By Pastor Mitch Horton | September 2001 | Posted in • Archives | (0) Comments
We are living in a day that the Lord desires for us to make ourselves more available to be used by Him! Isaiah speaks of a dark time on earth when the glory of God would rest upon His people: “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60: 1-3).
One could define the glory of God as His manifest presence, or His manifested character and power. The Hebrew word for the glory of God actually means weightiness, fullness, or copiousness! All that God is dwells in His manifest presence! His wonderful presence would sometimes manifest to the Old Covenant people as a cloud that enveloped them. The priests could not stand to minister before the Lord at the dedication of Solomon’s temple because the glory of God came into manifestation! (See 2 Chronicles 5:11-14). And when the glory of God manifests, needs are met!
Isaiah prophesied of a day when the presence of God in His people would draw unbelievers to Him. I believe that we’re living in the fulfillment of that day right now! We are living in the days that I believe precede the tribulation time spoken of by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13. I believe that the scriptures reveal that before this time of difficulty comes to earth, Jesus will come to take His people to heaven in the “rapture” of the church (See 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). And before the rapture of the church, I believe the scripture reveals that there will be a great harvest of souls into the kingdom of God!
Jesus is right now waiting for the “precious fruit of the earth” before He comes to take the church to heaven! We read in James 5:7-8: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until he receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Jesus gave us a commission to reach the world with the gospel. That commission is not just for those in “full time” ministry, but it is for every born again believer. And His desire for every one of us is a greater degree of His presence or His glory in our daily lives that will help us reach the lost! Peter and John were recognized for their boldness even though they did not have the education of many of the religious “elite” of their day. People also noticed that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). His presence must have been easily seen on them.
Moses’ face glowed with the glory of God when he came down from the top of the mountain after having received the law and all the instructions from God concerning the Israelites and their covenant with Him (See Exodus 34:29-35). His face was so bright that he had to cover it when he came down to talk to the Israelites!
Paul mentions Moses’ experience with the glory of God as a lesser experience to what we have as New Covenant believers! “But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory” (2 Corinthians 3: 7-9).
We should experience more of God’s manifest presence under the new covenant, not less! When we come to the Lord, the veil that separates us from His presence is taken away! And we are free to fellowship with Him at all times. The Old Covenant allowed only the high priest to go into the Holy of Holies. That holy place had a constant manifestation of God’s presence. The PRESENCE was off limits to every one else! But we’ve been invited to come with boldness to the throne of grace!! His presence is available to us 24/7! When Jesus died, the veil in the temple that separated the presence of God in the Holy of Holies from everyone was ripped from top to bottom (See Matthew 27:51). Jesus’ death and resurrection has made God’s glory available to all!
The only thing that hinders us from a constant manifestation of God’s presence in our lives is sin in all its’ varied forms! Isaiah 59:2 reads, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you.” The Lord wants to fellowship with us on a constant basis. He wants us to want Him! Too often we are too busy to make room for Him in our lives, and that grieves the Holy Spirit. He wants us to stay ablaze with zeal for God, always treating Him as the most important person that we know. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
God’s idea of sin and our understanding of sin may be two different things! He says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to Him it is sin” (James 4:17). In Revelation 2-3 Jesus addresses the seven churches in Asia, and often He had to reprove them and encourage them to repent because they were either unaware of, or unwilling to live up to, the high standards He had for them. Because of our tendency to “lower the bar”, we also need to live a lifestyle of humility and repentance! It is so easy to do what everyone else does, comparing our standards to those around us. “I’m not as bad as some people, “ we may think. But the standard that we live by should be His Word and not “other people!”
There is a constant struggle within us between the flesh and the spirit (See Galatians 5:16-17). And that struggle should keep us kneeling humbly before the throne of God, where mercy, grace, and forgiveness abound. It takes constant diligence to keep our flesh under and to pursue God’s wonderful presence.
I want to encourage you to begin today to practice consciously living in the presence of God. The Holy Spirit wants to manifest God’s greater glory in your life. And He can only do so as you walk in a moment-by-moment communion with God.
It was said of the English evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, that in his early life he would give himself to protracted times of prayer and fasting. In his later years, he commented that he rarely prayed over thirty minutes at a time, but yet he never went over thirty minutes without praying. No doubt that the secret to God’s power being displayed through his life was his attitude of constant communion with God.
We live in the day when Joel’s prophecy that God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh is being fulfilled right before our eyes (See Joel 2: 28-29). Ease of travel and communication has made the gospel much easier to take to the masses of humanity worldwide. Now is the time for us all to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous,” so that His glory can be displayed through us and sinners can be drawn to the God whose glory they see in us!
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