Recognizing God’s Presence

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2016

when-god-feels-far-away

Key Bible Verse: The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory. (Psalm 97:5-6)

Dig Deeper: Psalm 97

There are not many places in Scripture where someone talks about God’s presence the way many of us evangelicals talk about it. Throughout church history, many faithful followers have looked into the depths of his presence. Very rarely do they speak about worship services like us or the “camp high”. Is this really God’s presence we’re talking about?

In American evangelicalism, we have created what [Stephen] Nichols has described as a “near-and-dear” type of God. While we could possibly trace this type of thinking back through American evangelical faith, it seems nearly impossible to try and find the “near-and-dear” God in the Bible. If anything, the Bible gives us a picture of a God who is terrifying when his presence is manifested among human beings. Take nearly any biblical figure who met God and you will see a person collapse on the ground, overcome with fear and dread.

God is loving, gracious, and slow to anger, yes, but why do we assume we can handle all of that in perfect form all at once? The presence of God is not an easy place to stand, it appears. And yet, after these moments of intensity, there is a similar message given [to biblical figures] after they all on their face in fear: “Do not be afraid.”

– Chris Nye in Distant God


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