Tag Archives: Presence of God

Judges 16:20 – He did not know that the lord had departed from him…

“And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭16:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Samson did not realise that the LORD had departed from him. Let us ask several questions related to this matter:

Is Samson a believer, a Christian in the Old Testament?

Heb 11:32 named Samson as one of the heroes of faith. This confirms that he was a believer, an Old Testament saint. The scriptures tell us that his life does not reflect well of a believer. Yet, God used him to bless Israel. But God also heavily chastised him to bring him back to the right path. This is a key sign of a believer – he will repent of his sins because God will work is us to do so.

What does it mean that God “departed” from him?

If we believe that Samson was a believer, how could it be that the LORD departed from him? Would the Holy Spirit ever leave a believer? No! But a believer can be living in sin and grieving the Holy Spirit. In this case, his sense of the presence of God in His life can be so weak that it could feel as if God was not with Him at all. The Holy Spirit could be grieved and withhold His grace in influencing us. How sad a situation! Samson did not even realise that the LORD was not with him. May God help us that we do not decline to such a state.

How can we avoid this experience of Samson?

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ‭‭James‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬.

JuJThe bible teaches us to “put off” our old ways and “put on” Godly practices. We are not to “put off” and be left with a void. We are to actively “put on” that which is good. The Apostle James teaches us to “resist and flee from the devil”. He did not stop there. He exhorted us to “draw near to God”. This is the simple prescription to avoid the sad state that Samson fell into.

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1 Kings 18:15 – Consciously living in the presence of God

1 Kings 18:15

Then Elijah said, “ As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.” (‭NKJV)

Elijah said “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand….”. He was conscious that the LORD was God. He was convinced that God is alive. He was very conscious that he was living in the presence of God.

The Apostle Paul told the people of Athens in Acts 17:28 “..In him we live and move and have our being..” God is present wherever we are, even though we may not be conscious of it. But Elijah was keenly aware that he was living in God’s presence. His priority was that God should be pleased. He knew that his every action was seen by God. And if his enemies threatened him, his God would also be aware of his situation. This resulted in Elijah being fearless of his enemies. Hence he said “..I will surely present myself to him (the evil King Ahab) today. What will Ahab do to him? Elijah was not concerned. He knew that the presence of God will guarantee protection and the fulfillment of His will.

Are you conscious of God’s presence with you every moment of the day? Our sinful mind makes this impossible because we are constantly preoccupied with what pleases us instead of God. But Jesus has reconciled us to God. He has made constant communion with Him possible. Through repentance and faith, we can be aware of God’s presence. What sweet comfort that can bring us. Seek Him today for He says in Zech 1:3 “…return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you…”.

Questions for meditation:

1) What is the main cause of me not being conscious of the presence of God in my life? What am I doing about it?

2) What is the pre-occupation of my mind most of the time? Are the thoughts appropriate?

3) What can I do so that I have a greater consciousness of God’s presence with me?What you can pray for:

Lord, help me be ever conscious of your presence with me & let this create a fear in me that will help me shun sin.

Esther 3:1-2 “…Mordecai would not bow…”

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage.  Esther 3:1-2

Here’s a quick summary of the situation – Mordecai was the hero, but Haman got a “free ride” and was mistakenly promoted by King Ahasuerus. Have you encountered a similar situation in your life? How did you feel about it? What did you do?

Do we feel that, out of charity, Mordecai should have just accepted what happened as God’s will and responded graciously? If he had done that, perhaps Haman may not have hated the Jewish people so much. Should Mordecai just “swallowed his pride” and not “kick such a fuss” over the matter?

This is a major lesson for us – we should withhold our judgement of situations when we don’t have clarity of the entire picture. We could have said that Mordecai should have been more charitable. Or we could also have said that he did the right thing because there should be justice done – so that the right people get the credit.

Whatever the case, we need to remember is that “God works things out for the good of His people and for His glory”. For some reason, God allowed Mordecai to insist on not paying homage to Haman even though he was under Haman’s authority. This act by Mordecai resulted in Haman’s hatred of the Jews and the plot to annihilate  the Jewish race.

As the story continued, we see even Esther’s life on the line. But it was in the final hour when it looked like a lost cause for God’s people that they were drawn to fasting and prayer. And with a mighty hand, God turned the entire situation around and rescued His people. Ultimately, the glory did not go to Mordecai, but to the God of heaven – who worked all things according to His will and good pleasure and preserved the heritage that eventually traced to Jesus Christ.

There are many lessons for us here: 1) never look short-term and make conclusions. Instead, turn to God and seek His counsel. 2) The most important thing to do in every situation is to pray and seek wisdom to handle every situation wisely.

Mordecai reacted negatively to the apparent “injustice” he faced. But this was used by God to initiate a situation where the existence of the Jewish people was threatened. But this caused them to humble themselves, fast and pray. And God heard their prayer. And He led them out of the potential disaster.

We need wisdom to know how to respond in every situation. When we pray, we have the confidence that God will lead us. Even if it results in short-term pain, we have confidence that He will use the situation to work good for us in the overall scheme of things. But this will be true only for “those who love Him and are called according to His purposes”. How important it is therefore to have God on our side. If He is not, we have absolutely no assurance and will be doomed for disaster.

Ezra 8:22 – Insurance?

For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” Ezra 8:22

Ezra had a dilemma. He was to return to Jerusalem to re-construct the city with a group of Jews. There will be danger on the journey home. Should he “buy insurance” by asking the king for an escort of soldiers to protect those travelling with him against bandits & robbers? If he did, would this show that he had no faith in the God whom he worshipped? If he did not, what if they were indeed ambushed along the way? Hence, he got those who were with him to fast and seek God’s hand of mercy and protection.

This is is a good example of the exercise of faith and diligent seeking of God. However, it does not represent a direction that we should shun insurance or seek medical attention when required. Faith must be held in balance with human responsibility. We need to weigh all our situations before God and seek His guidance on these matters. Even if we used the means provided by God, eg medicine, our faith should not rest with these means, but in the God who provided these means.

Daniel’s friends who were thrown into the fire testified to King Nebuchadnezzar that they had confidence that their God will rescue them – Dan 3:17-18. But even if that did not happen, they will still not bow down to idols. This is the essence of true faith.

2 Chr 32:31 – Why did God withdraw from Hezekiah?

However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. 2 Chr 32:31

There is a reason for everything that happens. We may not know how events are inter-connected one to another because God may not reveal that to us.

But this verse tells us the reason for God withdrawing from Hezekiah. The reason was to test him – to see what was in his heart.

Sometimes we may ask the reason as to why we fell into sin. Perhaps it was because God withdrew Himself – so that we may be tested – so that He may know what is in our heart, just like the case for Hezekiah. And when we fall, we know what is in our heart – that there is nothing good. We are utterly sinful and fully dependent on the grace of God to sustain us, or we will fail miserably. That reduces us to dust and helps us to appreciate the sustaining grace of God.

If we have fallen into sin, may we find grace through our Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself to redeem us because we are totally unable to help ourselves.

1 Chro 17:2 “…for God is with you.”

Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” 1 Chro 17:2

What a blessed & wonderful state to be in when God says to you …. “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”

How can we get to such a state? First, by faith in Jesus Christ where are our sins are forgiven and we are washed by His blood. When we are reconciled to God, we begin our walk with Him. Secondly, by walking in holiness, seeking God’s glory in all that we do and having the joy of the experience of God’s presence with us. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16.  This is an aspiration for all of us, not that we might be “successful”, but that we may realise that our true joy should be in God and God alone.