Summary: This is a message that talks about the reasons and times that God seems distant.
WHEN GOD DISAPPEARS 9/16/03
I was infatuated as a boy with magic tricks. We had a Christian magician come to the church and I was hooked from then on. I began to get books and study magic at a very early age. I would spend hours and hours practicing the magic and when I got my first job at the age of 14, I would spend the majority of my money in buying new tricks. I still have a lot of stuff. But sense they’ve came out with the shows that reveal the secrets, I’ve lost the interest because everyone knows how to do the tricks now. One of my favorite tricks was to make things disappear. Now one of the things about being a magician was that you never tell your secrets. But I’ll do like the TV show. I’ll tell you “the secrete” of how things disappear. They don’t, it is always an illusion. They appear to disappear but never do.
As I was praying this week as to what message God would have me to bring to you this morning, this thought kept coming over my mind again and again; when God disappears. Now the truth of the matter is that just like the magic trick, it’s all an illusion. God never disappears.
How do I know that? God gives us this promise in His word.
Hebrews 13:5b, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
But there are circumstances that He appears distant. This morning we will look at a few of those so that we can determine which one relates best to each of us. This will allow us to reveal the way to feel His presence in all of these circumstances.
Sin Will Hide His Presence
From the beginning of time, sin has caused separation from God.
Genesis 3:8, And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Cain after slaying his brother.
Genesis 4:16, And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
And it doesn’t stop there. All through out the Bible you will find where God took His blessing off of people due to sin.
David is an example of that. A man after God’s own heart. Remember he committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband killed. Sin caused separation from God. So how did this man after God’s own heart get back the presence of God? The same way you and I can if we have sin in our lives.
Acts 3:19, Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
If you don’t feel as close to Lord as you use to, guess who moved? God didn’t disappear, you left Him, He didn’t leave you. You need to confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you as David did. Psalms 51:1-10
Now if you sin, and you continue to sin, and you don’t feel God’s presence leaving you, then you better go back and make sure that it was there to start with. If you continue to sin you might have some short time satisfaction, but you will be miserable till you make things right with Him.
Sin will cause separation from God.
We Will Flee From His Presence
Some times it is us who is the one disappearing. When God called out to Adam and Eve they were hiding in the garden, do they really think that He didn’t know where they were? He had planted the very trees that they were hiding from. That’s like a little baby covering there eyes playing with a parent and thinking that just because their eyes are closed and they can’t see you, you can’t see them either.
Now Adam and Eve hide because of sin, but what is another reason that people flee from His presence?
Some flee because they don’t want to do what He is asking them to do. Fleeing from service you could say. MIA as the military calls it.
We read about such a case in Jonah.
Jonah 1:2-3, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
You see God told Jonah to do something and Jonah thought He could be MIA for that job. The same thing still happens. God calls you to do something for Him. You might not get on a boat to Tarhish, but you run from the calling. You might be afraid like Jonah. Nineveh was a town of great wickedness. Not one that would be receptive to any kind of preaching. He was afraid of what the people might do to him.