New Series: Rest is...
My Presence will go with you,
and I will give you rest.
Rest begins with knowing who’s in charge (see last week's post). Then we need to know the amazing provision that has been made for us; that all we need for body, soul and spirit had its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension (see the Foundations Section of this website). In addition, living in rest is about being restored to the presence of God.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had known a profound relationship with the Lord. However, when they rebelled and were cast out of the Garden, they forfeited that intimacy. Separated from God, the history of humankind shows the continued and futile attempt to ‘climb’ back up to Him, (the story of religion). Some were given the favour of brief encounters, where the curtain of Heaven was drawn back for a moment, and a few like Enoch and Abraham were blessed with the privilege of walking with the Lord over a lifetime. These gave a foretaste of a future time when once again there would be everyday access to the Presence.
The Tabernacle was metaphorically and literally at the centre of the Israelite camp during their wanderings in the desert. And in the Tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant on which the Presence of God rested. The Israelites were known, uniquely among the nations of their day, as the people who carried the presence of their god with them. The Hebrew god was not bound to territories and specific areas of jurisdiction; their God was all-encompassing, the Lord Over All.
HEIRS OF A SUPRIOR COVENANT
The Old Testament, as wonderful as it is, is merely a shadow of the New. We have the privilege of living in a greater reality, being heirs of a superior covenant [Hebrews 8:6].
The birth of Jesus brought the presence of God manifestly into men’s affairs. John’s gospel says that He came and dwelt among us, literally ‘tabernacled’ among us [John 1:14]. And not behind closed doors either; the Presence wasn’t for the privileged few. All who had hungry hearts, whatever their past or present circumstances; whatever their financial or social status; whatever their emotional, spiritual or physical health--all had access. And when Jesus died, the temple curtain separating the Holy of Holies (the place where the Presence rested) from the common people, was torn in two.
When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He did not leave the disciples—or us—bereft; nor did He leave a poor substitute (or even a book—that came much later!).
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate (of the same type)
to help you and be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Before long, the world will not see Me any more, but you will see Me.
Because I live, you also will live.
On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.
[John 14: 17-20]
Jesus' promise was that He would come Himself through the Holy Spirit—not an impersonal power or force, but the Living God (imagine!)—and take up residence in believers. And the Holy Spirit would also give His followers 'eyes to see' the Presence of the Lord all around them, for ‘in Him we live and move and have our being’ [Acts 17:28].
The Presence of God is no longer hidden. The Presence is in us, and we are in the Presence.
Pentecost ushered in the age of the Spirit, the age of the Presence. As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost next week, let’s meditate on these amazing truths: no longer are we separated from the presence of God; the curtain is forever torn, and we have blood-bought entrance tickets to the Holy of Holies. No longer do we have to hear God through an intermediary, for Jesus promised every child of God would know His voice [John 10:27]. And no longer do we have to journey to particular places to experience His presence, for every believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 6:19].
Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
[Matthew 28: 20]
You can read more on this subject on the Experiencing the Presence page
PASS IT ON...
[Photo credits: Igor Rodigues (Ark); Melissa Askew (girl); Joshua Hoehne (mobile) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
All text and photographs,
unless otherwise credited
All rights reserved.
All credited photos are used by permission from
**The owner of this website, www.rhythmsofgraceuk.org is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Programme. This is an affiliate advertising programme which earns fees for sites which advertise and link to products supplied by Amazon properties, including, but not limited to, amazon.com, and amazon.co.uk.
Please note: commissions are supplied by Amazon; there are no hidden costs for visitors to this website, and all resources shown are genuine recommendations,