Where would you say you feel God’s presence? At the lake? In the woods? At the ball game? At the race? A recent post in which someone commented that they felt God at the lake catching fish caught my attention (no pun intended). The person wrote, “I joke about this being how I social distance, but really it’s just my way of getting close to God.”
The Bible definitely encourages believers to find Him through nature (Psalm 19:1-6). Nature was intended to be a witness — one that the Gentiles missed (Romans 1:20-23). Furthermore, the “presence” of God is not just a twenty-first century construct of denominationalism. Both Old and New Testaments assert that God is here (Psalm 139:7-12; Matthew 28:20), closely attuned to man and His needs (Matthew 7:11; Luke 12:30; Hebrews 13:5).
This post appeared on a Sunday, when this self-proclaimed Christian should have assembled with the saints worshiping Jesus their Redeemer. New Testament believers came together on Sunday, the Lord’s day, to edify and strengthen each other (Acts 2:42; 20:7; Revelation 1:10; Hebrews 10:24-25). They were able to “come together” (1 Corinthians 11:17-18, 20, 33) to commune with each other and the Lord through His memorial until He comes again (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:26).
The psalmists particularly wrote of their desire to be in the presence of God. However, that presence was found in the tabernacle or temple of God:
- “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1).
- “Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2).
- “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4).
- “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:1-2).
- “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10).
This isn’t to say that the presence of God is necessarily found in a building, but His presence is found among God’s people who love Him enough to do His commandments. The author of the post also said, “There’s lots of days when I fail Him and I don’t get it right.” We all feel this way occasionally, but assembling together alleviates that issue by giving us confidence that we are showing our love for God by fulfilling His commands (John 14:15), and letting us draw closer to God regularly, while pushing the devil further away (James 4:7-8).
This is not an intentional jab or an attempt to anger or embarrass anyone. But if you really want to serve God, this is a good time to contemplate what it really means to feel God’s presence.
It’s not an overstatement to say that your spirituality constantly boils down to decisions you make every day. Paul admonished, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). While you may be in circumstances where you “feel God” is close to you, by your absence from your brethren, you’re making decisions that push you farther away from Him. This is exactly what the devil wants (1 Peter 5:8).