The Presence of God

I’m once again attempting to read the whole Bible through in a year as part of my daily devotions. It’s a yearly goal. Sometimes it gets done, sometimes it doesn’t. This year I’ve been inspired by Melissa Kruger to take on this program which allows for the weekends off. If you’d like to join in it’s not too late!

Today’s reading was from Genesis 28-29 and Mark 11. I found it interesting how they dovetailed each other.

In Genesis 28 Jacob, on his way to find a wife, has a vision from the Lord while he is sleeping. This vision is essentially God promising Jacob that he will continue the line of Abraham. After this vision Jacob wakes up and realises that God is present. He wakes and says:

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

As a result Jacob builds a pillar of stone in honour of the Lord and makes a vow to Him.

In Mark 11 Jesus enters Jerusalem with much fanfare. He is praised and honoured and arrives on the back of a donkey. He makes his way around the city and heads to the Temple, the place where God is supposedly residing. Here he comes upon business activities that are unbecoming for a place of worship. He clears the Temple Courts and curses them.

jesus-cleansing-temple.jpg

As I read these two passages side by side this afternoon I was struck by the reality of God’s presence in the world. In one God comes through a vision to Jacob and by the time the first century rolls around there is a temple representing the presence of God among the people.

But with the arrival of Jesus these things become redundant.

We may still have visions and we may still have places of worship representing God’s presence but it is the presence of Jesus that brings the presence of God to us. For it is Jesus who is the True Presence, he is the one who is the reality of God in the world.

We celebrate this every Christmas when we remember how God entered the world as a baby. We remember every Easter the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross so that we may know the presence of God in our lives. And we live each day knowing God is present with us through His Spirit.

What a wonderful encouragement for us to know that the very presence of God is with us wherever we are in the world!

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