In the Presence of God

“The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His Temple. For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At His sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.” Psalms‬ ‭27:4-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In these three verses, David, the Psalmist, expresses his overwhelming desire to be close to God. So close in fact that he wants to be constantly in God’s presence, because it is there he has a relationship that transcends anything possible in the world around him. It is there that he gets lost in a place that doesn’t exist on planet earth. It is there that he can put aside the humdrum of human life and rise up into heavenly places. Of course, I don’t believe for a moment that he went through his life with his head in the clouds, “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good”. He was at this time, I believe, a monarch in waiting, surrounded by antagonists and associated problems of life, which would scupper most of us and threaten to separate us from our relationship with God. Perhaps, in David’s place, we would even be shaking our fist at the heavens, asking the question, “Why has God allowed this to happen to me”? But David found his strength, his spiritual food, in the house of the Lord, hidden in His sanctuary. And it was there that he became lost in praise and worship, in wonder and joy, in the presence of God.

And so it should be with us. What is coming against us in our earthly humanity? Life can be difficult sometimes. Just existing can be traumatic. But all the resources we need are there in God’s presence. We can park the problems of life and instead spend time with Him. The problems may not go away and will be waiting for us when we return, but by spending time with God, they perhaps become less significant and strident. And perhaps we can learn too to delight in the Lord, offering praises and singing to our wonderful Creator.

Sanctuary

“I love Your sanctuary, Lord, the place where Your glorious presence dwells.” Psalms‬ ‭26:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There’s an old film I saw in my childhood where Quasimodo cried out, “Sanctuary, Sanctuary” in a scene from the film depiction of Victor Hugo’s book. The hunchback was claiming his right to being in a safe place, free from abuse. Or so I remember. A sanctuary is a place or state where we feel secure, and to the Psalmist, David, his sanctuary was the place where God lived. And having been brought up in an era when churches were revered, I still get a sense of peace and tranquility in a church building with stained glass windows and an altar. Perhaps I was brought up to think that God lived there.

But where does God really live? Where is His glorious presence? We are informed in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. So God lives within us. And one of Jesus’ titles was “Immanuel” which means “God with us”. And so it is. Through Jesus, God came to live on this earth, offering us the opportunity to live with Him for ever, in His “sanctuary”, eternal life. And it is in and through Jesus that we will see and experience the “glorious presence” of God. Make sure you don’t miss it, Folks.