Monday, June 2, 2008

Delighted to Be Here

"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands . . .” (Rev. 2:1).

Although he is the mighty, resurrected Christ, enthroned at the Father’s right hand, Jesus “walks among” the seven churches. In current terminology—no irreverence intended--he “hangs out” with those who believe on him.

We can spend much time considering how to become closer to God. We can speculate endlessly about whether he hears us when we pray. In the light of this verse, these concerns are unnecessary! He is right beside us, ready to interact with us.

Am I jumping to a warm, fuzzy conclusion based on one phrase from one verse? No. Consider these statements that the Lord made to Moses:

'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. . . .’ (Ex. 19:4).

[Did he say, “brought you out of slavery”? No, he said, “brought you to myself.”]

“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8 NKJV).

[Did he want them to make him a sanctuary so that they could come and worship him? No, he wanted a sanctuary so that he could dwell among them. Does that sound like “walks among the seven churches”?]

Then God went so far as to enter fully into our world:

The Word [Jesus] became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14).

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us" (Matt. 1:23).

For 3 years, Jesus literally "made his dwelling with" and "walked among" 12 disciples. After many miles and many experiences with a fairly motley crew of men who often tried his patience, it is said of him, at the time of the Last Supper,

Having loved his own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1 NKJV).

Does God love us from a distance? No, close up. Does he become disillusioned and weary of us at such close range? Apparently not. When he said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” (Heb. 13:5) was it just because he is trustworthy and caring? Or is it also because he cannot get us out of his heart, and delights to be there with us and for us?

Will we hang back, saying, “Oh this can’t be true. We are so unworthy.” Or will we allow his love to transform us?

"Your gentleness has made me great" (Psa. 18:35c NKJV).

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