May the Lord be with you

(vimeo.com)

(vimeo.com)

Ruth 2:4: And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you!” And they answered, “The LORD bless you.”

Boaz released a blessing into the lives of his workers that can be called the ultimate prayer there is: The Lord be with you. Paul asked: if God be for us who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

The person of the trinity that brings us as Christians into the intimate experience of the reality of God is the Holy Spirit, therefore while the church was making a decision concerning what part of the old testament practices to include as obligatory for the gentile churches, James prefaced his words thus: It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us… (Acts 15:28). They were that aware of His presence, impact and power.

When Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife, came to Peter telling lies about the gift they have for the church, He said that they have lied, not to man but to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:4). In another place in the bible, to highlight the awareness of the disciples of the operations of the Holy Spirit, they said that they are witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus, in partnership with the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the church is a testimony that the resurrection and the ascension of Christ are true. It is a testimony of the acceptability of the sacrifice Jesus made to God.

Going from the type in the old testament, which the bible says is shadow whose substance is Christ (Colossians 6:16-17), the high priest (a type of Christ) in the Old Testament who goes into the most holy place in the temple once a year comes our alive is a sign that a that the sacrifice made to atone for the sins of the nation for the previous year was acceptable to God (Hebrews 9:7-13).

His going into the most holy place, was like dying because he was cut off from the outside would, he is not seen by anyone else and no one can come to where he is. That is a form of death. So in a way the high priest dies yearly for the sins of the whole of Israel, and when he comes out of the “grave” it is a sign of victory, it is a sign that that year, God had accepted the sacrifice made on behalf of the people.

Note that God made his displeasure known with the death of the two sons of Aaron when they offered unacceptable fire in the tabernacle (Leviticus 10:1). That is to show you that going in and coming out from the most holy place is not a given, you may go in and not come out. If God was displeased, going in is not necessarily followed by coming out.

Note also that when the mode of carrying the ark of God to Jerusalem from Shiloh was not acceptable to God, one of people carrying the “holy box” was struck down by God and he died (2Samuel 6:1-8, 1Chronicles 15:13). So it is not a mean thing for the high priest to go into the holy place and come back. It was a big deal. Coming out showed the purpose of going in has been fulfilled, the sacrifice for sin has been accepted, and the favour of God is assured.

All these things multiplied by eternity are what the sacrificial death of Jesus achievement because he came out of the grave and because his sacrifice was a better one than of goats and bulls (Hebrews 9:11-12). Because he (Jesus) is the eternal one, the impact of His sacrifice can be multiplied by eternity. Not only that, the yearly atonement sacrifice rite that comes with the need for the high priest to go into the most holy place, happens every year, but the sacrifice of Jesus took place once (2000 years ago) and for all (Hebrews 9:7, 12, 26-27).

Now the presence of God, by the Holy Spirit in the church is a loud testimony of the fact that Jesus has risen from the death. This is because it was after Jesus’ resurrection, and ascension he poured out the Holy Spirit. When Peter was proving the fact of the resurrection of Jesus, he pointed to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a primary evidence of that holy fact (Acts 2:33).

In the Old Testament the best they experience is the Lord being with them, but it is our portion as Christians for the Lord to be in us (John 14:17). And there is a whole world of difference between the two. The Lord being in us speaks of a dimension of the presence of God that only the new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17) in Christ Jesus can experience.

When we pray we activate the presence of God; that no-limit presence, that can-do-all-things presence. The changes we desire are all tied to the actions of God. But that the Lord manifests His presence in usually manners means we should be flexible in our approach to Him and in what we define as His manifestation.

But because something is spectacular does not mean that it is from God with John saying: test all spirits whether they are of God, because different spirits has gone into the world (1John 4:1-3).

John added: if a spirit does say that Jesus comes in the flesh, it is not of God, it is the spirit of the antichrist. Because something is spectacular does not means it is from God.

There was Simon the sorcerer in the land of Samaria, who was given the name the great power of God, having dominated the community with signs and wonders carried out through demonic spirits. That was all the people knew and they thought he was the real deal (Acts 8:5-13).

But when Philip came to town preaching Christ, with the real power and presence of God, miracles happened on a large scale happening, the whole of the people believed in Jesus.

When Paul went on his first missionary journey there was a sorcerer who opposed his message of Christ. Paul declared a curse on him, saying he would be blind for a season and it happened instantly (Acts 13:4-12). This was a man who through his demonic power sought to oppose the gospel but he regretted it. He was confronted by the presence of God.

In the palace of Pharaoh of Egypt, his sorcerers were able to display the power of Satan to replicate some miracles of God through Moses. But at the end of the day, they bowed to the power and presence of God that came in judgement against the nation of Egypt. The presence of God was with the children of Israel but against their oppressors.

Prior to the manifestation of God in Egypt to deliver the people of Israel where they were in servitude, God declare to Moses, “I have heard the cry of my people, and I have come to down to rescue them. I have come to change things on their behalf (Exodus 3:6-10).”

After seeing the amazing manifestation of the presence of God to deliver Israel from the clutches of Pharaoh, Moses wanted nothing less on their journey in through the wilderness, saying to God: if your presence will not go with us, do not take us from here (Exodus 33:15).

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