WHAT TO EXPECT IN GOD'S PRESENCE
Good day to you all! As we have been in this series of “The Power of His Presence,” I have been meditating on Psalm 114. If you haven't read that Psalm, it is so beautiful and a great illustration of the POWER of God’s presence!
As I was meditating on these verses, and others about God’s presence, I wondered if there were some consistencies in God’s character that we can see when in His presence. When we, as finite human beings, encounter the presence of the Almighty, how can we recognize God’s presence and not something counterfeit?
Two stories stuck out to me: Exodus 3 and Mark 10:17-27. Both stories are preached on frequently. The story found in the gospel of Mark is about the rich young ruler talking with Jesus, and Exodus 3 is the burning bush experience with Moses. In each of these encounters with God Himself, or the Son of God, I believe we can find consistencies of God’s character to know it is God’s presence and voice. I will let you read the stories again on your own, but I here are a few consistencies I found:
1. Confrontation. In each story we see the person that is interacting with God is confronted on what they believe or think to be right, right where each person was in their life. Moses was speaking out of insecurity that God possibly had the wrong man due to a lack of eloquence.
When the rich young ruler asked how to inherit eternal life, Jesus repeated some of the ten commandments, and the ruler said he had done all those things. All these things the ruler knowingly did and still was confronted on lacking something. The young ruler had all the commandments down in how to treat others around him. However, his understanding and the “living out” of the first few commandments was being confronted. When Jesus told him to go sell everything, Jesus was addressing the young man’s love for his own stuff. His possessions and wealth had him, and he idolized it all to the point of him not wanting to lose it. God always confronts us on what we believe, think to be right, and it is personal to us. ALWAYS IN LOVE. Never condemning or belittling.
2. Our standard of holiness. Notice in Exodus 3 how Moses was to approach God speaking through the bush? He was told not to come any closer, and he removed his sandals upon command. God wanted to establish that it was different to approach God than any other person. Approaching a holy God is far different from your friends or parents. There is an awe, reverence, and understanding God is holy- morally and spiritually excellent. God calls us to His standard, not for Him come down to our standard of holiness.
3. Salvation is always provided. God’s intentions are made clear in each story. Jesus wanted each man to have freedom, life, and salvation eternally. In Exodus, the nation of Israel there would experience deliverance and salvation from their oppression, slavery, and bondage that Egypt placed on them. This would be made possible through the obedient actions of Moses. Salvation is given to us upon confession of our faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross. He took our punishment so that we would be saved from being separated from our heavenly Father eternally.
When engaging and encountering the presence of God, it is helpful to know who and what presence is around us. We all go through seasons of life when we feel God isn’t close to us, or it isn’t clear to us that He is with us. But these stories can give us some indicators of who is speaking to our hearts and how God speaks to His those He loves. Keep pursuing God and never relent! God bless you!
Pastor Josh Heilbrun | New Life Church - Jamestown Campus Pastor