READ: 1 Kings 7-9, Psalm 101, Matthew 12, 2 Thessalonians 3
David lifts for us all a cry of longing: “Oh when will you come to me” (Psalm 101:2)? We know that we belong to Jesus, yet we all feel a longing for more of Him, we all struggle with the plague of our own heart (1 Kings 8:38). Our sin and flesh cloud our spirits and make it seem that God is remote, clouded, veiled. Hunger for God is itself a grace; it is God who “inclines our hearts to Himself” (1 Kings 8:58). Our hearts are often blurred by self and sin, and we long for Jesus to come to us in renewed vitality, we long for a fresh unveiling of Himself. What a wonder that God puts the desire for Himself within us. We don’t have to manufacture passion (for we only pervert it when we try); rather by faith we trust that God is going to give us a hunger for Himself and then fulfill the desire He gave us.
When we honestly and humbly hunger, pray, confess His name, and turn from our sin, then God in heaven hears, forgives, teaches, and delivers. The affliction God sends on our souls (due to our sin) is a precursor to hunger. God often has to withhold His sweet presence in order for us to hunger for Him. God does not do this capriciously; it is our folly that requires it. Nothing makes us hunger for the master’s table like wallowing around in the mire with pigs for a while. God helps us hunger for Him through allowing us to experience how unsatisfying everything else is.
When Solomon dedicated the temple, the glory cloud of the Lord’s presence filled the house and the priests could no longer minister. The presence of God was so thick that it had to be stopped and enjoyed. Often we are so busy trying to manufacture His presence that we fail to recognize and participate in it. The goal of the priests was not to minister ritually; it was to prepare a place for the presence of the Lord to manifest. Their ministry was fulfilled, not interrupted, when God manifested His presence.
In our lives, families, and teams we must ever remember that the goal is the manifest presence of Jesus. We can become so busy being busy that the revealed presence of Jesus almost becomes a delay. We forget that the goal is the presence of Jesus; the goal is not ministry that works towards the presence of Jesus. Oh, that God would interrupt our efforts to enter His presence by manifesting His presence and oh, that we would have the wisdom (when that happens) to drop everything and soak in His presence! The goal is not church, or singing, or preaching – these are all means towards His presence. When the presence of Jesus manifests, enjoy it! Stop singing, stop worshiping, stop preaching, stop praying, stop ministering, stop talking…drop everything, stop everything, and linger in the glory cloud – the tangible presence of Jesus.
When Jesus was taken up into a cloud at His ascension, it was into another dimension, a cloud of glory. Jesus is more hungry than we are that we join Him in His glory.