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The Need For His Presence
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
The Presence of God
There is no greater joy than having a get away spot to reflect, to think and spend moments meditating on the goodness of God. Having a place to “stand still” and see the salvation of the Lord is not only refreshing, but beneficial in aiding the worshiper to draw near unto God, as God draws near unto him or her; a place where God moves toward the yielded heart beckoning for more of Him.
One writer said it best, “This is the air that I breathe, your holy presence, living and moving in me.” Another song states that, “The presence of the Lord is here, I can feel Him in the atmosphere,” while another states, “Take me to the place where you are, in your dwelling place forever, I don’t want to worship from afar, I just want to be where you are. I just want to be where you are, dwelling in your presence, feasting at your table, giving you holy reverence, in your presence, that’s where I always want to be,……..I just want to be where you are, I just want to be with You.”
Why is the presence of the Lord so significant to the life blood of the worshipper?
1) The word presence denotes to have a “before the face encounter” with God. We meet face to face with God. Exodus 33:11 – “So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.”
2) In the presence or “before the face encounter” with God we are changed in the presence of Him that sits upon the throne. Exodus 34:29 – “[ The Shining Face of Moses ] Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.” (see Exodus 34:30; 35).
3) In the presence of God we gain revelation, instruction and insight. Moses came down from the mount (or high place) with the two tables of stones – truths revealed to him while being in the presence of a holy God.
Men who have no longing to be in the presence of God are men that have no “worship center” within……..for true worship resides in the fact that the worshiper abides in the state of worship as a worshiper, not trying to worship to get something from God, but rather to release something to God; - expressing the need and dependency upon God.
When we align our hearts correctly we will not make the mistake that Adam and the woman did in the Garden of Eden……when they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord-God (Adonai-Eloheem). To hide one’s self from the presence of the Lord is to shield one’s self from the creative influence of God. God asked Adam and the fallen woman, a question, “WHERE ARE YOU?”
This is a question that is being asked even in our day: Man of God! Woman of God! Where are you? This would seem like a rhetorical question coming from a God that is omniscient (ALL WISDOM), omni-potent (ALL POWERFUL) and omnipresent (ALL PRESENT) – He knows already where Adam and the fallen woman are, but he needs them to know. They hid themselves behind aprons sewn together (fleshly effort) – fittingly out of “fig leaves” – not figs, but out of fig leaves – a false covering as appose to the covering anointing that comes with being in the presence of the Lord.
Men who do not abide in the presence are covered with “fig leaves” – substitutional things that serve to present men with a false sense of belonging to God, while attempting to hide…….from God. Men who hide from the presence or the voice of God do themselves a disservice because there is no deliverance in hiding from God. It is almost a moronic philosophy to even believe that we can hide from the presence of God; for God is ALL PRESENT, everywhere, everyplace, involved in every moment. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalms 139 7-12 KJV).
How senseless it is to think that we, who are God’s creation, can hide from the invisible God.
When we cease to believe the myth that we can somehow hide from God, then we will hear the voice of God walking in the midst of our Garden calling unto to be, to dwell, to abide in the presence of a holy God.
God is a God that changes not, but at the same time He is a God that changes those that abide in His presence.God is love (I John 4:8, 16), God is Light (I John 1:5), God is a spirit (John 4:24), God is merciful (Psalms 116:5) and God is Holy (Psalms 99:9). Note: These are just but a few things that describe our God. (It is in the presence of God that we obtain the joy of the Lord, joy is different from happiness. “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”Joy is rich with the ability to sustain us in the face of adversity. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Too many believers are operating in false strength; relying on things solely to make them feel a false sense of being in God’s presence.
Their houses, land and cars, have become their strength……..and in the back of their mind they worry, given the present state of the economy, will they be able to hold on to………their strength?
The “fig leaf” of college degrees, and the accolades of men serve as strength……only to be challenged by a job market that passes them over……….forcing us, at times to put on new strength in the form of BA’s, MA’s, Grad school, etc……….because we have lost our place, our position in the kingdom of God as the priest of the Lord, who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The Bible declares, “He that hungers (to seek with eager desire) and thirst (to suffer from thirst) for righteousness – SHALL BE FILLED.
To be in the presence of God is to sense the urging to BE RIGHTEOUS! Cain did not have a righteous bone in his body, because he did not have the heart for God, and ultimately, like individuals today, he chose to dwell in the land of NOD (Genesis 4:16), “…He went out from the presence of the Lord.” Cain represents so many individuals that are caught up in their works of the fruits of the ground becoming disjointed, because their sacrifice of the earth is not received in the eyes of the Lord…….because when an individual does not know what it is to be in the presence of Lord, he or she can only offer what is grown out of their efforts.
There are those who visit the presence, while others have learned to dwell there. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide (tabernacle, lodge, and rest) under the shadow (the place of protection) of The Almighty (El Shaddai).
The presence of the Lord delivers us by encasing us in a fortified wall of godliness: “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” My will is to trust Him, because in his presence I am encamped…….The Lord will encamp His angels around about them that fear (reverence) Him. When we understand that to be in His presence is to house His glory within us, the infilling of His abiding nature. Church services are overrun with vessels who gather to be in His presence, when if the truth be told; we carry within ourselves the glory, even the glorified Christ. The cloud of glory for the Children of Israel was a symbol of God’s covering grace, a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, leading, guiding, illustrating for us who abide under a better covenant, the provision we have in Christ as our pillar of cloud, in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Isn’t it clear to you my dear reader, that it is IN HIM that you LIVE, MOVE and HAVE YOUR BEING? It is not in your material possessions, for the word is clear to tell us, that a man’s life is not in the things that he possesses; for the ZOE of God is founded in our position in the presence of God. Even as I sit here and type these words, I sense the presence of a loving God that has made a far better way for you and I, and that is through and of His Son, The Daystar Shining ever so brightly upon us, within us, and ultimately out of us.
Please forgive me for not giving you the actual verse location of the things I allude to, but I think of Mary and Martha, one busy preparing for the feast, distant, working diligently in another room, in the same house as Christ, yet, not in the same vicinity. How many souls are of that church order that is gathered in the house where Christ, yet they are altogether some place else in their affection for Him? We must be of that church that is couched beneath the feet of Christ, drinking in every word that comes out of His mouth, for fear we might miss something of great importance to move us forward in His life. Not captivated by the sounding of the organ, or the drummers beat, but locked into the honey that drips from the honeycomb, being energized to be arrested by an ever unfolding kingdom: THE JOY OF THE LORD!
Martha: Type of A Distracted Believer
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
The church of our day is too preoccupied with MUCH SERVING. And though it is a good thing to serve, we must be careful that serving does not get in the way of our need to abide in the presence of God. There are some pastors that believe keeping people busy with serving or church activity, prevent the disciples from having time to commit sin. If activity is needed to keep people from sinning, then the power of God is of none effect in our lives. Sometimes the very thing that we are called to, can be the very thing that gets in the way of our chance to dwell in the presence of God. The Lord-God does not need us to do anything for Him, if anything; we need to be empowered to do things in Him. Mary chose correctly, she chose to shutdown here ministry to be strengthened with something that was going to benefit her in the long run. Martha speaks of the distracted believer that is captivated by activity…mere business!
We must become as Mary and sit at the feet of Christ, in order that we might be changed by the words spoken unto us by the Spirit. We rave about the Holy Spirit having His way with us, and yet when the invitation is offered, we settle for the fabricated worship, becoming immersed in carnal emotion, imitating a sense of being in His presence, when to be in His presence, sometimes is just sitting there in the quietness, shutting down the kitchen of preparation, so we might learn from Him that says, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also!”
I am often fascinated by the fact that we have all these churches, and yet we cease to have people hungry for the miraculous. Parishioners bombard the altar, with hands lifted and voices elevated crying out for more of God, just so they can become busier, consumed with bodily exercise that profits little.
The very thing that is needed, no one wants to shut down the business of their life to simply sit in the presence of the Lord. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, because they are not CAREFUL AND TROUBLED ABOUT MANY THINGS. Maybe this is a stretch in the understanding on worldliness, yet I say with great boldness that to be given to distractions is to be WORLDLY! The Bible declares that the word that is sown among thorns is a person that is consumed with the cares of this life…that is worldliness. We must be a people that are given to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to get into the presence of the Lord, that we might be changed through His mighty word, a word that breathed into us by way of the Holy Spirit. There are so many distractions that present themselves in our day to day life, work, family, planning, dreams, career, ministry, making money, getting married, raising the children, caring for the husband, caring for the wife, so many, many things; and the answers we need for them all, is to SIT IN HIS PRESENCE and HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS UNTO THE CHURCH.
As long as we are given to the business of life, we will miss the opportunity to HEAR THE VOICE OF THE SON speak unto us. We will not know what it is to operate in the power and boldness of the Holy Spirit, because we are far too busy to take head TO SIT!
Let it be known that individuals that are busy being busy are very quick to challenge someone that chooses THE GOOD PART, they are quick to condemn, because they are deceived by their allegiance to activity. They are religiously busy, yet they are spiritually depraved of THE GOOD PART being at work in their life. Their activity has falsely led them down a path that seems justified in their own eyes; a path that is filled with pestilence, the things that eat away at their substance, leaving them for dead. Pestilence refers to that which “leads us away” from health, and life; overcoming us with disease and that which destroys.
Oh beloved, how many churches are filled with diseased believers who have not tasted of the life of God? How many come to church ate up with the business of life, because they have not taken the time to quiet themselves and to sit in His presence? How many are hoping to survive on a shout? How many are trying to live off of the word from the pastor? And how many are hoping to gain strength through their tithing, and emotion filled worship?
We are made to worship! The truth is this, if we do not worship God, we will find someone, and something or give ourselves to, living, or more fittingly (dying) in its presence.
We must position ourselves to be influenced by the Kingdom of God, by finding time to sit. We must become filled with intense longing to be in His presence:
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the Living God. (Not ministry, family, career, dreams, accomplishments, etc,)
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house (His secret place – a place in the spirit): they will be still praising thee. Selah
Blessed is the man whose STRENGTH IS IN THEE; and whose heart (man’s spiritual center) are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
For a day in they courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
The above passage (Psalms 84:1-7; 10)is often times connected with going to church; promoting church attendance, but I say to you that there is a much richer and rewarding place and that is in the sanctuary of God, which is God Himself.
“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalms 90:1), precious heart, find the true place of joy, that place is in the presence of God!