Yes, church, God wants us to live a good life! He wants us to live this temporal life, giving glory to Him. This means that everything in our life from our mental and emotional state to our physical and financial condition are reflecting the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that we won’t incur hardships and have opportunities to fight the good fight of faith. The devil and this world will certainly try to steal our faith and bring challenges into our life, but we will be able to walk through them without even the smell of smoke! Yes, the fire cannot touch us! Hallelujah!
So, last week, we began looking at the final verse of Psalm 23, verse 6, and we saw how King David continued with this description of God being our Honorable Host by saying, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…”
Church, this statement is so powerful in that it reveals to us what we have to look forward to - again, not just in the next life, but all of the days of our life here now! Amen!
We saw that some synonyms for the word “Surely” are as: “assuredly, certainly, definitely; doubtless, easily, hands down; inarguably, indisputably; undeniably, undoubtedly, unquestionably, unarguably; clearly, plainly, really, truly.” Therefore, when we see the word “Surely” attached to a statement in God’s Word, this means we can take it to the bank! It is a done deal!
But as confident as David was able to be here in this verse, we, under this new and better covenant, should be even more confident. Why? It is because He already has poured out His goodness and mercy on us through Christ Jesus! So, as far as God’s concerned, it has already been done! Amen! SURELY, God’s grace is in our account!
Then we looked at what is it that we can be confident of experiencing every day of our lives? David says that it is God’s goodness and mercy following us all the days of our life.
Regarding this, we saw how goodness and mercy have been referred to as God’s footmen. These footmen were two men who took their place behind a wealthy man on his coach. Their task was to smooth the way for him. Where he went, they went. When his coach stopped, they jumped down to open the door for him. They would hurry into the inn to make sure his room was ready and his supper served.
However, we saw that some have gotten the wrong impression of these two footmen. We saw that when this verse says that this goodness and mercy shall “follow” us all the days of our life, some have gotten the impression thinking that they are maybe 50 yards behind us, picking up the rear. But the Hebrew word that David used here is crucial to understand in this context. It is the Hebrew word radaph, which means “to pursue, to set off after someone in order to catch them.” It also means “to chase, to run after, or to be in hot pursuit of.”
In fact, this word is translated “persecute” more times in the original King James version than it was “follow.” David oftentimes used this same word to describe his enemies’ pursuing and persecution of him (see Psalm 7:1, 31:15, 35:3 etc.).
So, this paints a better picture of what David meant in Psalm 23:6: Just as David’s enemies would intentionally and maliciously pursue David to do him harm because of their hatred for him, God’s goodness and mercy likewise intentionally pursue us - but not to do us harm because of their hatred - but to do us good because He loves us! Amen!
So, no, God’s goodness and mercy do not follow behind us at some distance, never catching up to us. No, they are pursuing us in order to catch us every day! We used the example that it is like you were speeding and now a police car is “following” you with its lights on. That police officer is not “following” you from a distance; no, they are “pursuing” you in order to catch up to you, pull you over, and give you a ticket for speeding.
Church, that is what God’s goodness and mercy is doing for each and every one of us every day: They are in “hot pursuit” of us! The difference is, when they catch you and I, they are not going to give you a ticket (i.e. punishment and judgment); God’s goodness and His unfailing love will provide you with all manner of grace and mercy! Amen!
So, we then looked at God’s first footman called “goodness.” The Hebrew word that is used here is used over 550 times, and guess what you will not find in these 550 instances where it is used…? Of the 550-plus times this word "goodness" is used, you never one time see any reference to things like cancer, paralysis, tragedy, accidents, sickness, poverty, etc. Isn’t that interesting? It is particularly interesting when you consider how so many Christians, and even ministers, today are equating these bad things with God’s goodness.
But, no, this word “goodness” describes things that are “pleasant, becoming, beneficial and morally good”? In fact, this word for "goodness" is translated as “good, better and best.” It is, therefore, a huge stretch for these who equate evil, destructive things like this to being agents of God’s goodness.
In fact, this word that David used that is translated “goodness” is the same word that God used throughout Genesis chapter one in describing His creation. So, if you want to know what God considers “good,” then look at His original design in creation, which is completely absent of these evil, harmful things. No, God’s original creation is all life and constructive, not death and destructive!
Then we looked at the other footman of the Lord that is following close behind, translated “mercy.”
This word comes from the Hebrew word hesed, which I believe is the closest Old Testament counterpart to our New Testament word describing God’s love, agape. This word is defined by Strong’s as “unfailing love, loyal love, devotion, kindness, often based on a prior relationship, especially a covenant relationship.” It is for this reason that many like to define this word as “the unfailing, steadfast, covenant love of God.”
So, not only is God’s goodness in hot pursuit of us, but we also have God’s unfailing, covenant love chasing us down as well! Aren’t you thankful, church, that God’s unfailing love never quits on us and never quits pursuing us. Yes, even when we are unlovable and do some pretty stupid things, God’s love is still in hot pursuit of us!
Now we saw how these two words “good(ness) & mercy” are what was used in the very common statement of praise that was made throughout the Old Testament where God’s chosen people said, “For the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!” (And notice that both, His goodness and mercy, are referred to in this, the single most popular statement of praise we have in the entire Bible)
In studying this, we find something very interesting: You will find that when they began to praise God with this “phrase of praise” that the glory of the Lord showed up, enemies were defeated, and God’s people were blessed! (Compare 2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
Now it is important to realize that just simply parroting this particular phrase is not necessarily going to get the same results. What needs to be understood here is that it is in praising God out of the heart for His goodness and His mercy that is what will yield God’s miraculous provision in our lives. And specifically, this: when you praise God all the days of your life for His goodness and His mercy like this, His goodness and mercy will follow you all of the days of your life!
Then, finally, we looked at the last part of this phrase from Psalm 23:6 and saw that David’s confidence was not in the fact that God’s goodness and love pursuing us will happen sometimes or from time to time; no, David said, “Surely, (this will happen) all the days of my life.” In other words, this was not something that he believed would happen occasionally or sporadically; this was not something he was confident would happen from time to time or even “as the Lord willed.” No, David was “sure” that the Lord’s goodness and mercy would be in hot pursuit of him every day of his life.
So, this is something that we should ask ourselves: Do we believe that we have good things and God’s love pursuing us every day? Are we expecting that something good will happen to us today? This is apparently what David believed!
Now the truth is that most people (including Christians) are pessimistic, not optimistic. They will say things like, “Well, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all!” And the problem with this belief system is that it based on their experiences and not on God’s Word. The Bible says, “Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life!” So, that is only what we should be saying! As the late Oral Roberts was known for saying, “Something good is going to happen to you today!” This is where he got this from - verses like Psalm 23:6!
So, this is what we took away from the message last week: We need to change our expectations and begin to say out of our mouths every day that “Surely, something good is going to happen to me today!”- all because God has said that His goodness and His unfailing love are pursuing us every day of our lives!
So, surely, certainly, absolutely, we can take it to the bank, the Lord’s goodness and His unfailing, steadfast love are in hot pursuit of us, God’s children. And these are not seasonal blessings either; they are pursuing us every day of our lives! Amen, and so be it!
THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
But, you know, as wonderful and blessed as this good life can be - as great as all the physical, financial, relational, emotional, mental benefits are - there is “one thing” that far surpasses all of these natural blessings. Yes, there is one thing that is most needful and is the good part of this good life - and that His presence! The one thing that is available to us that makes this good life the “goodest” is that we can live in the presence of God every day! Amen?
Ironically enough, this is exactly what David referred to, albeit in the last half of the last verse of this beautiful psalm. (Truly, the last shall be first! Amen?) So, let’s look at the last portion of Psalm 23:6. In it, David says, “… And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Now, first of all, one thing that is important to understand about this reference to “the house of the Lord” is that it is not a physical place. I understand that we like to refer to our church buildings as “the house of God,” but these physical structures we gather in are not truly God’s house. That’s right: one cannot say God’s house is here or it is there - for the house of the Lord is wherever we take it because our bodies are now God’s temples.
Do you remember the account where Jesus was ministering to the woman at the well and He told her that the time was coming where we will not worship the Father on that particular mountain or in the city of Jerusalem, but the time was coming where those that worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth? Jesus said that God is spirit, and this is why the time was coming where God’s people were not going to have to go to a specific place to worship anymore. Therefore, the secret place is a spiritual place, the house of the Lord where His presence abides.
Even when these Old Testament saints referred to the “house of the Lord,” they were not referring to simply a physical structure. It would not have been realistic that David would have been referring to a physical place either because how many of you know that we cannot stay in one physical structure all the time? No, you cannot go to church every day just as the Jews could not constantly live in the Temple or Tabernacle. So, David was evidently talking about something else when he referred to the “House of the Lord.”
Now repeat after me: “Pastor Trey… wants me… to come to church.” Going to church is important, saints! For it is uniting together in fellowship to be equipped and encouraged that keeps us from straying from the pack and becoming easy prey for the roaring lion. But how many of you know that there is something more important than going to church? There sure is, and this is it: “dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.”
So, what was David referring to here? Well, to the Jewish mind, the house of the Lord (i.e. the Tabernacle and then the Temple) was synonymous with God’s presence. Yes, they saw “the house of the Lord” as the place where God dwelt - in the holy of holies of both the Tabernacle and the Temple. So, what David was literally saying was that He was certain that he would dwell in God’s presence forever. No, not in the holy of holies, but that God would be with Him wherever he went.
AND I WILL…FOREVER
But notice how David said, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Not, “And I hope or maybe I will dwell there.” No, He was confident that he was going to dwell in the Lord’s presence forever. There was no question in his mind. And this is the confidence we should have as well - that we are not “in and out,” one day God’s there and the other He’s not. No, we should know that His presence is present forever.
I say this because there is an epidemic in the Body of Christ – a wrong belief system – that the Holy Spirit may come and alight on us one day, but as soon as we “grieve” Him, He flies away like a bird out of a tree. This is simply not true! Jesus promised us that when the Helper has come, He will abide with us forever (see John 14:16). So, He is not in us one day and gone the next. No, He remains with us forever. Even when we sin. Even when we say and do stupid things. He abides.
So, that is the first piece of encouragement that we should receive from this phrase - that we don’t have to worry about God’s presence departing from us if we are born again, Spirit-filled believers. Nothing can separate us from His love! He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 & Deuteronomy 31:6). Jesus said, “I am with you always even to the end of this world” (Matthew 28:20). So, we need to be fixed in the truth that God is always with us, that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and that we will dwell in His presence forever.
Now “forever” does not just indicate eternally either. It certainly includes forever into eternity, but it includes right now as well. In other words, dwelling in the house of the Lord starts and is made available the moment we are born again and continues throughout the rest of our life here in these tents and will continue when we leave this earth and live in the glory of God’s kingdom.
As a matter of fact, this is why God gave us Jesus to begin with…
If you were to ask many Christians what their favorite Bible verse is, probably the most common answer would be John 3:16. The reason this would likely be the favorite verse of the majority of Christians is because this verse perfectly illustrates the gospel message of God’s unconditional love and of His amazing grace. But even with as much time and energy that has been spent reading and studying this powerful verse, there is a major point that Jesus made in it that is not understood in many circles of Christendom.
Let me explain: Many only read John 3:16 from the perspective that God has saved us from something - namely, perishing in hell and eternal death. This truth that Jesus came to save us from an eternity of being separated from God has been emphasized time and time again through this verse. And while this is most definitely true and an important part of our salvation (for being “saved” is being delivered from eternal death), this is not all that is entailed in our salvation. You see, God did not just save us from something; He saved us unto something! And Jesus reveals what He saved us for in this classic verse. So, let’s take a look at it…
John 3:16 reads- “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him would not perish but have eternal life.”
First of all, notice that this verse begins by talking about how much God loved the world. Friends, this is a good time for a commercial here - because I believe one of the most detrimental things to having a good, healthy relationship with God is the misconception of who God is. You see, so many view God has a harsh, judgmental God who is out to get them and is only focused on their sins, faults and shortcomings, but this is simply not the truth. This verse says that God so loved the world, not just loved His people. No, He loved the world! This is the ungodly! The sinner! Those who were lost and without God in the world! And then this verse didn’t just say that He loved the world; it says that He so loved them! Amen!
“So” let me ask you a question: if God so loved the world, then how do you think He loves His church? I would answer that question this way: God so loves the world, but God “so-zo” loves His church! Amen!
But my point is what so many fail to realize is that this verse not only shows us what God has done for us, but it also reveals to us God’s purpose for our lives. In other words, John 3:16 provides us with more than just what God did for us; it also shows us what God did for all of the world- revealing the purpose of our salvation.
Most read this verse and act like it ends with the word “perish.” They seem to only acknowledge that God sent Jesus to save us from perishing for all eternity. Just like so many just stop at this point of the verse, this is as far as some get in their revelation of God’s purpose in sending Jesus.
But no, finish the verse, saints! Don’t get stuck on that same old verse and dance; get to the chorus! The chorus to this beautiful love song says, “but have eternal life.”
So “eternal life” is what God saved us unto and the purpose of our salvation! Again, this verse says that God sent His Son not only for the purpose of saving us from perishing, but that we would have “eternal life.” God’s redemptive plan involved more than just delivering us from eternal death; it also involved delivering us into eternal life!
So here is the big question then: What is eternal life? Is it, as it initially sounds, to “live forever”? It could not mean to just simply live forever because, I have news for you, as it pertains to eternity, everyone is going to “live forever.” Some will spend eternity in heaven and the others will spend eternity in hell, and our eternal destination is determined by whether we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior or not.
You see, contrary to popular belief, eternal life begins now, not when we die. Jesus said that we now possess eternal life (John 5:24 & 6:27). In other words, the invitation into eternal life begins the moment we put our faith in Him. Therefore, the gift of eternal life is something that is immediately available to all born again believers.
So, if eternal life is not what it seems like just from the casual glance as just beginning after we die and go to heaven, what is it? We need to find out the answer to this question so that we do not miss any of the privileges and benefits of our salvation.
Jesus gave us the answer to this mystery in John 17:3… He said, “And this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
So eternal life is indeed more than what it seems on the surface! Eternal life is knowing God the Father and knowing God the Son! Now this makes the truth that we now possess eternal life easier to understand, doesn’t it? We now have eternal life because we now have the glorious opportunity to know God! Hallelujah!
Now when this verse says that eternal life is to “know” God, it is important to note that Jesus was not referring to knowing about God or to just having some intellectual information about Him.
You see, it is easy for us to say that we “know” someone, but do we really “know” them? For example, if someone asked us if we knew Donald Trump or some other famous person we would likely say that we do, but does this mean that we really know them? The answer is no. We might know about them or know of them, but this does not mean that we really know them like Jesus was referring to here. You see, there is a difference between how we use the word “know” in today’s language and how the Bible uses this word “know.”
The word “know” here in John 17:3 means to know experientially and intimately. For example, this word “know” was used this same way in Genesis 4:1 to describe how Adam “knew” his wife Eve, which was meant to describe the intimacy in their relationship. So, we can see from this example that when the Bible uses the word “know” it means much more than having head knowledge; it means to have an experiential knowledge! And from this example in Genesis, we can see that it means to have a close, intimate knowledge of another individual similarly to what you would have when you have a personal relationship with them.
So, I submit to you that eternal life - which is “knowing” our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus - describes having a personal relationship with God. It is having a close relationship with God as a parent and child or a husband and wife would have with one another! Eternal life is having a knowledge of God that goes beyond just being acquainted with Him or vaguely knowing about Him. Eternal life is knowing God on a personal level and having a personal and intimate relationship with the Godhead! Thank you, Jesus!
So, yes, “forever” begins now! If we are born of God and the Holy Spirit resides in us, “eternal life” begins now and will continue into the next life. Amen! And King David was a man well ahead of his time - for he understood this well. Yes, he understood the value of fellowshipping with God and living in His presence. In his estimation, there was nothing more important than this. He indicated this in Psalm 27, so let’s look at it:
ONE THING IS NEEDFUL
In Psalm 27:4, David begins to say, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek…” The Hebrew word for “one” here describes the bringing together of several different things or a uniting together of multiple things. So, what David was saying was that if he could summarize everything that he desired from the Lord; if he could bring everything together that he asked and sought the Lord for, it would be this “one thing”: “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” Therefore, what David was saying was that if he could summarize everything that He asked the Lord and sought Him for, it would be to dwell in His presence all the days of His life. This is the one thing he wanted!
In Luke 10:38-42, we see Jesus Himself referring to this one thing as well. This is, of course, the familiar story of Martha and Mary: In this story, we see Martha was distracted with much serving, and how she resented her sister for not helping her. Eventually she had had it with her “lazy-bum” sister and decided to interrupt Jesus to get Him to correct Mary. But I bet she was not prepared for the response He gave her: He said, “Martha, Martha, you are troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Wow! This verse is loaded with some powerful truths that paint the picture of so many believers!
Notice that in Luke 10:42, Jesus did not say that this one thing - the good part of our calling - is just a good idea; He said that this one thing is “needed.” This is something that we desperately need to understand - that spending time in God’s presence is an absolute necessity and not just beneficial.
Notice that Jesus said only “one thing” is needed, and it was not Martha’s service for Him. Now, He was not saying that her service was unimportant or that it did not have its place. Our service unto Him is important, but Jesus said that Mary had chosen that good part. That “good part” of what? That good part of a believer’s responsibility! What Mary had chosen was the one thing that was needful… And what was that one thing that she desired and sought after? It was fellowshipping with Jesus - drawing near to Him and sitting at His feet! Jesus attested that spending time in His presence was the good and needful part of our relationship with Him!
PLANTED IN HIS PRESENCE
Now regarding Psalm 27:4, did you notice the same word “dwell” that was used in Psalm 23:6 was used here as well? This is also the same terminology used in Psalm 91:1 when Moses said that He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. You see, saints, this is where the child of God is meant to live - in God’s presence!
And this is obviously not just an occasional visit to these places; this is living in them! That is what this word “dwells” indicates, which I see as being the Old Testament counterpart to the New Testament word “abide.” Therefore, this excludes the “nod to God” crowd (i.e. those whose relationship with God consists only of attending the occasional church service or doing sporadic religious exercises). No, this is referring to the one who lives in the place of His presence, those who daily “dwell” in His house.
Psalm 92:12-15 teaches us that as we are planted and abiding in the Lord’s presence (i.e. His house) that we will blossom and sprout with a spiritual harvest (i.e. we will be spiritually rich with the life of God). It’s just like how a tree works. As a trunk of a tree pumps sap into the branches which force the branches to produce or else they’ll drown. Likewise, as we remain plugged into Jesus, He pumps His life into us and forces us to produce His fruit.
You see, this was David’s great desire because he knew just how wonderful time spent in the Father’s presence was! Yes, he knew it’s benefits! Notice what he went on to say in the 27th Psalm…
He said at the end of verse 4 - “to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”
You know, there are some things you just will not know outside of fellowshipping with God in His presence. You will not be able to behold the beauty of the Lord outside of His house. In other words, you will not be able to see how truly good and gracious He is. Yes, some things are better caught than taught. I could stand up before you Sunday after Sunday, telling you how good God is and how awesome He is, but if you do not get in His presence for yourself and behold upon Him yourself, there are some things you just will not see. No, we need to get in His “house” and gaze upon Him (i.e. beholding Him). This is when, not only will we be able to truly see Him as He is, but also, we will be changed into the same image from glory to glory! Amen!
Yes, saints, His temple is where we are able to truly “inquire” of the Lord and learn all about His ways. In other words, in His presence is where we get answers. Have you ever noticed that the things God speaks directly to you are the things that stick and you remember the most? That’s because the Lord Himself will always be your best teacher.
But notice what David went on to say next in verse 5- David says, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion. In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.”
So here, David explains another major reason why dwelling in the presence of God all the days of His life was His greatest desire: Not only did He get to experience the myriad of blessings associated with spending time in God’s presence; he also knew that this was the key to being hidden and protected in the time of trouble. Therefore, we can see that dwelling in God’s presence - just you and Him, fellowshipping and spending time with each other - is where we are sheltered from harm and trouble. It is here that we are shielded and defended from the snares of the fowler. Amen.
But His presence does not just offer us protection from the enemy, it is where we truly become satisfied and content. Psalm 36:8-9 teaches us this: In verse eight, David begins by saying, “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of your house...”
The “they” being referred to here are those who know their God and, therefore, position themselves under the shadow of His wings (see verse seven). So, what does he say is the benefit of drawing near to Him like this? We are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of the house of God.
Therefore, the way David says that we become abundantly satisfied (or you could say, extremely content) is by entering the fullness of God’s presence. This, of course, corresponds with Paul’s secret to contentment that we find in Philippians 4:13 - for our contentment level is directly tied to abiding in the presence of the Lord. Amen?
We see this principle reflected in Psalm 16:11 as well when King David said, “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” So, it sounds like the key to being full of joy and abundantly satisfied in our hearts is learning to live in the fullness of God’s presence. Or you could say, the more of the Lord’s presence that we are abiding in, the more content and satisfied we will be. Amen.
Saints, there is no substitute for His presence! It brings fullness of joy, contentment and satisfaction. Therefore, the only reason that we ever become discontent in life is because we are not drawing the strength for our contentment from the presence of Christ. Yes, if we ever feel like we need anything other than Christ, then we are showing signs that our heart is gravitating towards these other things and away from the Lord.
The rest of Psalm 36:8 goes on to say, “…and you give them drink from the river of your pleasures.”
Didn’t Jesus say that if anyone thirsts, let them come to Him and drink (John 7:37)? You see, true satisfaction comes from nowhere else other than being close to Him and drinking from His well of salvation. He alone can satisfy our deepest needs - not a spouse, a job, or a hobby - just as water is the only thing that can satisfy us when we truly thirst. There is no substitute for Christ in this dry and thirsty land just like there is no substitute for water in a naturally dry and thirsty land.
Then notice what King David says in verse nine: “For with You is the fountain of life; In your light we see light.”
David goes on to say here that it is only being with Him (that is, in His presence) that you and I can experience the fountain of life. What is this fountain of life? It is God Himself - for He referred to Himself as the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13). So, when we are “with Him,” the life of God can continuously flow through our very being making us perpetually satisfied and content.
David also said that in His light we see light. In other words, when we are in His presence (for God Himself is light), we can see more clearly and our perspective will change. The things we used to think were important and that we had to have will no longer be our priority and focus. That’s right - in His presence we will be able to see what is important with an unclouded perspective and will truly walk in the light as He is in the light.
My friend, there are so many benefits to the presence of God in our lives. Like we have just seen, it produces light and it is our fountain of life. Yes, His presence is to us spiritually what sunlight and water are to us physically.
So, we can clearly see that dwelling in the Lord’s “house”- that is, His presence - has a myriad of benefits. It abundantly satisfies our soul! It causes us to grow and flourish and bear fruit for the glory of God! It protects us from many of the onslaughts of the enemy! But, I believe most importantly, it grants us entrance into a rich and vibrant fellowship with the Lord that we are all called to inherit! And we can continue and grow in this all of our lives. We can still bear more fruit in old age by spending time in his presence, still continue flourishing!
OUR VITAL NEED
Now let’s skip ahead to another verse in the 27th Psalm that explains the attitude that David had regarding his desire to be with God. What we will find is that David did not seek to be with God all of the days of His life just because he wanted to; we will see that David sought to be with God because he knew how much he needed to.
Psalm 27:8 in the Amplified Bible reads this way: “You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].”
Notice, first of all, that David said God told him to seek His face and, as the Amplified Bible brings out, to require His presence as his vital need. What this tells us is that David’s desire to be with God was evidently not just initiated by David himself. No, the Lord had commanded David to seek His face and require His presence as his vital need.
The Lord has repeatedly told me the exact same thing over my walk with Him. Yes, throughout my walk with the Lord, I have had Him tell me time and time again just how important it is that I learn to fellowship with Him. In fact, it seems like every time I have ever approached Him with a frustration that I was having in my walk, that seeking His face was the remedy He gave me. Particularly early in my walk, in the times where I asked God for answers, invariably His response to me was something like, “Son, you just need to be spending time with Me.”
But, whether we know it or not, God has told all of us how important that it is that we spend time with Him; and He has told us through Psalm 27:8. He has admonished each and every one of us through this powerful passage of Scripture to seek, inquire for, and require His presence as our vital need. None of our situations are unique. We all need to spend time with God - dwelling in His presence and feeding on His faithfulness!
You see, He knows that spending time with Him and seeking His face is vital to our spiritual life. This is why He commands us to do so. But the problem is not with getting God to know how much we need to spend time with Him; the problem is with getting us to realize how vital it is that we spend time with Him.
I believe a good illustration that describes the importance of the time we spend fellowshipping with God is in the importance of periodically plugging an electronic or battery-operated device into its power source. You see, we all have battery operated devices that we have to recharge periodically and we also have some electronic devices that need to stay plugged in so that they can continue to operate. Either way, every electronic or battery-operated device has to be plugged in or recharged at some point or another. One device that can probably be understood by most of us is our mobile phone. If we do not plug in our mobile phones regularly, we are likely to have the battery die, correct? Therefore, we place a priority on charging our phone on a daily basis so that it does not run out of power. And although having our cell phone lose its power is not a serious thing, what God wants us to understand is that a failure to maintain quality fellowship with Him is indeed detrimental to our spiritual lives. No, I am not saying that we are going to die physically or spiritually if we do not spend time with God. However, what I am saying is that we will not truly live if we do not have good, quality fellowship with Him!
For example, Jesus said in John chapter 15, in order for the branch to truly live and be productive, it must abide in the Vine because, apart from Him (i.e. Jesus Christ), we can do nothing. If Jesus were here on the earth during the 21st Century, He might have used the same illustration that I am using here because basically what He was making the point of is that if the branches do not stay “plugged into” the Vine, they will lose their “power” to be fruitful. Therefore, just as is the case with our electronic and battery-operated devices, if we want to fulfill our mandate to be lights to the world, we must stay plugged into the source of that light. Why? It is because the quality of our spiritual life is directly tied to us having an abiding relationship with the True Vine.
But let me take this illustration to another level… What if you literally ran on a battery and, just as is the case with any battery-operated device, you had to recharge your battery at a certain time, say first thing in the morning? If this were the case, where would you be first thing every morning? Undoubtedly, every morning for a specific period of time, you would be plugged into that power source! It would not matter if you did not sleep well the night before, if you would rather watch television, or even if someone invited you to an all-expense paid trip to your favorite place to shop. No matter how you felt or what came up, you would be recharging your battery at all costs! And why? It is because you would understand how vital and necessary it is that you recharge your battery. And this is exactly how we should view our time spent with God! Now I believe that the reason that God has indicated that we need to be this serious and rigid about our time spent with God is because if we do not adopt this mentality, the devil is sure to distract us.
Have you ever noticed that when you have decided to go to your prayer closet to spend time with God that every possible distraction will come up? Yes, invariably, the devil will send both external and internal distractions to derail our time spent in God’s presence. Some examples of these external distractions would perhaps be the phone ringing, someone knocking at the door, or the dog starts barking. But not only will these external distractions come up, even our minds will begin to be filled with distracting thoughts. For example, we might start having thoughts about all the things that need to be done around the house. Now you know good and well that if you were simply sitting in front of the television, you would not be thinking of how you need to be cleaning out the garage, would you? So where do you suppose both these external and internal distractions come from? You guessed it! It is the enemy that plants those distractions in your path to abiding in His presence! And why do you suppose he fights our time spent with God like this? Do you think it might be because he knows how vital this time we spend with God is to our spiritual lives? I guarantee you this is why he sends these distractions and obstacles! He apparently knows something that most believers do not! But no more! Lord you have said, “Seek Me and require my presence as your vital need!” So, we say to You, “Lord, one thing we desire and commit to do; we will seek to spend time with You!”
So, what have we learned? We have seen that dwelling the house of the Lord is not just something that is available to us from time to time or as the Lord wills. It is something that is promised us forever - partly because the Lord Himself has promised that He will always be with us. Therefore, we have God’s presence with us all of the time as God’s children and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
But this is also available experientially as well - for as we learned, the house of the Lord is His presence. Therefore, we have the promise of His presence being available to us forever. This all starts with experiencing “eternal life” which is knowing God. So, as we seek to know God, having relationship & fellowship with Him, we experience now what is available to us forever. Amen.
And the benefits to His presence are unending, church! We have seen that we come to know Him more in His presence. We have our questions answered in His presence. We are protected in His presence. Our hearts are full in His presence. We become more fruitful through His presence. The benefits are endless!
Therefore, our prayer should be that of Moses when he said, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15). You see, defeating our giants, inheriting our Promised Land, and eating the fruit of this good life cannot compare to living in the presence of the Lord. Amen?
You see, Moses had tasted and seen that the Lord is good. So, he knew that nothing else could compare with the manifest goodness of God. And this is the way it is with all of us; once we get a taste of the goodness of His presence, we will want more! You can’t get enough of His presence because it is addictive.
So, get addicted today, church! Get a taste of this good life - for the Good Life is a life lived in God’s presence. Amen!