But let’s get honest.
The idea of God’s presence does seem a little bit abstract, at least to some of us. How can we truly experience His presence, knowing it to be a day-to-day reality and not just a concept? Real fears need real answers, and vague theological concepts are unhelpful. No child of God wants to live in the realm of spiritual pep talks, Christian clichès, or positive thinking techniques. We want to know the joy, stability, and security of God’s presence in a very real way.Real fears need real answers, and vague theological concepts are unhelpful. No child of God wants to live in the realm of spiritual pep talks, Christian clichès, or positive thinking techniques. Click To Tweet
This is where Psalm 46 brings us – a 2-part invitation to know the reality of God’s presence, especially in the face of our fears. Let’s look at the first part.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how He has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the chariots with fire.
In the middle of fear, uncertainty, anxiety, distress, and difficulty, we should behold the works of the Lord. For an Old Testament Israelite, hearing this would have brought their minds to recall Jehovah’s faithfulness to His covenant people.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had kept His promise to preserve His people. He delivered them out of bondage in miraculous ways. In the wilderness, they were guided by the cloud, fed manna from the sky, and given water from a rock. As they entered into the land, the Lord delivered city after city into their hands. All along the way, there were those that sought to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, but the destruction they sought to bring on God’s people was divinely turned back on them. In the most miraculous ways, He caused weapons of war to be useless and brought conflicts to a screeching halt!
Psalm 66:3 – Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.”
The invitation is to come and gaze upon who God is, what He is like, and what He has done.
Where exactly do you look to behold the works of the Lord?
To get a glimpse of who God is and what He has done, to understand and experience the reality of His presence, you must go to the Scriptures. The Bible is the revelation of the heart, mind, character, and purposes of God. It is in the Scriptures you see the divine hand of God at work throughout the whole of human history and even into eternity. To begin to live in the reality of God’s presence, you must open your Bible and read.To begin to live in the reality of God's presence, you must open your Bible and read. Click To Tweet
The works of God should never be to us just interesting Sunday School lessons. They should never be to us moral instructions on courage, honesty, and obedience. They reveal to us the goodness and greatness of God, serve to bolster our understanding of the nature of God, and fortify our faith and trust in Him, both now and for the future.
If you think you can experience the presence of God without being a diligent student of His Word – you are mistaken! His words are life, light, and hope. When you are overwhelmed, when life is chaotic, and when your heart is fearful and uncertain, you are to open His Word, and in desperation come and behold the works of the Lord. It is through His Word you will begin to know His presence.
Where do you typically look?
Many of us allow our minds to behold to the “what-ifs”. We spend time researching what other people have to say. We consider the problem from a multitude of perspectives and man-centered solutions. But if we are ever going to truly experience the joy, security, and stability of God’s presence, then we must look to God and meditate on Him.
Many of us have trouble dealing with the pressures and fears of life because we have not learned to think Biblically. Unfortunately, it’s because we have an inconsistent or only a shallow interaction with the Bible. Be careful of assuming that you can thrive on one sermon a week. It is imperative that you hear the Bible often, read it regularly, meditate on it daily, and talk about it routinely. Without a consistent, deep, and meaningful interaction with the Word of God, you will live subject to your circumstances, tossed about by fear, with no sure footing in the storms of life.Without a consistent, deep, and meaningful interaction with the Word of God, you will live subject to your circumstances, tossed about by fear, with no sure footing in the storms of life. Click To Tweet
Get Into the Word. Get the Word into Your Heart.
Don’t settle for “spiritual fast-food” in this – you know, a portion of a verse followed by a quick inspirational thought for the day. Begin to read deep and wide. Learn to think meaningfully on Scripture. If you need help getting started, contact one of the pastors, your Growth Group leader, or another member of the church you know to be consistently in the Word.
One way you can simply begin is to cultivate the habit of hearing Scripture on a daily basis. For the next two months, our church has a special trial to an incredible app called Dwell. It provides daily listening plans, topical playlists, complete books, and loved sections of Scripture. Check it out!
Allow the Spirit of God to take the Word of God, and, in a meaningful way, help you know the joy, stability, and security of God’s presence as you behold the works of the Lord.