THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

Yesterday we saw some of the benefits of the new covenant in Christ. They included freedom, being right with God and the privilege of the veil taken away so that we can come directly, with boldness, into the presence of God.

The ability to come directly into the presence of God is a major benefit of the new covenant, and today we will consider five reasons why this is so important.

Firstly, it is God’s presence that gives us our direction. Just as the cloud and fire symbolised the presence of God and led the Israelites through the Wilderness, so His presence today leads us in the direction He wants us to go. God said to Moses, “My Presence will go with you,” [Exodus 33:14], to which Moses responded, “If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” [Exodus 33:15].

Secondly, it is God’s presence that makes us different to everyone else. In a time when so many people are afraid to be different, God’s presence with us makes us different. God said to Moses, “For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth” [Exodus 33:16].

Thirdly, it is God’s presence that shows us the truth about ourselves. Isaiah recognised his sinfulness when he was in the presence of God [Isaiah 6:1-5].

A part of the difference is that we have found a place of rest and peace. “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest” [Exodus 33:14]. When we carry the presence of God people around us may not understand it, but they will recognise that we are different.

Fourthly, without God’s presence we are in great need. When the Lord departed Miriam was leprous [Numbers 12:9-10]. Samson flirted with sin too many times, and the Lord departed from him! Sin caused Adam and Eve to hide from God’s presence because they were afraid [Genesis 3:8-10]. David, following his sin with Bathsheba cried out, “Cast me not away from Your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.” [Psalm 51:11].

Fifthly, God’s presence brings joy and pleasure. The Psalmist wrote, “In Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” [Psalm 16:11].

Here is one of the most amazing privileges of the new covenant, that we can enjoy the presence of God in a way that was very spasmodic and limited under the old covenant.

Questions:

What does the presence of God mean to you personally in the way that you live your daily life?

Why do you think that it is that so many people are afraid to be seen as different and try to conform to the fashions of the day? In these last days when so many reject God are you prepared to be seen as different?