“When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead. When they enter, the prince shall enter with them, and when they go out, he shall go out.” Ezekiel 46:9-10
Moses’ face altered in appearance with its heavenly glow. David was renewed with strength for battle with sin and soldier. Nehemiah gained clear direction for what to do next. Daniel and John had visions of their majestic God and His kingdom plans. Once before their Lord, these men of God never returned or saw the same way, but went ahead with Him in new understanding, passion, and power. (Exodus 34:29,34-35; Nehemiah 1:4-11; Psalm 32:3-5; Daniel 2:19-23; Revelation 1:10-11; 4:1-11)
Every time we come before the Lord, we have opportunity to retreat unaltered the same way we entered, or to go out different. Spending meaningful time with the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the Ruler of the universe, changes us, and this is our holy God’s intention.
When we go before our Lord in devotion, what is our desire and expectation? If our hearts are not malleable, and our ears deaf to all but our own voice, we will miss the opportunity for God to have His way. Are we checking the “Quiet Time” box off our list, or are we seeking genuine worship and communion? Do we bring a list of requests we’ve tallied, or ask Him to search our hearts and speak to us with conviction and instruction? Do we allot a hurried amount of time, or converse, and wait, until He is finished with us? (Genesis 17:22; 18:33)
Do we approach the feast He has prepared and sup in such a way that when we enter weary, we leave refreshed? When we enter bitter and angry, do we leave cleansed and emboldened to forgive? If we enter confused over relationships, decisions, finances, future plans, do we leave trusting the Spirit to guide one step at a time?
What has God revealed about Himself and His manner of work in individuals, the church, and the world, in recent time together? How has He reshaped our thinking, or assuaged our fears? What niggling sins has He removed, what new resolve has He prodded, what changed attitudes and transformed affections has He created?
When we want much from Him, He will never disappoint. Our prayers may not be answered how and when we desire, but Almighty God will not fail to bring about His intentions for us and for His kingdom. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
Father, create proper expectation for my time at Your table. Feed and nourish my spirit so I am daily changed and growing, to the praise of Your glorious grace and purpose.