Friday, September 21, 2012

Promises - Presence of God

As parents, we embrace the concept of linking privileges with responsibility.  As children of God, the idea is not nearly as appealing—but it is a truth.  The promises of God are an immense privilege given to us by our good and generous God.  While some of the promises are unconditional—all the weight resting on God—others come with personal responsibility. 

Today’s promise to focus on is one we all often claim.  Jesus spoke these words we love to remember, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  The presence of God is a promise with power, peace and purpose.  Thankfully, it has some aspects of an unconditional promise—for He is the life we breathe, and He is always present.  In another sense, it is conditional—for we cannot enjoy His presence unless our hearts are right.  We have a responsibility to recognize our desperate situation and His holiness.  He still bears all the weight in carrying out the promise, but we cannot be passive in the process.

In response to the question, ‘Who may stand in the holy place?’ the Psalmist replied, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” (Psalms 24:4).  Clean hands and a pure heart are significant responsibilities for all of us who bear the sin nature.   The very Christ who promises to be with us is our only hope for those clean hands and pure hearts.  His holy righteousness is ours simply by admitting we fall short and need His cleansing; repentance is the key to allowing God to fulfill His promise and surround us with His presence.

Just as the mountains surrounding Jerusalem offer protection and comfort, the presence of God surrounding submitted hearts guarantees power for life and peace for our hearts.  It is a glorious promise to embrace.  The One who spoke the world into being surrounds us: ahead, beside and behind us!  Such a thought is truly inconceivable.  His holiness is beyond our complete comprehension but worthy of all our effort to glimpse.  In Revelation when John—the one who had walked with Jesus on earth and humbly embraced His love—sees Jesus, he collapsed at his feet.  Truly seeing the Lord in His holiness humbles our prideful human hearts—and opens the door to truly embracing the promise of His presence.   Rejoice in His goodness and holiness!

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