The Presence of God
"In Your presence is fullness of joy!" (Psalm 16:11)
Even in this world, where the Christian can only dimly apprehended God — how sweet is the sense of His presence, and friendship, and love! What will it be in that eternal world — where He is seen in open vision! If the foretaste is blessed — what must be the fruition! If the rays of the Divine glory are gladdening — what must be the full blaze of that Sun itself!
Believer, do you often delight to pause in your journey? Does faith love to ascend its Pisgah Mount and get a prospect of this Land of Promise? What is the grand feature and element which swallows up all the circumstantials in your future bliss? Let Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles, answer — It is "Your Presence!" "In my flesh, I shall see God!" says one. "I shall be satisfied," says another, "when I awake, with Your likeness!" "They shall see His face!" says a third. Amid all the glowing visions of a coming Heaven granted to John in Patmos, there is One all-glorious object that has ever a peerless and distinctive pre-eminence — God Himself!
There is no sun — Why? "For the Lord God gives them light." There is no temple — Why? "For the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple thereof." The saints dwell in holy brotherhood; but what is the mighty bond of their union; their chief joy? "He who sits on the Throne shall dwell among them!" They have no longer the intervention of ordinances and means — Why? Because "the Lamb who is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and lead them to living fountains of waters." They no longer draw on the storehouse of the Promises — Why? Because "God Himself shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Reader, here is the true "Peniel," where you will "see God face to face." Here is the true "Mahanaim," where the Angels of God meet you.
In Heaven is the true communion of saints — the glorious fellowship of the Prophets — the goodly fellowship of the Apostles — the noble army of Martyrs. Yet all these will be subservient and subordinate to the first — the vision and fruition of God! Even the recognition of death-divided loved ones (that sweet element in the believer's prospect of bliss) will pale, in comparison, before this "Glory that excels!"
Are you among these "pure in heart," who are to "see God"? Remember the Bible's solemn warning, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Remember its solemn admonition, "And every man who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself even as He is pure." To "see God!" Oh, what preparation is needed for so magnificent a contemplation! Infinite unworthiness and nothingness, to stand in the presence of Infinite Majesty, Purity, and Glory!
Can I wonder at the much discipline required, before I can be thus "presented faultless before the presence of His glory?" How will these needed furnace-fires be dimmed into nothing — when viewed from the Sapphire throne! Heart and flesh may be fainting and failing; but, remembering that that same God is now "the strength of my heart," who is to be my "portion forever;" I may joyfully say, "I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me live in safety!" (Psalm 4:8).
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