Summary: We never really know someone until we live with them day after day.
“Soul Talk: What’s Living Together All About?”
We never really know someone until we live with them day after day. Just ask roommates who first met each other on a piece of paper and thought they were a good match – until they lived together day after day. Just ask the starry-eyed young couple who fell head-over-heels in love, got married, and watched their bubble burst as they lived together day after day. Ask Jesus’ disciples who thought being with Jesus would be such a great thrill, only to find out you really don’t know someone until you live with them day after day. The disciples never did understand what it meant to live with Jesus day after day – until Pentecost. Then they got a handle on what living together was all about.
It’s been an issue for all of God’s people through all the ages. The Psalmist, in fact, bares his soul about living together with God. In Ps. 46 he proclaims that living together involves, first, A FOCAL POINT. In verse 4 we see his focal point.
THERE IS A PLACE – God has always been in the midst of His people. He was present in a pillar and cloud as He led them through the wilderness. In the temple He met them for worship. In the tabernacle He was enshrined as the law to follow.
But there was another place; the Psalmist referred to it as “…the city of God.” The city refers to JERUSALEM. Jerusalem was ultimately the place where the Jews gathered for worship festivals, to learn, to declare the greatness of God and to pledge their loyalty to Him. Jerusalem was where God was present in all His splendor and glory.
Yet this earthly Jerusalem points to an even greater place. The “city of God” is a major theme throughout Scripture and points beyond Jerusalem. It has its culmination in the new spiritual Jerusalem. This is A SYMBOL OF HEAVEN, WHICH HAS BEEN PREPARED BY GOD as the final dwelling place of the saints. All the other places will be gone and will have lost their significance; but this is the city for which Abraham looked, “the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).(1) It is the city for which we also long.
We long for it because it is “…the holy place where the Most High dwells…”, the place where God will always have A PRESENCE. “The LORD Almighty is with us…” Notice the change: We do not need to go to a special place; He is the God who is present in the place where we His people are. The ‘Lord Almighty’ is the Lord Joshua met (Josh. 5:13-14): “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” The Psalmist’s ‘LORD ALMIGHTY’ IS THE COMMANDER OF THE LORD’S ARMIES, and He is with us. Remember the Psalmist, last week, in Ps. 139? “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me”.
And the Psalmist said that this God, this Spirit, this Commander, is the One who is with his people. In fact, the Hebrew word ‘with us’ is immanu the root word for Immanuel. Recall the words of Isa. 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” In Matthew 1:23 we hear the name again. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). The virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus who was “Immanuel - God with us.” IN JESUS, IMMANUEL, GOD IS ALWAYS PRESENT WITH US. Through His appearances after His resurrection, Jesus communicated that God is with us, and always will be. God lives together with us. The focal point is the place where God is – and the place where He is, is with us. That’s what living together is all about.
An old man told this story. “Many years ago a little boy lay in his small bed. Before going to sleep he moved in the direction of the large bed in which his father lay and asked, ‘Father, are you there?’’ And the answer came back, ‘Yes, my son.’ I remember that boy turned over and went to sleep without a thought of harm. Tonight that little boy is an old man of seventy, and every night before going to sleep he looks into the face of his heavenly Father and says, ‘Father, are you there?’ And the answer comes back, ‘Yes, my son.’ Then he rolls over and goes to sleep without fear.” (2) That’s what living together is all about.