Summary: Have you ever wondered what happens in God’s presence? David gives a clear picture of that very idea.
February 13, 2011
Text: Psalm 16:1-11
Subject: God’s Presence
Title: Eleven Benefits of Being in God’s Presence
I loved what God did here last Sunday morning. I would like to begin this morning by allowing some of you to come forward and share with the rest of the congregation about times when you encountered God’s presence in a significant way – a way that just changed you because you knew that God was there with you.
For me, I can look back at several events in my life. One, when I was saved. Two, when I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. And another very important time to me was about 1992-93 when Charlotte and I were meeting with some other couples in monthly home groups just to sing and pray and share testimonies about what God was doing in our lives. This was a group of about four couples and several single friends who just wanted to be in God’s presence. At the time I don’t remember anyone talking about the Holy Spirit’s baptism or miracles or the power of God or the manifest presence of God. All we knew that God was God and we wanted more than what we were receiving at church.
One particular evening we were gathered. One of the women there was present without her husband. He had a very demanding job that sent him out of town on a regular basis. She was concerned about his health and about their family and asked if we would pray for them. I don’t know how we knew to do this – we had never done it before – but we asked her to step into the middle of our prayer circle and everyone laid hands on her and began to pray. At first it was just a normal kind of prayer, rather formal, using all the right words in a normal tone. But after a few minutes I think that some of us began to understand that we were in a spiritual battle and the prayer became more intense and louder. We didn’t know how but individually we began to take authority over the situation. As the prayer rose in volume the intensity level also rose and I can tell you that after about fifteen minutes of crying out to God as a group we began to sense that God was right there in the room with us. And at that point, the friend we were praying for, the one in the middle of our little prayer circle just collapsed under the power of God’s presence. Some of our friends were alarmed – they didn’t know what had happened and wanted to call 9-1-1. But some of us instinctively knew that it was the power of God at work in her life. I don’t remember how long she lay on the floor – probably a half hour or so – but I do know this, she had encountered the living God in a way that the rest of us long to experience Him. Two weeks later we saw her in church and she said that her legs were still rubbery from the experience. All this because there was a remnant from our church that was hungry for God.
I have given you the opportunity to share and I have shared this story because I want you to know that there are great benefits that come from spending time in God’s presence.
As we read through Psalm 16 today I want to read a verse at a time and reflect on the great benefits we receive from His presence.
1. There is safety in His presence. 1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. Two words of note in verse 1; keep me safe means, “place a hedge around me.” In ancient Israel vineyard owners would plant a hedgerow around their vineyards to keep enemies out. The second word is refuge. It means, “a place to flee to for protection”. If you take refuge in God’s presence who can harm you? Do you believe that? Isn’t that why we pray for the safety of our children when they are out on a Saturday night? Isn’t that why we prayer for “traveling mercies” while on a trip? The fact is, if you continue to live in His presence His hedge of protection will keep you from harm. Satan does not have a free hand towards those who continue in God’s presence. He is under the constraints or limits set by God.
2. Nothing good exists outside of God’s presence. 2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Outside of God’s presence there is no real satisfaction in life. Turn over to Revelation 3. This is a passage I shared with you Wednesday night. 14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”