2 Chronicles 7:2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it.
I find myself longing for this to happen again. Religion tends to be so man-centered, and this was a powerful reminder that true religion isn’t about man, it’s about God. I have read of times when God’s glory was manifested in a worship setting. There was an incident a few years ago when a heavy Plexiglass pulpit split in the middle of a worship service, and those present were flattened under the weight of God’s presence, but such things are certainly rare, and are quickly forgotten by practically everyone. Without an awareness of the presence, holiness and power of God, church gatherings degenerate into social and political affairs, with people posturing before one another as they go through the motions of worship. That is tragic! The evidence of that is all too evident in the watered-down theology and morality of so many churches today. God does not accept such “worship”! Most of us are included in what Jesus said to Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) Our awareness of God is more by faith than by experience. Jesus said that was blessed, but it’s not always easy! However, if our faith leads us to an expectation of God’s presence we will experience it, even if it’s not as dramatic as what happened at the dedication of the temple. We know God not because of external events but by His presence within us, even in very undramatic circumstances.
I have experienced God’s presence powerfully a number of times, but never with fire, smoke, or a split pulpit. However, they have been enough that I am more convinced that God is real than that I am. I exist because of Him; it’s not the other way around. That’s a real blessing. However, I deal with people all the time who don’t have that assurance, even though they want to believe. There is no way I can force them to experience God, which is why I wish for Him to do something dramatic to demonstrate Himself. However, I can teach people to get into the Word in all humility and expectation, because that is where I have met Him more than in any other way. If we depend on dramatic incidents, our faith will fade along with those memories. If we renew our experience of God daily through prayer and reading the Bible, it will be fresh and strong and carry us through anything we might experience. I talk with people about this, but they generally fail to gain a sense of urgency about it. What a waste! I am to pray and to preach and especially to train people to this end, walking them through the process so that they will grasp that God really is speaking to them, so that they may value opening up to hear His voice and rejoicing in fellowship with Him.
Father, last week it was late in the week when You gave me the Sunday message, but You’ve done it early this week! Thank You. I pray that Your words would flow through me in Your power to open the eyes and hearts of all who hear, giving them a hunger for daily fellowship with You so that they may commit themselves to it and to You, and thus allow You to transform them into the children that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!