Sinaitic Refreshing

_MG_4749“You gave abundant showers, O God;
you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it…” -Ps. 68.9-10a

At Sinai, the earth shook and the heavens dropped rain at the visible presence of the Lord. The Israelites, though they had cleansed themselves in preparation, were gripped with holy fear, and could not bear hearing the voice of God. Moses himself was “full of fear and trembling.” 

Yet with all of the smoke and fire, with all of the shaking and majesty, with the conviction and requirement of the commandments given, the psalmist tells us that “abundant showers” were given, and that Israel, which he describes as God’s “weary inheritance,” was “refreshed,” and that they “settled in” the rejuvenating reality of His presence.

We can be certain that when the Lord comes to us in our complacency, our compromise, and our self-absorption, there will be great shaking and conviction. Our categories will be rocked. Our preferences will be rattled. Our notions and presumptions will be shattered. Our future hopes will be challenged. Our plans will be turned upside down. Our pride and self-sufficiency will tremble like a leaf in the windstorm. We will see our lives and religious ideas as inadequate, something akin to using cardboard for the foundation of a house.

Have you come to that kind of shaking in your own heart? Have you cried out, not just about personal sin, but about the fact that as a person made of dust, there is nothing good in you at all? One of my friends who has gone to be with the Lord used to say, “Unless you’ve cried out about being a man, you’ve not cried out.” Have you come to realize your utter inability to produce that which is right in your own self?

The Israelites did cry out, but only those whose hearts were willing for a total shaking passed through into that which the Lord had intended for the moment. Many were slain, but many followed Moses and the Word, back into the wilderness.

The remarkable thing I’m seeing here is, if we really allow the shaking to have its effect in our hearts, no matter how that looks and no matter what that requires, we experience “abundant showers,” we are “refreshed,” and we come to realize that though we are weary, we are indeed His “inheritance.” 

After those Jewish souls cried out, “What shall we do?” upon hearing Peter’s pointed message, he replied, “Repent, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you- even Jesus.”

If the shaking is from heaven, and you have rightly turned to Him in the midst of it, be assured that “times of refreshing” will “come from the presence of the Lord.” Be assured that “abundant showers” will come, and as God’s “weary inheritance,” you will be “refreshed,” and settle into His great, loving heart. New life will break in. New joy will emerge. New love will burn. New wisdom will come. Refreshing rain from heaven makes all things new, and the Father in heaven has always desired to pour out new life upon His people, bringing the kind of refreshing that only He can give.

Even now my heart cries out, Lord. And I can hear, in my inner-ear, the sounds of rain. Come, shake all that can be shaken. Turn our hearts to You entirely, and refresh Your weary inheritance.

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