Seeking God's presence

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
— Psalm 27:4

How often do we actually want to be in God’s presence? At our highest or lowest moments? During the daily boredoms of school or work? Last Sunday, our church was blessed with Jeremiah (Jem) Liew’s message on God’s Presence (Psalm 27). Written by a persecuted David, Psalm 27 shows us a man being chased down by King Saul. Yet, David is expressing his desire to enter the presence of God, and this is what we learned from his ordeal.

 God’s Presence is a Safe Place

During David’s time, the presence of God resided only in the Tabernacle; a place where God could ‘be’ with His people (the Israelites) ever since Exodus 25 (fun fact: the Hebrew word for Tabernacle is mishkan which also means, “to dwell”). Here’s where the irony kicks in. So, the mishkan is in Jewish land, but David is being hunted by the Jewish king… So in verse 5, what David is really saying is this: “Let me run towards my persecutors for the sake of being in Your presence, Lord.” David knows he’s safest when he’s with God. no matter the physical dangers around him. And this is what God wants, for His people to run to Him regardless of what’s going on around us.

God’s Presence is a Secret Place

Verse 6 and verses 7-9 are quite odd. We have joyful praise followed by a desperate cry for help. Also known as the ‘Pendulum of Praise and Prayer.’ But this is the reality of desiring God’s presence. It’s desperate, clingy, almost embarrassing, but most importantly, what pleases God because it’s genuine prayer and praise.

God’s Presence is a Scary Place

Being on God’s side is not easy and as Jem describes it, it is a scary place. Believers are going to be challenged (Matt 16:24-26, Psalm 27:11-14). Being in God’s presence is scary because of three things:

  1. We need to let go of everything in this world. Only by detaching ourselves from the things of the world can we truly be within the presence of God, and enjoy the things given by God.

  2. We will make enemies. Jem sums up it well when he says that when we choose to be on God’s side, the worlds seem to be against us. When we try to do God’s work, there will be people who question or even condemn you for it.

  3. We must have faith. Living in faith means we trust completely and (perhaps) blindly in guidance from a Greater Power. Psalm 119:105 describes what it’s like living in faith; how we can only see what’s directly in front of us and trusting that everything around us in God’s hands.

 From the very beginning, God had a great desire to be with us. Even to the point of death, He created a path for us to be with Him, creating a new mishkan so that we can always be in the Presence of God.

Dear God,

Thank You that from the very beginning You wished to be with us. No matter how far we move away from You, You still find a way to pull us back into Your Presence. Thank you that we have a way into Your mishkan.

 In your mighty and awesome name we pray,