Recently, Joel has been taking us, as a church, through the Israelite’s experience in the desert and the tangible ways they got to experience God’s presence.
After reading these Biblical accounts, I often find myself envious of people like King David or Moses, because of the unique and physical way they got to experience God. I am serious when I say that I have a strong desire to see God come down in a blaze of fire while worshiping. Remember how after the temple was completed, and Solomon finished his prayer of dedication, God’s presence came down as fire from heaven, and his glory was so thick that the priests couldn’t even enter the temple (2 Chr 7:1-3, ESV)? Or what about the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13, ESV)? I will take a little fire on my head as long it is not from one of the church candles. All jokes aside, as much as I truly do want to experience such an incredible display of God’s glory, us followers of Jesus realize that this is scarcely experienced today among most believers.
What then are we to make of this? Do we as followers of Jesus lack an immediacy from God’s imminent presence as was once experienced? The answer is, of course not, because we possess the full access to God through his word. Vern S. Poythress in his book, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach, states this reality in such a poetic way:
Right now the wind is blowing the branches of a tree as I look outside my window. That wind is obeying God's word (Ps. 147:18) that commands it to blow. But what is God saying? I do not hear the words. I hear the wind. I hear and see only effects from the words. I do not have immediate access to the words of God, whereas with the Bible I do have such access. There the words are, recorded with paper and ink. (Poythress, 2006, pp. 45).
Not only do we have God’s written word, we have his Holy Spirit building us into the new temple and dwelling place of God, as is clearly stated in Ephesians 2:22 (ESV). This means that we no longer need to go to the temple to experience God’s imminent presence because he literally dwells in our bodies. Recently, I have been studying God’s dwelling among his people and came upon Psalm 27, as it reveals David’s desire to be in God’s presence and “to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD,” (vv. 4, ESV), but also that God too commands his people to seek his face (vv. 8, ESV). This is such wonderful news that the creator of the universe desires us to seek him.
As I lie in anticipation for something greater, my fear is that I often forget the beautiful reality that I currently have the something greater. Just like David, us followers of Jesus can also experience God dwelling among us personally, but it is through his Holy Spirit that we have even greater access to him. Do not take this to be metaphorical as it is God’s presence literally dwelling in us.
While this current season of life has separated us from one another, it has also gifted us with more personal time to be in God’s presence. My plea is that you would reserve a time out of this week to dwell with God through his word and specifically pray for him to reveal his presence. This is God’s desire that we seek his face. I will conclude by referencing Pastor Joel this past Sunday, that in seasons such as this, we should be simply asking for God.