Living in His Divine Presence
The Son of God suffered to take me into His presence and the indwelling Holy Spirit teaches us everything, even to rejoice while in God’s glory and remain there.

Living in His Divine Presence

The Scriptures contain one message repeatedly, both in the Old and the New Testament, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’. in fulfillment of the same message the indwelling Holy Spirit descended on all believers. Those who believe in God’s this promise stopped the sun and moon on their daily journey for a while others prevailed over giants. Coming into and remaining in the presence of God is the most important aspect of our lives on earth and thereafter. God’s Spirit helps us in both aspects throughout our lives on earth while the devil attempts to lead us away.

         What does it mean by being in God’s presence? – There is the old story of four blind men who were asked to define an elephant from touching it. Each one touched a different part and perceived that part of information to be whole. In like manner our perception of God also differs according to which part of God’s character we are familiar with. God’s presence was manifested on the mountain and the people saw thundering, lightening flashes, the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking and trembled with fear. They asked Moses, ‘you only speak to us, let God not speak lest we die’ and people did not want to hear the voice of God but asked Moses to go to Him instead (Exodus 20:18-19). Adam knew God closely but they from Him out of fear.

         Moses commanded the Israelites, ‘You shall fear YHWH, you shall serve Him; and you shall cleave to Him; and you shall swear by His name’ and this defines the type of our expected relationship with God (Deuteronomy 10:20). The marriage verse ‘For this reason, a man shall forsake…. and cleave’ (Genesis 2:24) and the Hebrew word for cleave is ‘davaq’ which means glue. The specific distinction is that this word is not about sexual union but about personal relationship with friends, family and God. Same word is used where Ruth clings to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17) and again that ‘men cling to each other in friendship’ (Proverbs 18:24). This word ‘davaq’ is linked to the other three words that define the various aspects of our inclusion in God’s heavenly family and all three words are equally important.

          The first is, ‘yare’ or fear of God which is the basis of my relationship with Him and it is about reverence, respect, recognition of His majesty and realization of His power and might. It is for me to understand that He is in control and I do not surrender to His ways without this realization. The second word is, ‘avad’ meaning to serve and the same word also means work. Thus my work must become my service and only then comes the realization that ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13). I serve God and He is delighted to use me to reveal His glory in my works and I rejoice in that. The third, ‘davaq’ means sticking together like glue. I will be useless for God if I do hold on to my part of the bond and remain in Him and Him alone. He will never break it as per His character of permanence, reliability and solidness and marriage is also similar to this bond. And finally, ‘nisheba bishemo’ to swear by His name or to take an oath of allegiance  and then follow His commands alone and none other.

            Why we cannot do it?– Moses at the ‘Burning Bush’ was commanded by God to return to Egypt to lead the Israelites out from slavery but Moses questioned God, ‘who am I that I should go to Pharoah and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt’. Despite God’s specific promise that ‘I will certainly be with you’ Moses was reluctant to go. In every situation we fear three things – first, our own people Moses had experienced rejection by his people and brought out before God this fact that they will say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you’ (Genesis 4:1). In like Manner God promised Joshua also, ‘No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you’. This message is repeated twice ‘be strong’ and then the people told Joshua ‘All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go’. They further declare to him that whoever does not obey you will be put to death but ‘only be strong and of good courage’ (Joshua 1:5, 9, 16-18).  Saul (later Apostle Paul) after receiving the ‘light of truth’ ‘increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus while ‘the Jews plotted to kill him’ (Acts 9:22-23).

          Second fear is about personal competence. Moses said to God, ‘I am not eloquent – I am slow of speech’ but God challenged him on that with the words, ‘who has made man’s mouth? Have not I, the LORD?’  (Exodus 4:10-11). The third fear is of the unknown, the devil, whom we magnify being the unexpected and try and get out of the assignment. But Lord Jesus declared to the disciples during His prayer to God the Father ‘As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world’. Holy Spirit was given to the disciples twice to empower them. First time was when the Risen Lord ‘breathed on the disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22). The second time the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and thereafter He is in and with all believers (Acts 2:2).

         Lord Jesus declared, “If the Son makes you free you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Standing outside Lazarus’ tomb Lord Jesus commanded, ‘Remove the stone’ but the All-Knowing Lord was told he is dead for four days and there will be foul smell from the decomposed body. His reply to Mary and Martha is also for us, ‘if you believe, you will see the glory of God’ (John 11:39-40). But we are afraid of the stink of our present state, of our past sins and of our sinful nature and attempt to hide all from Him. If we accept Him He is able and willing to do all that we need but we are reluctant to change and move out of the self dug dark hole of sin and remove the stone of unbelief to let Him in to give us new life.

       Once we accept and surrender He leads us to the empty tomb like Mary Magdalene and other women who brought spices to anoint the Lord with a worry, ‘who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us’ (Mark 16:3). When we remove our stone of fear and unbelief and step forward, He removes the stone of lack of understanding and then the revelations about the mysteries of His Word start flowing. Only we have to overcome the initial fear and let Him.

         Expected changes in us after getting into His presence – The four major aspects of blessings that a believer receives after accepting Lord Jesus as a personal Savior. And these are enlightenment, empowerment, sanctification and glorification. First, enlightenment – Once our sins forgiven and new life is received in Lord Jesus our spiritual battle gets started. It is for this that the Messiah Lord assured the disciples, ‘And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever’ (John 14:16). The promise is for “Another Helper” and He further assures us, ‘I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you’ and ‘I am going away and coming back to you’ (John 14:18 & 28).  Our first Helper, Lord Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and He also makes intercession for us. Thus in fulfillment of the promise after Lord Jesus ascension into heaven all believers have two helpers from the Holy Trinity – Lord Jesus in heaven and the Holy Spirit in us to empower and guide us. Holy Spirit guides and ‘teaches us everything’ and reveals the mysteries of the Word so that the sword of the Spirit in our hands is made highly effective.

            Second, empowerment – The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit of truth of ‘power, love and self control’ and He equips us to resist the devil and his lies. Books of Joshua and Acts of the Apostles are classic illustrations of living in God’s presence. Joshua believed and led all Israelites to cross a flooded Jordan river, then in obedience circumcised the entire male population of Israel after crossing the Jordan river, in enemy territory thereby incapacitating all males for four to five days. Despite this Joshua courageously confronted ‘a man with his sword drawn in His hand’, who was the Commander of the LORD’S army, who is Lord Jesus, and  received plans for attack on Jericho and captured the city (Joshua 5:13-15). Joshua  in faith commanded, ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and moon, in the valley of Aijalon’. And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had taken revenge over their enemies (10:12-13). The Apostles also, in like manner, walked in awareness of the Lord’s presence with them in all they did and when they were beaten by the temple guards  for preaching Lord Jesus’ name, they rejoiced to be considered worthy of suffering for God’s kingdom (Acts 5:41). Apostle Paul and his companions restrained by the Holy Spirit from going into Asia minor to preach the Word and they readily obeyed.

          Thirdly, sanctification – We are led by the Holy Spirit to say ‘I shall not want’ and we are able to resist temptations, and repent of our sins committed knowingly or unknowingly while surrendering to His righteousness. Being in God’s presence makes us more attentive to His will and be obedient. When Lord Jesus visited their house, Mary wanted to listen to Him but Martha wanted to serve (Luke 10:38-42). We want to serve not listen for in that we retain some form of self control while listening is surrendering to the speaker. ‘But we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37) and we are victorious in and through Him. Apostle Paul informed Timothy, ‘I have fought the good fight’ and this is what is expected from us (2 Timothy 4:7). In faith, ‘our citizenship is in heaven’ (Philippians 3:20) and ‘we are seated with Christ in heavenly places’ (Ephesians 2:6).  Lord Jesus prayed to the Father, “as You have sent Me into the world, even so I have also sent them into the world” (John 17:18).

           Being in His presence is not only about power and authority but also about introspection and the Holy Spirit leads us in this to change us. Prophet Isaiah saw two Seraphim with 6 wings, in the presence of God. With 2 wings they cover the face and use 2 to cover their feet to reveal that ‘my glory and word and my walk are nothing in Your presence, O God. And they sing to each other, ‘Holy, Holy God’ while living in His presence in surrender and only then comes the power (Isaiah 6:2). We are to live life knowing that our destination is heaven for otherwise we shall wander off. We need to daily evaluate, ‘Am I walking as a citizen of heaven permanently in His Divine presence?’

          Finally, glorification – While praying to the Father, Lord Jesus declared, ‘And the glory which You gave Me I have given them’ (John 17:22). ‘We are seated with Lord Jesus in heavenly places’ (Ephesians 2:6). Apostle Paul informs that the ‘called are also glorified’ and this is a continuous ongoing process of transformation and impartation of His glory (Romans 8:30).

          Retaining our place in His presence – This is a continuous and deliberate effort. First, Be in touch by reading His Word – God commanded Joshua, ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it’ (Joshua 1:8). God speaks to us through His Word and it is said, ‘As we read the Bible, the Bible also reads us’, to see our reaction to revealed sin in our lives. Secondly, Obedience – Lord Jesus commanded all believers, ‘If you love Me keep My commandments’ (John 14:15). If we do not wish to follow what God is asking us to do, how can we expect to remain in His presence? Thirdly, live consciously in His presence – God has a purpose for my life and He is monitoring the execution of that regularly. Every aspect of my life, thought, word and deed must confirm to His commands and I have to make a deliberate effort to do so and not go astray. Fourthly, be aware of His gifts – God has blessed us abundantly and we must show appreciation. He has chosen us for we in our blinded sinful state couldn’t have found the Saviour. A good gesture by someone, a helping hand, are all from God and we must acknowledge the blessings thankfully. Fifth, be a blessing to others- Scripture command is to live out our faith in actions for faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Reveal God’s glory and love by being a blessing to someone or offer intercessory prayers for the sick and the suffering. Sixth, keep working at it for improving the relationship through obedience, prayer and fellowship with other believers to encourage and get encouraged.

        How to face dark phases of life – There are times when nothing seems to work, prayers are unanswered, even reading the Scripture feels like a chore and there appears total darkness all around. But darkness does not mean we are alone for these walls are only illusions which come up for testing our faith. YHWH God appeared on the mountain but the people saw thundering, lightening flashes, the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking but ‘Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was’ (Exodus 20:18-21). Job suffered and he had many questions but any separation is an aspect of fog, cloudiness and darkness for a just God conceals His Shekinah or Divine Presence in darkness to save us from destruction. But in faith we must keep at it and remember that He is there for He will neither leave nor forsake us.  Lord Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep for facing such occasions for He comes looking while leaving the 99. Our job is to be found and for this we are to keep seeking Him. We complain that God has turned His face but do not carry pout self analysis for any sin requiring forgiveness or any grudges we hold against someone. God commands, ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart’.

        God wants to keep us close to Him to bless us and His Holy Spirit is a clear proof of this. We are to not only be there but bring others out of the darkness of their sins into His Divine light. But we have to seek Him not like Herod who wanted a miracle performed for his entertainment, but in reverence for He is God. Lord Jesus will find Me definitely when I seek Him, though I may fail in my own efforts. He died for me and now that He has made me a part of His heavenly family, He will not leave me to be lost.

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