Today I have in my minds eye the picture of a watering hole in the desert, and the scripture Psalm 42:1. The psalmist likens himself to a deer longing for some water, only he is longing to find the refreshment of meeting with God. He is wanting to find himself in Gods’ presence.
These verses in the Amplified Bible and also The Passion Translation, have the psalmist as longing to ‘see or behold the face of God’, which is probably because there is no word for presence in Hebrew, so the word ‘face’ is used when speaking of being in someones presence. So Hagar says ‘I flee from the face of my mistress Sarah’ Genesis 16:8.
In Numbers 6:24-26 God tells Aaron through Moses to bless the people by saying those wonderful words “The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you His peace”. It’s a blessing I think we all love to hear spoken over us.
I think there is a sense in which we would all like to find ourselves in Gods’ presence more often, we’d like to ‘see His face’, but like the deer searching out a watering hole in the drought, it sometimes seems to be something very illusive that we are looking for. It can be even harder in lockdown, when our usual routes to our regular ‘watering holes’ are blocked and our regular ways of coming into Gods’ presence are no longer available.
I believe the Lord is wanting, at this time, for us to come into a greater realisation of His immanence. He wants His people to know, at a deeper level than before, that He is always with them and that He is ‘an ever present help’ particularly in ‘times of trouble’ Psalm 46:1. He is our Emmanuel, the God who is with us, and that we can turn and seek His face, or know His presence whenever we want.
The deer when approaching the watering hole has to look carefully, if he is to drink peacefully, to make sure that there are no predators around. Our main predator, the devil, who ‘prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour ‘ 1Peter 5:8, will try to make sure that we too will not be able to come freely into the Lords presence in a relaxed way to be refreshed by Him.
In order to disturb our peace as we set aside time to ‘meet with God’ our enemy, who doesn’t have teeth and claws, but lies and accusations, will attack. Our main defence against those lies is the truth, and as we have said in a previous blog, thanking God for those truths rather than arguing with the devil is our most powerful defence.
He may tell you you are not worthy to meet with God, and remind you of the mistakes you have recently made. Or he may tell you you are not spiritual enough, and that really at least a days fasting and prayer is required before you will encounter the Lord in any significant way.
Well, he’s probably right about some of the things he accuses you of, but don’t argue, instead turn away from looking at your performance and start thanking the Lord for the truth that you are clothed in His righteousness, that He loves you and is always with you. As you sit quietly, take a deep breath and just say out loud if you can, ‘thank you Jesus that you are here, thank you Lord that you are with me, right now, and thank you that I can do nothing to deserve your presence but that you delight in me and that I have come aside to meet with you, to seek your face.
Stay there a while, read some scripture, listen to some worship, have a drink and you will be refreshed, and may “The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you His peace”.