King James Bible Study – “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Mark 8:34
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Chapters: II Chronicles 5, I Kings 8
Message: Feeling The Presence of God
Hello My Friend,
You know there are times when you can pray all day long, and wonder if God is with you, and then there are the times when all you have to do is speak His name, and you know He is there. Being in the presence of God is not the same thing as knowing that God is with you. While God never leaves nor forsakes His people, His presence may not always be prominent, and there may be one or several factors that makes us feel as though God is not near, sin, doubt, fear, or perhaps even lack of faith. I find that when I am at my humblest state, that is when I feel His presence the most. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” – Isaiah 57:15.
“and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Contrite; Literally, worn or bruised. Hence, brokenhearted for sin; deeply affected with grief and sorrow for having offended God. God reveals himself more when we brokenhearted because we reveal our true heart. Praying to God all day long when our heart is not right is only going to lead us further away from Him, it is only when we humble ourselves that He draws near to us. Now after the temple was complete it was time to bring the Ark into the temple. The Ark, although it only contained the two stone tablets that God wrote the first ten commandments on, was a token of the presence of God. Solomon gathered the elders, priests, and Levites together to place the Ark, and holy vessels in their place.
“Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up. And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.” – I Kings 8:1-6.
“sacrificing sheep and oxen,” To be in the presence of God we need to be clean from sin, by their offering sacrifices as the Ark was being placed they were making atonement with Him, and actually getting their heart right with Him. And as soon as the Ark was placed, the people began rejoicing, singing and praising God.
“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” – II Chronicles 5:11-14.
“that then the house was filled with a cloud,” God waited until they were all in one accord singing, praising, and giving thanks to Him before He showed up. Some of the most invigorating moments when the presence of God becomes so strong that you can literally feel Him right there with you is when the entire congregation is singing in one accord to God. At my church, we might sing a couple of congregational songs during the church service, but whenever we stand up and start singing “God Bless America”, or “God Bless The USA” in one accord, His glory fills the house and you find yourself in tears because His presence hovers over the entire church. In face, singing praises to God is more acceptable than sacrifice. “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.” – Psalm 69:30-32.
“and your heart shall live that seek God.” You see, those who are humble themselves before God have no need for constant sacrifice because they fear Him, and therefore, seek His presence. And when we seek His presence we tend to behave a little bit better because we know that obedience blesses us much more than sacrifice. Solomon was is such awe that the only thing he could think of to do was get down on his knees and pray. He starts by reminding God of His promise to His father, but also knows how imperfect he and we all are.
“Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart: Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me. And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” – I Kings 8:12-13,20,23-27.
“let thy word, I pray thee, be verified,” Verified; Proved; confirmed by competent evidence. It is okay to ask God to verify His Word. By our asking Him to prove to us that He can do what He says, we are actually allowing God to show Himself to us. Believe it or not, God loves to prove to us that what He says He will do. Why? He gets the glory. When we prove God it increases our faith in Him, we become more obedient to Him, it draws us closer to Him, and we are more likely to tell everyone about Him. All He asks is that we prove Him sincerely, and not try to tempt Him. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” – Malachi 3:10.
“if I will not open you the windows of heaven,” The only way God does not bless us abundantly for proving Him is if there is some sin, we are doing something halfheartedly, or trying to tempt Him. Solomon spoke the largest prayer recorded in history, knowing you are in the presence of God comes easier when we are obedient to Him. We can say a thousand word prayer, but unless we truly mean what we say, all we are doing is talking to the air. After Solomon prays he shouts out to the entire congregation to make sure their heart was right.
“And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.” – I Kings 8:55-61.
“as the matter shall require:” Maintain the cause of his servant, and of his people at all times, meaning stay faithful to God. This is the matter that God requires in order for Him to hear us, and reveal His presence to us. I read this earlier from Charles Spurgeon, “Satan does not often attack a Christian who is living near to God. It is when the Christian departs from his God, becomes spiritually starved, and endeavours to feed on vanities, that the devil discovers his vantage hour.” All the devil needs is one inch of our distancing ourselves from God for him to attack. Keep in mind that he does tempt Christians as God allows him to because just like God allows us to prove Him, He will prove us for the same reason, but he can never attack us as long as we are near to God. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” – Hebrews 10:22-23.
Jesus Christ Magnified: “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” – I Kings 8:10-11.
Today’s Prayer: God, There is no better feeling than having Your presence known to me, it is as if I can feel You right there with me. I admit that when I get discouraged or busy with life it causes me to talk to You less and lose the sense of Your presence. I find myself burning the candle at both ends and getting no where, and that is when I need to remind myself that I am not alone, You are with me, and You will help me. Lord, walk with me, lead me and guide me, clean my head, body, and spirit from all the things that are weighing me down, and replenish them with Your wisdom, guidance, understanding, mercy, and grace. I want to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You, and to take care of the temple that You dwell in. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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