So you have the date written down of when you were saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You also have the date written down of when you were baptized in the Holy Spirit and received power from on high. That is good.
This article is to wake you up to the fact that you may have been saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Spirit, and on your ordained way through life. But somewhere along the way you stopped seeking the LORD’s Presence. You became satisfied to be merrily on your way to whatever brought contentment to your eyes and flesh.
Moses and Paul were different. They were concerned with having the Lord’s presence go before them above all else. I want to show you by examining what Scripture records about them that this concept spans both the Old and the New Testaments:
The Lord said, “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:3, 7a, 11a, 15, 17-23 NKJV)
Now when they (Paul and companions) had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:6-10 NKJV)
Many people come to Christ with a great, initial burst of faith. Yet over time their zeal wears thin, and they begin to neglect the Lord. They lightly esteem His commands and turn back to their old, sinful ways. Yet they still believe God’s Presence remains with them. No – that is a hoax, a lie, a delusion! The Bible makes it clear: If you forsake Him, He will forsake you!
God’s promises never fail. But some – like the covenant of His Presence – are absolutely conditional. They require more than merely our cooperation. Of course, God will never abandon us or stop loving us. But if we remain in sin, His Presence will not be with us – and our lives will no longer be an instrument of His powerful presence. We will live according to the flesh – striving, floundering, with no power or guidance! Only when God’s Presence is upon us can we behold, see and understand His Glory.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” As we commit ourselves to the Lord, we know that He will lead us day by day. His favor will be present as a testimony. God’s strategy will prevail. But, if we do not commit our ways to the LORD, we will find ourselves adrift. His Presence will not go before us. Just as a ship adrift in the ocean often finds itself in peril, so will be our lives.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV)
I will leave you with this quote and verse:
“To place ourselves in range of God’s choicest gifts, we have to walk with God, work with God, lean on God, cling to God, come to have the sense and feel of God, refer all things to God” (Cornelius Plantinga)
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:15-18 NLT)