Friday, May 2, 2008

The Continual Presence of God

This morning I read the following from the book of Numbers:

Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning. So it was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night Num. 9:15-16 (NASB) Emphasis added.

The presence of God was continuously with the people. When they woke in the morning with the cloud to when they laid down at night with the pillar of fire, they were always reminded that the God of their deliverance was with them. I can only imagine the great comfort and peace this must have brought to their minds. As believers today, God has promised to do the same for us. He promised and has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. Before His ascension, in Matt. 28.19, Jesus said that "I am with you always." The Hebrews writer tells us that ". . . for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," Heb. 13.5.

We too have the promise that God will never leave us, desert us or forsake us. We have His presence continually and always with us. That is a comfort beyond any that this world may offer. In all circumstances and through every Providence, He is with us working for our best. With David we can also say, "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety" Ps. 4.8. God is with us and in control

I must imagine, however, that there may have been some in the camp who hated the cloud and fiery pillar. They did not want to be in the presence of God because they loved their sin and desired to revel in it. How true that is even today of those who flee God, suppress His truth and seek what they believe is joy. Paul tells us in Romans 1, however, that since creation His invisible attributes, eternal power, and divine nature has been clearly seen. He says "that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them" and that they are without excuse. He writes that these people profess to be wise, but in reality have become fools giving worship to things of the creation rather than the Creator. He finishes chapter 1 by writing that these know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things (sin - breaking God's laws) are worthy of death.

I must ask as you read this. Which group do you belong? The one that desires and rejoices in the continual presence of God or the one that would rather not ever be in God's presence. If you are in the latter and continue in your sin, you will get your desire for Jesus will one day say to you "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt 25.41). What terrible words to ever hear. But you still have hope, read and hear the gospel here, believe and follow Jesus.

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