The psalmist sings of just some of the evidence of God’s presence with His people. The earth itself bows down in His presence.
God has performed so MANY wondrous deeds for His people. He led them through the wilderness with a pillar of smoke in the daytime and a pillar of fire by night. When His presence FILLED the Tabernacle none could stand. He provided the bread of Heaven for His people to eat every morning. He held the SUN STILL for a FULL DAY so His children could have victory in battle. He made certain their clothes and shoes never wore out. He spoke to them from the mountain top. He wrote His Laws on tablets of stone for them with the tip of His finger. He brought quail in on the wind and dropped them at Israel’s feet.
This is but a small smattering of His works on behalf of His children; proof of His presence with Israel in their early years (including Joshua’s battle in the early years of conquest of the Promised Land). Our psalmist chooses other instances to focus on. Instances that STAGGER the mind. If it were not for their inclusion among GOD’s writings they would be highly suspect as being ‘tall tales’. I’m not certain what one of the three events were but I can easily identify the other two.
The first is the times God rolled back the waters. He did it TWICE for Israel. The first time is the most famous. He parted the Red Sea so His people could escape Egypt. They walked across the sea bed on DRY land with the sea heaped up on both sides of them. I have often wondered how the people felt as they went through that God made passageway. The second time God performed this miracle the Jordan River received His attention. Again, the bed of the river was dry and the water was stacked up in a heap. We are told about only one side of this waterway being pushed back. Feats only God can do.
The third instance cited is also a two time deal; water from the rock. Both times included Moses striking a rock and water pouring forth. The second time he was supposed to speak to it instead. This incident is what got him restrained from entering the Promised Land with the new generation of Israelites. Both these events were a result of God showing His love for His hurting people.
The second instance mentioned has me wondering what the psalmist was referring to. “The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs” (verse 4). I’m wondering if he could be speaking of the God speaking from the top of the mountain. I do not doubt that the rocks vibrated at the sound of His voice. The experience was so unnerving that the people begged God to speak through Moses alone. His presence was too terrifying for them. Maybe this is why He only allowed the Levites to come before Him and only on one day a year to come into His actual presence where the Ark rested.
God’s presence in Old Testament times was AMAZING! It shook the very foundations of their conceptions of the world. His presence today is just as AMAZING but it is NOT confined to specific times or places. His presence lives within each of us who have given our lives to Him. It is the Comforter; the Holy Spirit. From fingertip to fingertip and hair to sole of the foot, His children are filled with His presence. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come after He ascended to Heaven.
There is a debate about the Holy Spirit among several denominations. Some believe His comes only when specifically invited. Others believe He is present from the moment of salvation. I am convinced it is both. I believe that the moment we turn our lives over to the Lord and accept Jesus as our Savior, He sends His Holy Spirit to live within us. To speak to us of Him. To guide us as we walk in the new life He has given us. We are a NEW creation with a living spirit now. No longer are we dead in sin. I believe that the special gifts of the Holy Spirit are only manifest when we ask Him to FULLY fill us with His presence.
I know this is a very deep topic and not exactly what our psalmist was singing about. It is also a topic of much debate; whether there are gifts of the Holy Spirit. For me, I think you can figure out from our conversation which way I’m leaning of that subject. I have seen the gifts of His presence in action in my life and in others. Nothing will ever convince me to doubt the reality or dispensation of those gifts for today’s world. We need Him now more than ever! The indwelling presence of the Lord. No longer do I have to search for evidence of extraordinary events to know the presence of God. I only have to look within my heart and hear His voice or feel His arms wrap around me when I’m afraid. I KNOW the presence of my Father because He lives in me!
Father God, THANK YOU for sending Your Holy Spirit to live in my heart. To fill me completely with Your Spirit. I know I don’t spend EVERY MOMENT focused on Your Spirit within me but just KNOWING that You are here with me throughout my day gives me confidence to open my eyes to another morning. I would be lost without You!
Holy Spirit, THANK YOU for showing me the will of the Father. For opening the word to me for understanding and application in my life. Thank You for allowing me to share what You give me with others. Thank You for EVERY moment of peace and belonging You have given me in my life. And for dragging me back to that peace and belonging when I fell into despair. YOU are my hope and my salvation for You ARE the very presence of God. You will never leave me nor forsake me. I don’t have to go searching for Your presence any farther than the next breath that You provide me with for You fill that one too, even if I don’t always recognize it.
I PRAY that any of Your children who are feeling an absence of Your presence Father will turn again and see that You are right beside them. You NEVER left, they only took their eyes off You, as I have done on more than one occasion too. Tap them on the shoulder. Wrap them in Your arms. And shower them with Your peace and hope for tomorrow.