Wednesday 14 November 2012
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Read 2 Chronicles 7 at Bible Gateway.
Previously: 2 chronicles 7:14, seeking His face
“To the sanctification of the Spirit, who descends like fire, burning up our lusts and corruptions, those beasts that must be sacrificed or we are undone, and kindling in our souls a holy fire of pious and devout affections, always to be kept burning on the altar of the heart. The surest evidence of God’s acceptance of our prayers is the descent of the holy fire upon us. Did not our hearts burn within us? (Luk 24:32).” – Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 2 Chr 7.
I think all of us have, at one time or another, prayed and sought the Lord’s face, and felt no answering response of love, acceptance, or the presence of God within. The descent of His presence, or as Matthew Henry calls it, the holy fire within, is absent, and He remains silent. What then?
His absence, His withdrawal, is a giant sign to us that we have not yet achieved either humility, prayer, concentrated pressing in to the Lord, forsaking all others, or repentance of wicked ways.
“With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them.” Hos 5:6
Studying the whole of Hosea chapter 5, we find that while Ephraim and Judah were bringing their sacrifices for sin (seeking the Lord with flocks and herds), they continued in pride rather than in humility, they did not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, but only directed their words toward turning to their God, and they walked by human precept instead of by God’s precepts. So, God’s presence continued to be withdrawn from them.
If the heavens seem like bronze above our heads, that is not the sign to give up in despair. That is the sign that we have not yet achieved either humility or repentance. Our definitions, man’s definitions, of pride or humility or repentance, or what is a righteous or wicked deed, are not good enough. We need God’s definitions.
When His presence withdrawn from us becomes intolerable, we will lay down our pride, and bow our face to the ground, and seek His face, praying, “I concede that I have missed the mark. Open my eyes that I may see how, reveal it to me.” When we pray this with sincerity, day after day, week after week, month after month, He will open our eyes. May the spirit of repentance cover us in that day!
Most men, I believe, are frightened of the thought of God withdrawn from them, so they might explain away His presence to try to convince themselves that the state they find themselves in is reasonable, or they might deny that He is withdrawn altogether: even when they do not hear His voice, even when there is no life, love, joy, healing, or salvation – in short, no fruit – coming from their worship or their lives.
Pour out the spirit of kana and baqash on Your people, Father! I ask it in the mighty name of Yeshua!
Continued: 2 chronicles 7:14, turning from wicked ways