As I have meditated on the presence of God in my life, I found myself returning again to a familiar promise given to Moses in Exodus 33, My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)
God’s presence, which brings us rest is at the very core of Elijah’s experience as he encounters God on Mount Horeb as recorded in 1 Kings 19:11-13:
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
I often wonder what that moment must have been like for Elijah as he experienced the manifestation of God’s presence in the wind and earthquake and fire, it must have been terrifying. But then, to hear the gentle whisper of God, inviting him to draw near, ‘Elijah, let’s talk about what’s going on in your life’; how awe-inspiring that must have been!
Asaph writes in Psalm 73:28, As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge, my safe place, my hiding place.
That the God of the universe would say to you, to me, ‘come’, to be invited into His presence, is almost beyond our comprehension. But, He does invite us to come to Him, and promises that as we come, He will in turn draw near to us; to reveal Himself to us that we might experience what it is to know Him and experience His great love, mercy, grace and kindness; to find in Him, that place of comfort, rest, peace and joy.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8)
God says, you come into a relationship with Me through the miracle of grace, because Jesus has opened a way for us to be reconciled to the Father. When we enter into such a relationship, He then says to us, ‘we'll walk together all the days of your life’. What an amazing truth, God walks with us through all of the ups and downs of life, through all our joys and sorrows. And when life on this planet comes to an end, He says, ‘take My hand and we’ll continue to walk together, to a home I have prepared for you in heaven.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
My friends at Valley, as you read these words, may you find rest in His presence, may He speak words of affirmation and love into your life and may you find a renewed joy as you walk by faith in the days ahead.