The presence of God

cross-211989_6401Chronicles 13:14: And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.

With the ark of God, Obededom had the presence of God in his house, and that translated into tangible blessings for him and his whole household.

Many people do not seek the presence of God, because they don’t know of what benefit it will be to them. They don’t know that just because they cannot see God does not mean he is not active. They think what they can see is all there is. They did not know that the presence of God can translate to prosperity.

However there is a risk involved in that. Many get into a higher position or get wealthier and for the purpose of carrying everyone along to maintain their popularity and prestige they forsake God, disobeying him. Saul and Jeroboam are examples in this. When God chose Saul to be King, he was nobody but when he got to the position he started to seek to please man.

Paul asked to the Galatians: having begun in the spirit, do you now want to be made perfect in the flesh (Galatians 3:3)? That means they prioritised the presence of God, now they have moved into the striving of the flesh.  Having been appointed by God, Saul wanted to continue by seeking the approval of men. But Apostle Paul also said about himself: if I still pleased men I would not be a servant of God (Galatians 1:10).

What happened to Saul also happened to Jeroboam. Having been appointed king by God, he then sought to strengthen himself as the king by erecting molten images for the children of Israel to worship, to become the final religious authority as he is the final political authority (1Kings 12:25-33). He did this because he was afraid that the people would cease to follow him, if they go to worship God in Jerusalem, in Judah.

Psalm 14 verse says: the fool says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1). Because of the passage of time they have forgotten that the first man Adam exchanged his relationship with God with him relationship with his wife and lost out of the blessings of God’s presence (Genesis 3).

Jesus said that he who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life will gain it (Mark 8:35). Eve disobeyed God seeking for wisdom (to save his life, loving her life) but she later realised that she has been made a fool of by the devil. By yielding to him, she lost her relationship with God. She did not realise at that time was the greatest treasure there is, is the wisdom of God, which is a fruit of his presence.

Paul warned the Colossian church to not allow anyone to defraud them (claiming to be wise, and having the key to some special knowledge) in any way to let go of their attachment to Christ and his presence, as he is there all in all (Colossians 2:16-23).

If we live our lives always trying to impress others, we would not amount to much with God. In the book of Matthew, Jesus said that when we pray we should not be like the hypocrites who for show make long prayers in the public (Matthew 6:3-6).  We should go into our closet to pray and the God who sees in secret will reward us openly, that is the reward of seeking his presence in secret prayer.

Jesus in his practise of prayer regularly spend long hours in prayer. That was why when he was under a lot of pressure in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46), he could easily turn to God and God responded with a dispatch of angels. On the cross, he turned to God, because that has been his practice (Matthew 27:46); at the grave of Lazarus he did not panic but raised his voice up to God after which he raised him from the dead (John 11:41-44).

The presence of God can also be a fiery thing, as God is described as being a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). The Lord can be terrifying in his judgement, that was why Paul said: knowing the coming terror of God’s judgement on the unbelievers, we persuade men, to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ now (2Corinthians 5:11).

When Isaiah appeared in the presence of God, he wanted he ground to open and swallow him up, so to speak (Isaiah 6:1-7). He said: woe is me because I am a man of unclean lips, living among people of unclean lips, because I have seen the Lord the most high. The holiness of God overwhelmed him; it contrasted with his own uncleanness.

Before the limitless holiness of God, humanity does not have a place, if Jesus did not condescend and shed his blood to clean us up; there was nothing that will be done. Jesus, by his blood, made us clean through his blood (Romans 3:25).

When Adam and Eve sinned they wanted nothing to do with the presence of God, with his holiness contrasting to their un-holiness, which caused them to be full of shame.

Jesus said that many do not want to come to the light so that their works of evil will not be exposed (John 3:19-21). Sinful man always seeks to hide his sin.

That is why the call to repentance is hard to answer. The bible says most men will proclaim their own goodness (Proverbs 20:6); everyman will put his best foot forward. King Saul did not repent when he was confronted with the error of his ways, he put up an excuse, and that cost him his throne (1Samuel 15). When Adam and Eve were confronted with the error of their ways they were full of excuses but that did not help them to get from under God’s judgment. That is why now if you want to have anything to do with God, the first thing is repentance.

Repentance is hard because it means you acknowledge that you may not be as good as you thought you are. But it also means you are ready for receive God’s help. The bible says that we can come to the throne of God, the very presence of God, to ask for grace to help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Helps comes from God, who is more than willing to help us in every area of need, with the grace that comes from His presence.

Psalm 20 said: the Lord will send us help from his sanctuary. In the psalm 91, we read that protection is conferred on us by the presence of God, that even if many are suffering all around us, we would be protected.

A time will come after this season of grace that God will come in judgement on the earth and the people will ask rocks to fall on us so that they can escape the fiery presence of the God (Revelation 6:12-17). In another place, the bible says that heaven and earth will flee from the presence of God (Revelation 20:11).

However for us, the presence of God for us is the refreshing (Acts 3:19), it is where we find fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). That is where we are energised, refueled with joy, strengthened with might by God’s spirit in our inner man (Ephesians 3:16-21). It is where we become full of the sense of God’s love for us.

 

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