I have read a couple of blog postings recently that talk about the absent feeling of God in their lives. I see this quite often and I wonder level of intimacy they had with God before.
One from last week was talking about how there was distance between the person and God when his sister died, but that God was still blessing his professional life. Within the last year though, that has stopped. Looking at this, I feel like God has a different direction for the man to go in, but without having that personal intimacy he doesn’t know what it is.
When we get tuned into God’s plan and start walking it and see the blessings that go along with it, it is hard not to feel that God is present in your life. You can see “blessings” happening which builds your faith. It is easier to believe when you can “see” God. What happens though when you aren’t seeing the blessings? Do you just hold on hoping that they will appear again and reaffirm your faith? How long do you hold on waiting to see something?
I didn’t learn about the personal relationship with God at first. I knew I was supposed to pray and be in the Word, but that doesn’t really give a deep intimate connection. Not for me at least. When stuff didn’t do the way I thought, I would drift away. God always seemed to pull me back in, but there was no real foundation for my relationship with Him. That all changed when I started experiencing God’s presence in a real way.
In 1 Samuel 4, we know that the Israelites were loosing to the Philistines. They figured out God wasn’t with them, so they ran to Shiloh and got the Ark of the Covenant, where God’s Presence was, and brought it to the battlefield. It didn’t save them and the Ark was captured. Side note. How many times do we get in a situation without consulting God and then ask Him to show up and fix it. Not always the result we are looking for is it. Anyways, the Philistines took the Ark back with them, as it was very valuable, and they put it in their temple next to their god Dagon. Skipping ahead, God destroys the idol and ends up giving the Philistines hemorrhoids and then transports itself to Kiriath-jearim via oxen where it stays until David becomes king and goes to get it. Some paraphrasing here, but you can read it if you want.
So in 1 Chronicles 13, David becomes king and wants to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. The tabernacle is still in Shiloh, but David wants God’s presence with him. He gathers all of Israel to go get it. They put it on the cart, it looks like it is going to fall so Ussah reached out to support God and was struck dead. The whole procession stopped there and the Ark stayed for 3 months. 1 Chronicles 15, David goes to get the Ark and brings it to Jerusalem.
CH 15:1 David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it.
David put the ark under a tent. The tabernacle is in Gibeon where the burnt offerings are being made, but the Presence of God is in Jerusalem under a tent. Here we see the type of worship that David set up for the Lord.
1 CH 16:4 Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.
In the Presence of God we worship the Lord by thanking and praising Him. The ark is gone, but the Presence of the Lord can still be experienced. How, by praise and thanksgiving to God. When I get alone and start this type of worship, I can actually feel God on my skin. It is the most relaxing and exciting time I have ever had. I am able to stay in His presence longer each time, but I always seem to get distracted after a time. I feel like it is the flesh needing a break from God. As before, anything that is not right with God experiences discomfort when in His presence. Same is true for our carnal desires. The good thing is that I am changed each time I am with Him. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. The ability to truly feel loved by my Father is just amazing and has strengthened my faith more than anything else could.
The sad part is that even though I am able to experience Him in this way, I get distracted with stuff in the world and don’t always make time for Him. I drift away and don’t feel as connected because I am not talking to Him or spending time with Him. He doesn’t leave me though.
Another thing I have learned is something the patriarchs did:
Gen 12:7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
God made a promise to Abram and he built an altar. This wasn’t an altar for sacrifices, but of remembrance.
Gen 28:18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.
The pillar is a reminder to Jacob of the promise that God had made to him.
The idea behind these is not to create a place of worship or an idol, but a reminder that you can fall back on when God seems absent in your life to remind yourself of all that He has done and has promised you. Fall back to these places of remembrance and recall the faithfulness of God. These will help to give you strength as you seek and wait for God.