Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stopped Dead In Their Tracks

Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God2 Chronicles 5:13-14

David desired to build a house for God; a permanent abode for the Ark of the Covenant. When on earth, God could have a proper residence. David’s son Solomon was tasked with the project and the temple he built was magnificent. The ceremony that celebrated this event was over the top. The highlight was the return of the Ark and its establishment in the Holy of Holies. So many animal sacrifices were offered they couldn’t be counted (verse 6). All the Levitical musicians played their cymbals, harps, lyres and other instruments (verse 12). Accompanied by one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets, this may be the largest praise and worship band ever assembled. They sang and played with such enthusiasm and devotion that God couldn’t resist. He joined the party.

When His presence manifested in the form of a cloud, the priests were immobilized; stopped dead in their tracks. They could not (emphasis mine) perform their service because of the cloud.” They had God-given responsibilities and duties. When He showed up, all activity ceased. Without any effort on their part, they praised and worshiped their way into the rest of God.

I’ve never seen God’s presence tangibly manifest in a cloud, but I look for it. If, however, I spend all my time and energy in pursuit of physical experiences, I’ll miss Him completely. Why? He’s already inside me and with me every moment. I don’t need to strive or work harder and smarter. He’s here to stay.

God was limited to outward demonstrations before the cross because He couldn’t dwell inside men. While it was an extraordinary experience for the presence of God to paralyze the priests and it still is, when the cloud lifted, only memories and wishes for the good old days remained. Now God literally resides in every believer. Our spirits are drawn to Him and we control how much, or how little interaction we have.

My take away lesson is this. Quit trying to make something happen. Tapping into the presence of God requires us to be still, not busy. Our lives are filled with “to do lists.” There’s not enough time accomplish everything on them. Stopping dead in our tracks in order to experience God can feel down right irresponsible. It is, however, the key to enjoying fellowship with Him.

So, are you ready to turn off the noise, throw out your schedule and be still before Him? He doesn’t need for you to do anything, just receive rest and refreshment. Why not suspend what you’re doing right now for a few moments, quiet yourself and enjoy time with your Maker. Stopping dead in your tracks could become the high point of your day. Who knows, you just might see Him or His cloud…sweet!

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