Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 18, 2014

The Precious Presence of the LORD

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 33:1-6.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.”

When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.’” So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.” Exodus 33:1-6.

——————–

When the people of Israel heard that God would not go with them in their midst, they were sad and went into mourning.

At first thought, this is surprising for four reasons because of what we just read about them in the previous chapter.

First, they worshipped the golden calf and were otherwise immoral in their play.

Second, God punished them by killing about three thousand of them.

Third, they were generally an obstinate people.

Fourth, they were on their way to “a land flowing with milk and honey”.

So, why should they care so much that God would not go with them in their midst such that they were sad and went into mourning?

Today’s devotion gives us insight into the precious presence of the LORD.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11.

“For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.” Psalm 21:6.

“For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them.” Psalm 44:3.

When the precious presence of the LORD seems to be withdrawn even the slightest bit or when it seems that God turns His face from us only one degree, we are dismayed.

“O Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong;

You hid Your face, I was dismayed.” Psalm 30:7.

“Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11.

We pant for the presence of our God.

“1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,

So my soul pants for You, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;

When shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night,

While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.

For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,

With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.” Psalm 42:1-4.

But, there is hope!

“Why are you in despair, O my soul?

And why have you become disturbed within me?

Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him

For the help of His presence.” Psalm 42:5.

“7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the dawn,

If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand will lead me,

And Your right hand will lay hold of me.” Psalm 39:7-10.

“Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence.” Psalm 140:13.

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14.

“… I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5.

Reformed Doctrine summarizes this hope in “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Article 3. By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and the temptations of sin and of the world, those who are converted could not persevere in a state of grace, if left to their own strength. But God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end. FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints. Canons of Dordt.

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