The Presence

20th November

The one thing I ask of the Lord – the one thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

In the Old Testament days, many Jews believed that God’s very presence was only found in the Temple. It was at the Temple that people could make their sacrifices for their sins, it was there that they could pray and there they could seek an answer from God about various issues. However, David knew that God’s presence was so much more than being limited to a man made tabernacle or place of worship. Yes the temple, in Old Testament times was God’s tangible presence on earth, but David wanted more, he knew more of what intimacy with God was like. He knew that in God’s house, he would be safe, hear from God, and be able to sit in the very presence of the Almighty.

We, living in the age of grace, have been given an even greater opportunity to be in God’s presence. Why? Because He lives in us. We became the temple and home for God Himself. Our heart is God’s home. As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” Because we have the amazing gift of grace, we don’t have to go to a ‘temple’ to seek God’s presence, because His very presence lives in us. Moreover, God’s presence is available all the time. The doors are never shut, God is never asleep and His ears are always attentive.

David knew the beauty of God’s holiness, he knew the beauty of God’s temple and the privilege and security that His presence brings. Do you know what an incredible privilege it is to be able to call upon the Name of Jesus wherever you are, whatever the circumstance and whatever the time?

The Presence

7th October

““Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”

1 Kings 19:11-13

God asked Elijah a question two times, “what are you doing here?” Elijah response was the same both times. A defensive yet completely human response. He was scared. He was scared because Jezebel had issued a death warrant for his life and he was the only God-fearing prophet let to represent the One True God. However, God’s questions searched deeper into Elijah’s heart than just what he was physically doing on Mount Sinai.

In verse 4 of chapter 19 Elijah prays to God that his life might end, comparing his life to that of his ancestors. He had enough of being chased by King Ahab and Jezebel and he felt drained that Israel had turned their back on God. Yet God had clearly given Elijah a clear call to defend Him and turn the people back to Him. When God encountered Elijah on the mountain, His question could be interpreted as “why are you running away from what I am calling you to do?”

As God tells Elijah to go out and meet Him, He sent three signs of judgement (wind, earthquakes and fire were often seen as signs of God’s judgements), yet in each of those signs, He was not there. Instead God was found in the still small voice, in the gentle whisper. This highlights that God was not angry with Elijah but understood what he was going through. Not only was God gracious in His response to Elijah but also promised him 7,000 more faithful Israelites and an assistant to help, Elisha.

When we feel alone, scared and even daunted by the task God has given us to do, let us remember this story. Let us remember that God is gracious, He doesn’t get angry with us and more importantly, He equips us to do the task He has called us to do. Where God leads, He equips. Where He guides, He provides!!

What Is Better Than God’s Presence?

2nd July

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul I will shout joyfully to the living God.”

Psalm 84:1-2

Imagine a world where believers have such desperation to meet God and to have intimate and deep relationships with Him. Imagine if believers would have such a sense of longing for the presence of God that it pained them to not be in His presence. Where Christians would shout joyfully to the Lord from the bottom of their hearts and worship Him with their whole being! Is it possible?

It can and should be possible.

We are living in an age of grace where God sent His only Son to die for us and to rise again so we can have an intimate relationship with the Creator of the world. We have the opportunity to access the presence of God wherever we are, whatever we are doing and whatever time of day. God never sleeps, is never too busy for us and is never shy. Wouldn’t it be great if we invited the tangible presence of God on the train on the way to work, while in meetings, around the dinner tables, in our schools and homes. Yet so often we wait for Sunday to come and then decide to worship Him with all our hearts. God isn’t just alive one day out of the week. He is alive everyday!

We shouldn’t just be waiting for Heaven to worship God day and night but start now. Let us include God in all we do. Let us pray that we would have such a strong desire for the presence of God in our lives that in would pain our hearts not to be in His presence. Let us join with the psalmist and worship God with our whole being. It is possible…. We just have to want it!