Friday, July 19, 2013

Safety in His Presence

I recently found myself in a very uncomfortable situation.  I remember feeling like the Israelites when they told Moses, "You brought us out here to kill us!" 

That's what I told Him, "Lord, You've brought me here to kill me!"

Sometimes I'm dramatic. 

It brought up some extremely painful things from my (church) past.

I felt very unsafe. Sick.  But I also knew to trust the Lord and His perfect timing in and through the situation.  I knew He brought me there for that very reason. My emotions welled up, threatening to take over, so I desperately told Him, "I need security."  Normally I ask.  But this was different; it was a bold request.  I wrote the word "Security" in my notes, an urgent plea from my panicking heart. 

He spoke so clearly through the teacher that night...she referred to Valentine heart candies with "sweet nothings" written on them, encouraging us to listen for God's voice to speak intimately to our hearts that weekend.  When she pointed to and read one that said, "You're Mine,"  it was God Who used her hand as an arrow to point from His heart straight into mine.  "You are Mine. You belong to Me."

Isn't that what security is?

One of the sweet nothings God had spoken to me through a very broken part of my life was from Zechariah 2:8b, "for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye."

The teacher shared the verse she had been given upon her arrival that weekend, a verse that was very personal to her. "He found him in a desert land, And in the wasteland, a howling in the wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of his eye." Deut. 32:10 
How sweet that the LORD would share that verse with me, too; another "apple of his eye" verse.  It was meaningful to me because it showed me how personally He cares for us.

The LORD allowed me to sift through my emotions.  There was healing to be done.  The soil of my heart was being dug up and tilled.  I woke up sobbing the next morning...embarrassed, and praying I wouldn't wake my room mates.  I took a shower and walked outside.  The beautiful breeze brought to my mind "Heaven's Dream" and sounded like beach waves as I closed my eyes and listened.  It was quiet and I was alone (double bonus,) so I took my bible, notebook and flashlight and spent some time with Him in His word.  He took me to verse after verse, chapter after chapter affirming me and ministering safety as His presence filled my heart. 

Psalm 17 
 Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.

You have tested my heart;
You have visited me in the night;
You have tried me and have found nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
Concerning the works of men,
By the word of Your lips,
I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.
Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.
Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,
O You who save those who trust in You
From those who rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye;

 Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
From the wicked who oppress me,
From my deadly enemies who surround me.

15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

In the very first verse He gave me that morning, He showed me He understood exactly where I was, who I was, and what I was going through.  And He told me my vindication is found in His presence and assured me He would keep me, for the third time that weekend, as the apple of His eye. 

 Psalm 18 

 I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

When I read verses 16-19, He reminded me of a dream He gave me years ago.  

In that dream, my husband and I had stopped in to eat at a bar/restaurant while we were on vacation.  We were talking about the Lord with a man who was working there.  Some people from our fellowship came in and told us we shouldn't be doing that there. After awhile we left and the next thing I knew, we were on a boat.  I saw a huge wave coming (a massive storm was headed our way) and I knew there was no way we would survive it.  But then I was lifted above the clouds, watching everything below grow smaller and smaller as I was shown the bigger picture.  What I remember most clearly was the amazing, peaceful presence I felt with me.  I knew God had lifted me out and above the impending danger.  I knew He was literally with me, behind me.

16 He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
19 He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.

He delivered me because He delighted in me? Who am I, that He would think about me?  How can I ever even begin to understand that?

 25 With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
26 With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
27 For You will save the humble people,
But will bring down haughty looks.

28 For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
29 For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.
30 As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

He assured me, "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows." Ex. 3:7

Psalm 9
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble.
10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;  For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

He sees me as blameless, not because of my own perfection (because that can never be on this side of eternity) but because of His work in me. He knew *exactly* what I was going though. He saw it all. Every part of it.  And still, He chose me, loved me, and sheltered me.

"The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him, Who shelters him all the day long, And he shall dwell between His shoulders." -Deut. 33:12

Is there any place safer than that? *sigh*

Then He reminded me of Moses.  God had told Moses to take His people to the promised land, that He would send an angel before them but that He wouldn't go with them because they were being stubborn and rebellious.

12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”
18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses realized if God's presence didn't go with then, then he didn't want to go at all.  And the LORD granted him that request, assuring him he'd found grace in His sight and that the LORD knew him by name.  Moses wanted to see the face of the One Who knew him so well, but knowing that would kill him, God generously offered, "Come over here by Me, stand on the rock, and I'll cover you with my hand.  I'll pass by and you can see the trail of My glory." 

He showed me I'd found grace in His sight.  He was my safe place.  Him.  And He doesn't change!  He still does that with us today.  "LORD, I want to know You.  I want to see Your face." So we stand on the Rock, Jesus, and find all our safety and salvation in Him.  One day we will wake in His Presence and see Him face to face and not die because we are hidden in Christ.  How great are the precious promises He's given us!  

It's all found in Him.

It's all about His Presence.

How's your heart?  Is it hurting? Angry? Broken? Betrayed? Accused? Forgotten? Proud? Numb? Shattered?

Everything you need is found in His presence.

Go to Him.

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