Lingering in God's Presence
Worship is not just about songs we sing or a place we go. It’s about a relationship we have. All relationships need time together to grow in friendship. Our best friends are those we can sit together in silence and still enjoy the pleasure of each other’s presence. Something special happens in our relationship with God when we value lingering in His presence just being together. When we spend time in His presence as a natural part of our day to day, moment to moment life, we become transforming catalysts in whatever environment or place we go. As we linger in His presence we become a transformed people who the Holy Spirit can use to transform places. A couple of key words to consider here:
God’s presence is often translated ‘God’s Face’ implying a close, personal encounter with God.
To linger means ‘to remain or stay in a place longer than is usual or expected, to be slow in parting or slow to act.’ It’s being with God without an agenda.
As Joshua served Moses and lingered near God’s presence, he learned where the source of Moses’ strength and power came from. It was found in God’s presence.
Exodus 33:9-11: “It came to pass when Moses entered the tent of meeting, the pillar of cloud (God’s presence) would come down and stay at the entrance while the Lord talked to Moses…face to face as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua, son of Nun did not leave the tent.” One translation says, “Joshua ‘lingered’ or ‘tarried’ near God’s presence.”
Who has time to linger in this too busy world we live in? Where do I fit ‘tarrying’ into my schedule?
Psalm 37:7 reveals three things that help us linger in God’s presence: “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.” It’s a decision we make and an attitude we take. It involves three things:
Rest. From Hebrew word that means “to be silent, quiet, to wait or to be still.” It’s heaven gently telling us to shut up and chill for a while. It’s our decision to rest. But God loves us so much He sometimes ‘makes us lie down’ if He needs to. (Ps. 23:2)
Resolve to Wait Patiently. From Hebrew word that translates, “to twist, dance, whirl, tremble or travail.” This speaks of different ways to wait on God from creative expressions of worship to sober travailing to communicating a desire to hear from God. Waiting is not for cry babies! In a too busy world it can seem like a mountain too high to climb. But how do you climb a mountain? It starts with a step, then another, then another.
Refuse to worry or fret. We hear a lot about avoiding worry. Let me focus on fretting. To fret means “to burn, kindle, to blaze up and become furious or angry.” This happens as we grow impatient and are tempted to make something happen in our human strength. But as we rest in Him and wait patiently for Him to act on our behalf we will see a fretting attitude and a toxic atmosphere subside. When we refuse to worry or fret we will either hear what God would have us do, see God act on our behalf or continue to wait.
The prophet Isaiah gives a promise for those who linger in God’s presence. “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides you, who acts for the one who waits on Him.”
It is time to linger in God’s presence and allow Him to transform us. When we do the Holy Spirit can use us as transforming catalysts for other people and places.
Wayne has been a great friend of Soul Survivor for many, many years now. He comes from Russellville, Arkansas, USA, where he is married to childhood sweetheart June, and is the Founding Pastor of Fellowship of Christians. Alongside running a church, Wayne has a gift for the prophetic, which has encouraged many people, organisations, churches and leaders from all over the world. He is well known for his yellow paper pad which he carries with him wherever he goes, in order to write down all of his prophetic words from the Lord. It’s our privilege to have Wayne share with us today.