The Joy of His Presence
ALONE WITH HIM
“You fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 KJV
What a drastic difference salvation makes! To the one who doesn’t know God “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31); but for those who know Christ personally He is “able to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” (Jude 24)!
Think about it…we can stand before Him-now-present tense, blameless and with great joy. Joy, the commodity that is so elusive for those who look for it in the world, is available in full measure—in God’s presence. R.A.Torrey once said, “There is more joy in Jesus in twenty-four hours than there is in the world in 365 days. I have tried them both,” and he was exactly right.
Principal Rainy, of whom a child once remarked that she believed he went to heaven every night because he was so happy every day, once used a fine metaphor about the Christian’s joy. “Joy,” he said, “is the flag which is flown from the castle of the heart when the King is in residence there.”
The primary motivation for worship must always be the simple fact that God is worthy of worship. Worship is for God, not for us. But an ancillary benefit of worship is the delight that it brings to the worshipper.
We don’t worship for selfish reasons, but God, in His goodness, has so designed the worship experience for mutual satisfaction. Duty becomes desire, and in the process of giving Him glory and adoration He gives us peace and joy.
Worship is a wonderful experience. To gain an audience with God we don’t have to wail, cry, of cut our bodies like the worshippers of Baal; He invites us into His presence to dine with Him, and the meal is always satisfying.
Judson Cornwall speaks of a craving only satisfied by worship: “Several years ago while pasturing in Eugene, Oregon, where we were involved in a building program, I had a rare evening off. Seated alone in my front room after having a delicious meal, I became aware of a deep longing or a craving for something. Rationalizing that I had not taken time to listen to music for many weeks, I put some classical music on and sat back to relax and enjoy its soothing sounds. But the music only increased my edginess. Thinking that it was the wrong type of music for my mood, I changed to Christian music, but its effect upon me was no better. I began to read in silence, assuming that my intellect needed feeding because my involvement in the building program had consumed my reading time. Nevertheless, I couldn’t find any type of literature that satisfied me.
Almost absentmindedly, thinking that my craving was for food, I wandered into the kitchen and prepared myself a large roast beef sandwich. But inasmuch as I had already stuffed myself on my wife’s cooking less than an hour before, I soon realized that my craving was not physical, emotional, or intellectual. This left only my spirit; so I got onto my knees to pray and began to touch the presence of God. Total satisfaction swept through my being. All along it had been my spirit yearning to contact God’s Spirit. I had misread it as a craving in my soul or my body. Finally, the deep crying of my spirit had been satisfied in God’s presence.”*
In like manner, we will discover that the deep longing in our lives will be fulfilled-in His presence.
After reading the following verses, list some of the advantages of being in God’s presence:
- 1 Samuel 30:3-6
- Psalm 31:20
- Acts 3:19
- Jude 24
- 1 John 3:19
Notice in these verses that when God removes His presence, it is always a sign of grave judgment.
- Genesis 4:14
- Exodus 33:15-16
- 2 Kings 17:22-23
- Jeremiah 23:39
When you spend time with God, is it a restful, peaceful, joyful experience? There is a difference between God’s omnipresence and His manifest presence. The fact that He is omnipresent means that He is everywhere at all times; even in every wicked place on earth. His presence is also in the midst of His faithful followers who have gathered to acknowledge and worship Him. In what situations is God most likely to manifest His presence?
List some ways you can develop a hunger for God’s presence. Write down some times that you have experienced God manifest presence, both in worship with other believers and in your private time with God. What were the circumstances that surrounded those special times? Spend some time in Psalm 131. Picture yourself being held in the gracious arms of your Heavenly Father.
*Judson Cornwall, Let Us Worship, pp. 9-10, Bridge Publishing 1983.
*Dr. Don McMinn, A Heart Aflame! pp. 10-12, NCM Press, 1993.
1 SAMUEL 30:3-6
1 JOHN 3:19
2 KINGS 17:22-23
Dear Jesus, Show me how to enter into your presence in quiet worship. May I learn to experience the joy of fellowship with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.