Defying the Presence of God


We often welcome God into our presence and ask him to be in the midst of our activity.   Today we consider a time in which God’s people were defying his glorious presence.  The truth is, if we cannot welcome God into our party, we shouldn’t be throwing the party…

8 Jerusalem staggers,
Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.
9 The look on their faces testifies against them;
they parade their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
They have brought disaster upon themselves.
10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

12 My people, your guides lead you astray;
they turn you from the path.
13 The Lord takes his place in court;
he rises to judge the people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment
against the elders and leaders of his people:
“It is you who have ruined my vineyard…
Isaiah 3:8-10, 12-14

We’re going to hell in a hand basket. Sometimes we think things are that bad. Sometimes we are so hell-bent on our ways and ourselves that we chart the course and chip in for the basket. Judah and Jerusalem were in this situation in Isaiah’s time.

Their behaviour in both word and deed was against the Lord. They were defying his glorious presence. Can you imagine? Maybe you can… we welcome God into our presence and ask him often to be in the midst of our activity. Yet, is there ever a time in which you cannot, in good conscience, invite him in?

Do you ever do things which you hope God won’t notice and can’t be a part of? We’re talking sin, people. When we are living in sin, we defy the presence of God in our lives. This isn’t the odd, incidental sin that we commit each day. This is us knowingly going in a different direction from God’s expectations and plans.

The people paraded their sin like Sodom. You might recall that Sodom, in Genesis 18-19, was such a sinful place that God destroyed it along with Gomorrah. Only Lot and his family were able to escape after God looked for anyone righteous in those cities.

It is notable that the sin which Jesus highlights when he mentions Sodom is their lack of hospitality, in Luke 10:8-12. Now Jerusalem and Judah, just like Sodom, are so caught up in their own sin that they defy the presence of God. They cannot even be hospitable to their Lord and Master because of their sin.

If we cannot welcome God into our party, we shouldn’t be throwing the party…

The attributes this situation to the leaders of Judah: so often the state of affairs starts with the tone of leadership. And so we see that the leaders have a responsibility to set the tone and exemplify God-honouring behaviour.

This responsibility on leadership, however, doesn’t take the accountability off each of us to serve and acknowledge God in everything we do.  Will you welcome God into everything you do today?

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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