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I stand in the Presence of God
Have you ever gone to the beach or to a pool where there are a number of people swimming and wading in the water?
Have you ever heard somebody complain that the water was too cold? They stick their toes in the water, and it feels too cold for them to swim in. Perhaps they put their feet in the water, but they would never go in all the way. They claim that the water is too cold, while others are diving in and enjoying every minute of it. Those who dive in say the water is warm and beautiful. Sound familiar?
There are too many people that have just enough of God to be uncomfortable. They are like those who are standing at the edge of the pool, or the shore of the beach. They dip their toes in and to them the water is too cold to swim in.
Others go in all the way. They give their all. They dive in. They love it!
Its time we do likewise. Let us jump in. Let us swim, and not wade. Let us enjoy God like we should as the old saying is "our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
Most people do not enjoy God now. How can we enjoy Him forever?
This article deals with one of the greatest and most rewarding of all spiritual disciplines. It is called "Practicing the Presence of God". Some refer this teaching to be the key to a true happy life. Others call it the "Best Rule of a Holy Life".
Before Whom I Stand
1 Kings 17:1 "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, BEFORE WHOM I STAND , there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."
1 Kings 18:15 "And Elijah said , As the LORD of hosts liveth, BEFORE WHOM I STAND, I will surely shew myself unto him to day.
Elijah knew the presence of the Lord very well. On two different occasions Elijah boldly proclaimed that he stood before the Lord. We can hear Elijah's voice echoing throughout the ages. He knew he stood in the presence of the Lord God Almighty.
Elisha, Elijah's successor also used the phrase with great boldness...
2 Kings 3:14 "And Elisha said , As the LORD of hosts liveth, BEFORE WHOM I STAND, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee."
2 Kings 5:16 "But he (Elisha) said , As the LORD liveth, BEFORE WHOM I STAND, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused ."
Here we also see Elisha using the phrase "BEFORE WHOM I STAND".
Elijah and Elisha both knew the art of ever being aware of the presence of the Lord.
We also see New Testament occurrences of this same principle.
The angel Gabriel came to Zechariah, John the Baptist's father and told him he would have a son.
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years . And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, THAT STAND IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings . (Luke 1:18,19)
Brother Lawrence was a man who lived in France in the 17th century. This remarkable man is famous for his teachings of practicing the presence of God.
Brother Lawrence grew up in humble circumstances and eventually got a job serving in the kitchen of a monastery. Brother Lawrence eventually became one of the most respected spiritual men of the century.
He developed a discipline for the presence of God. Everywhere he went, everyday, every hour, every minute, he drove away every thought that distracted him from the presence of God. He continuously prayed, without ceasing. He develop such a wonderful and intimate relationship with God that few ever attain.Anyone interested in the wonderful art of practicing the presence of God must read his writings.
King David, a great prophet, and king knew the practice of the presence of God very well. We can hear it is his writings, especially Psalm 139... which reads...
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
Running from the Presence of God
Right from the very beginning we read accounts of those who run from the presence of the Lord.
Adam and Eve mark the first. After they disobeyed God...
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife HID THEMSELVES FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD GOD among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)
Also we read another similar story:
Jonah was commanded of God to go and preach to Nineveh.
It says in Jonah 1:3, "But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD."
So then, we see that it is possible to flee from God's presence. It is possible to live without the presence of the Lord in your life.
One of the basic religious teachings all over the world is that God is everywhere. Some people believe that God is in the trees, in the seas, in the sky, and in the rocks.
Some people believe that God dwells in everyone.
The only scripture that I know of that is the basis of the omnipresent theology is Psalm 139 (listed under "King David" above).
But does Psalm 139 teach the omnipresence of God?
I do not believe it does. Let me explain. Who wrote this passage? King David did. It can also be taken as a prophetic passage of Jesus relationship with His Father.
However you look at it, King David is simply proclaiming God's presence with HIM everywhere he goes. This is due to the fact that David was anointed. The prophet Samuel anointed David with oil, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. King David was anointed of God. He had a special blessing upon his life. Samuel blessed him with the presence of God.
Psalm 139 does not say that every Joe Blow walking down the street has the presence of God with him. It is merely saying that King David (prophetically, Jesus) has the presence of God everywhere he goes. This passage is clearly not for everyone, but only for those in the position of King David; those who have been anointed of God.
I've got questions for those who believe in the omnipresence of God:
Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (Rev. 3:20)
Did Jesus say this to the world? NO! He said this to the church! Those people who profess his name and read the scriptures. He is NOT inside. He is OUTSIDE, wanting in.
There are multitudes of people who think they have the presence of the Lord in their lives because they are believers, or because they are church-goers.
Jesus said to the people of the CHURCH - that He is outside, wanting in.
In Exodus 33 we read the account of Moses. The Lord said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Then he (Moses) said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us?"
QUESTION #1: If God were omnipresent, then why would Moses and the Lord say such things to each other?
Priests would bless people by the presence of the Lord. Judges 18:6 "And the priest said to them, "Go in peace. The presence of the Lord be with you on your way."
QUESTION #2: If God were omnipresent, then why would priests bless people with the presence of the Lord?
We read earlier how Adam and Eve, and Jonah fled the presence of the Lord.
QUESTION #3: If God were omnipresent, then how could they flee the presence of God?
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