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May 8 Devotion: The Burning of God’s Presence

Nahum 1:5 – “The Mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.”

This verse is part of Nahum’s prophecy (vision) and describes the effects of what would happen in God’s literal presence. I can imagine skeptics or “bible correctors” claiming that this verse is merely a metaphor to explain the power of God (as this passage opens speaking of God’s fury and vengeance). Those people would be wrong. Should God return to the earth at this moment, in all of His glory and power, the earth would burn away from existence. Why? Because in His presence all sin is consumed and the Earth, and all those who have been born into it, have been cursed with the sin.

God told Moses that no man could see Him his face and live; Adam and Eve were spared from this fate because although God had judged them sinners, in his mercy, God showed them how to make sacrifice for their sins before the sentence of sin’s curse was carried out. Jesus was certainly all God, but was robed in flesh, thus shielding the world from the overwhelming power of God; yet, on the mount of transfiguration, the glimpse of His Holiness that Peter, James and John caused them to fall on their faces in fear of the Lord. After Christ has resurrected, he was still robed in the flesh of the perfect sacrifice for our sins, thus His true personage was not unveiled.

Consider, the very voice of Christ caused the hearts of men to burn in their chest (Luke 24:32). So, how much more would the world burn at the very presence of the Tri-holy God Jehovah?

So how does this fact pertain to a devotion? Well, are we not commanded to seek His face and draw nigh unto God? The fact that we are robed in the righteousness of Christ does afford us the opportunity to get closer to God that those that are sin cursed. We cannot enter into Heaven in our sin cursed flesh, but we can have fellowship with Him and through followship we can live in the presence of His Spirit. The manifestation of God’s presence (through the Holy Spirit) should always be a joyous, humbling, and exciting affair for the children of God. However, not all that have been washed in the blood of Christ can enjoy the presence of God…

When we are tainted by unconfessed sin or iniquity and possess an unrepentant heart towards God, the presence of God is not enjoyable. In fact, it burns. A person that isn’t right with God will experience three types of burning when confronted with the presence of God:

1) They can burn with shame. The conviction of God laying bare your faults will cause guilt to burn a person’s excuses and justifications away. Unless repentance causes them to seek forgiveness, this fire cannot be quenched in the presence of God;

2) The treasure room of their heart will be set aflame with the revelation that their horded valuables are not of any value to God. God is quick to show what he approves of what he rejects; and,

3) They can burn in the fire of their own pride. Their unwillingness to heed the call to repentance will blossom into an inferno of stubborn indignation towards all things pertaining to God. Their pride desires to hold onto the ashes of their earthly treasures and keeps them from seeing the value of living a life for God.

When the presence of God burns, it means that there is a problem with us, not with Him. That burning is proof that there is something in our life that is preventing us from drawing closer to the presence of God. The Lord, through that burning, shows us that He desires a closer fellowship but we are the ones that stand in the way of a closer walk with God.

In all honesty, a Christian should never go a day without feeling the burning that is conviction. Every person can draw closer to God, which means there is something standing between us and God. If you can’t remember the last time you felt the burn of God’s presence, it means that you haven’t been around God in far too long. I pray that each time we feel that burn, we choose to address the reason for the burning and get closer to God rather than rejecting the opportunity out of pride.

Your fellowservant in Christ,

Bro. Jordan Foster

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