nearness to God

Psalm 73 is a most interesting mix between closeness to God and complete inward desolation in which one feels not only poor and troubled, but left behind by God. It is typical of many of the psalms which go in and out between complaint and praise.

The sanctuary of God is the key and transition between darkness and light in this psalm. We are often so acclimated to darkness that we actually somehow find some sort of comfort and relief apart from God. It usually and perhaps always for us will be in things which are not necessarily bad in and of themselves. But the sanctuary of God is different. Into that place we take nothing except ourselves in all our brokenness and nakedness before God. We have essentially tuned out other things, and are tuned in to one thing only: the things of God, and more than that, God himself.

Again, other things might have their place, but if we have been in a season akin to “the dark night of the soul,” in which all is difficult, including the sense we can make out of life, all might seem empty, then perhaps that is preparation for entering into God’s sanctuary where we might find the peace and rest, even the very presence of God.

We need that sanctuary, I’m sure again and again, but it’s a reminder that God’s presence actually fills all things, even the very thing which troubles us and threatens to bring us down. But we can only come to realize that through entering the sanctuary, God’s holy place, and remaining there for a time, in and through Jesus.

fresh manna

God provided for his people Israel during their travels in the wilderness, giving them manna, a kind of food which sustained them during their forty years in the wilderness. Every day except the Sabbath, the food dropped down from the sky and was to be gathered each morning except for the Sabbath. The day before the Sabbath twice as much would fall to provide them with enough to eat on the Sabbath. They were to gather as much as they would need for the day. If any was kept for the following day, except for the Sabbath provision, the food would be uneatable, full of maggots and begining to smell (Exodus 16; Numbers 11:6-9).

One of the most important lessons we need to learn as Christians, as follower of Jesus is that yesterday’s food from God was good for yesterday, but not for today. Not that what we learn in the past shouldn’t help us in the present and the future. But we need something fresh from God every day. And it’s not that we’re looking for some kind of experience, either. It is in line with a commitment to God through Jesus in daily seeking his face so to speak in and through the gospel and the written word. We need to be those who seek daily to come near to God and to seek his will.

Our Daily Bread is a devotional which is distributed worldwide in a good number of countries, and is good to help Christians get into the word. That ministry also helps one read through the Bible (see top of link under the picture). And for those of us who get into the word, it is still a good read daily. Liturgy connected to the Book of Common Prayer is also helpful in getting in the word daily. Many Christians have a daily quiet devotional time when they get into the word and prayer. All of this is good. The vital thing is that however we might do it, we seek something fresh for each new day. This is the way God intends it; he wants us to come near to him and draw from his word and in so doing listen to his voice each day in and through Jesus.

We need something fresh from God every day. Our lives are meant to be interactive with God and in that, interactive with others day after day. Meeting our needs and helping others from what we receive, as well as helping them do the same themselves in and through Jesus.