Monday, February 16, 2015

the presence of God

I Samuel chapter 5-7 tells us about when the Philistines had taken the ark of the covenant.  They took the ark and placed it in their temple to their god Dagon.  Dagon fell.  They put him back up, he fell and broke.  They tried this several times but became very afraid of the Israelite God. They began to suffer from hemorrhoids and great destruction. They sent the ark to Ekron. Ekron began to suffer and were terrified.  They put the ark on a cart with an offering of golden hemorrhoids and golden rats,  and sent it off. The cows took it straight to Bethshemesh. The people of Bethshemesh rejoiced and sacrificed the cows.  However, God smote them for looking at the ark. The ark was then sent to the house of Abinadab. They sanctified Eleazar to keep the ark of the Lord. It stayed there for 20 years. 

As I read this account, God began to show me that attempts to mix the things of this world with the things of God, is unacceptable.  When the Philistines tried to place the holy ark of God in the presence of their idol,  destruction came.  Evil could not stand in the presence of God. God made his presence known even among the enemies of his people. Fear fell on the people and they cried out for the ark to leave. When the people of Bethshemesh received the ark, they also fell to destruction because of the lack of respect for the presence of God. They did not obey the laws surrounding the ark and the very presence of God. 

The ark has the mercy seat on top.  The mercy seat was the place intended for the very presence of God to reside. When the ark moved, God was there. When someone looked upon that ark, God was there. The people of Bethshemesh forgot what they had been taught about the fear of the Lord. 

I think most of us have forgotten what it really means to be in the presence of God.  We have grown hard-hearted, self-absorbed and calloused to the presence of God. We attempt to fill our time with pleasures of the world, things we deem important and only think of the presence of God as a church service occurrence. God is not pleased.  When we push God out of our everyday life and forget about his holy presence, destruction occurs.  It may not be the destruction the Philistines experienced, but it is destruction nonetheless. We have so many people with marital problems,  struggles with finances, hidden sin and secrets, abuse, fighting, worry over their children, rebellion, sicknesses, etc.   

Yes, I am saying that many of these things would not be a problem, if we put God first in our everyday life.  If God was praised and reverenced every day, every moment, in every choice we make;   we would not have nearly as many problems.  Marriages would be blessed, relationships would be blessed, fighting and abuse would be non-existent. Many other things would be blessed, because we would be choosing to honor God with those things, like finances.  God is pleased when his people choose to honor him.  

When the ark ended up in the house of Abinadab, the very first thing done was sanctification of Eleazar to care for the ark.  This was a process of recognizing that the very presence of God was in the house and it meant that life as usual was not going to work.  Something had to change.  To be in the presence of God, meant changes in activity, in living. Eleazar was chosen by his father to perform the duty of serving God's presence.   

We have been chosen by our heavenly Father for the placement of the Holy Ghost in our life.  He wants to be present with us to change us, remake us, and dwell with us.  His presence in our life should bring about change that brings honor to God. His presence should bring blessing as it did for the house of Abinadab, not destruction as it did for those before.  

The difference was the response to the presence of God.  The first groups tried to place God into their lives without recognizing his power, his righteousness and his holiness. The last group, first and foremost recognized what the presence of God meant.  Holiness was in the house. Righteousness was in the house.  Power was in the house. God was in the house.  

Do we recognize that when God is in the house, things are to be different?
The presence of God in your house  demands to be recognized, respected, honored and served.  Have we chosen to serve the presence of God in our life?  Or have we tried to fit him into the mundane, pleasures we choose?  Do we actually cause problems when we ignore or forget about the presence of God?

Something to think about.  How are my everyday choices reflecting the presence of God in my life?
I think I need allow God to make changes and quit trying to hang on to things that are of no importance in His Holy presence.  I choose life.  I choose blessing, I choose to allow God to be ever present in everything I do.  

Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a habitation of peace and in secure dwellings and in the refreshing of rest.

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