Monday, June 13, 2011

The Presence of God

In Exodus 33, God commands the people of Israel to leave Sinai, but he makes what is termed a "disastrous word" in v. 4. That is, "but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked."

The "disastrous word" was the threat of the removal of God's presence from their midst on their way to the Promised Land.

Later on Moses responds to God by saying, "If you presence will not go with me, do not bring up from it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth."

Also in Exodus 33-34, Moses would meet with God in the tent of meeting, the dwelling place of God's presence. Every time he went to the tent, the people would worship outside their own tents. Then in Exodus 33:11, it says that Joshua, the son of Nun would not "depart from the tent." Another translation says that he "lingered" at the tent--in the presence of God.

Though I believe the presence of the Lord is specially present when God's people meet together, we no longer have to "linger" in a particular place to experience the presence of God because Jesus has replaced the "place" and sent us the Holy Spirit who is the very presence of God indwelling all believers.

The particular "place" we meet is really irrelevant. What matters is the presence of the Holy Spirit among God's people as we exalt Christ and turn our attention toward his person and work in expressions of worship with clean hands and pure hearts (John 4:1-26).

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