Saturday, November 16, 2013

God's Presence

When many people speak about being in God's presence, and its effect on people, they point to the Isaiah story.

When he was in the temple one day, he had a vision of God and an army of angels. Isaiah's reaction was fear and dread, because he realized his heart was not right with God. He realized this, because he knew his words were not right. (Since, people live from their hearts, their speech and their actions are indications of what is in their hearts. Everyone's heart is unclean. So, everyone will speak and act wrongly. That's why we need Jesus. And that's why God's Spirit fills out hearts -- to purify our hearts, so we speak and act in love.) It was then that an angel touched his mouth with a burning coal, acting as an instrument of purification, and he received his forgiveness.

People seem to associate God's presence with this holy dread, guilt and fear. People seem to forget about other areas that talk about about God's presence. David says that he is assured of experiencing joy and pleasures in God's presence. It is the presence that produces the joy and pleasure.

Scripture describes the results of God's Spirit moving in and through people's hearts. People "walk out" these results because they are a natural out-flow of God's Spirit in them. This is God's nature, so these are the result of God's nature. The first outflow of God's nature is love. The second outflow is joy.

I am not sure that the natural outcome of being in God's presence is fear, dread and guilt. I don't deny that people feel these things. (Eg. Isaiah.) But I wonder if it is God's intention that people experience joy and peace in his presence. Joy and peace is who he is. Joy and peace is what surrounds him.

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