
You see one of the things that was, the pieces of furniture and one of the elements that was in the ancient Tabernacle that we have been talking about where the Lord's presence dwelled. One of the elements in the ancient Tabernacle, once again we're speaking of the Tabernacle where the Lord dwelt with the children of Israel in the wilderness, was what we call the Table of Show Bread. And there were 12 loaves in the Tabernacle, once again called the Table of Show Bread, and each one of these loaves, church listen, represented one of the 12 tribes of Israel. And this Table of Show Bread is also referred to as the Bread of Presence.
Why was it called the Bread of Presence? Because it represents the fact that God is always present with His people. And even as there was a loaf for each tribe of Israel and it was called the Bread of Presence, so you too, listen, are the apple of God's eye. And even as His eyes are always on the Bread of Presence, His eye my friend is always upon you. Let's not be like the unbelievers of Jesus day that didn't recognize the fact that God was in the common. They saw Jesus, they said, "Is this not Joseph's son? Don't we know his father and mother? How does he now say that He came down from heaven"? They couldn't recognize Him, listen, because He was clothed in the common. He was clothed in humanity. He looked ordinary and yet even in that ordinary state God was in the midst. Don't be like those that said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth"? Yes, something huge came out of Nazareth. The Messiah Himself came out of the city that people looked at as being nothing.
I want you to know, understand that every day no matter what you're going through, the routine, taking care of the kids, answering the phone, when you get up in the morning, when you brush your teeth, even when you go to the bathroom, listen, God is always with you. He wants to hear you talk to Him. He wants you to talk to Him as if He is always with you, because He is. God wants to bring you and I into a greater revelation of His presence. The good news of the Feast of Tabernacles is that God Himself is with you. He's with us. His presence surrounds us and He's tabernacling through life with us. Wherever we go there He will be. God will never forsake you. Jesus said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the age".