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Last night I felt it was time for me to get serious about this matter of prayer. I seem  to have become ambivalent when it comes to this foundational aspect of the Christian life. . I’ve mentioned it a few times on our journey but it has been less than inspiring stuff. Yesterday saw the beginning of what I had hoped would be a fresh start.  But it turned out that the “”Promise of His Presence” was not honoured.  He didn’t show. (I can’t believe that I said that! I know better than that!)

 “The Promise of His Absence” might be a better and more accurate book title. (No, I don’t believe that either!)

We still hold to the truth that is outlined in Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” In the original Greek this statement is a triple negative. Someone wants us to really believe that promise!

However, it would seem that God can and, where necessary, does withdraw the sense of His presence.  

Job certainly had that experience,

  “If only I knew where to find him; If only I could go to his dwelling’ But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him.  When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.  But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold”. Job 23:3-16 (NIV)

There are many examples of such “withdrawals” in Scripture. Sometimes the sense of God’s absence is the result of sin’s presence.  Sometimes it is designed to stretch and deepen a person’s faith.

 Consider three further examples of this spiritual reality.

SAMSON
“Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. (Judges 16:20 (NIV).

Although I do not believe that it is possible for we, who live under the New Covenant, to lose the presence of the Holy Spirit, this verse still sends a shiver up my spine. It was bad enough that Samson had lost the presence Holy Spirit. What is more ominous is that he didn’t realise that loss.

KING DAVID

 David had witnessed the degradation of King Saul’s relationship with God and the departure process in the life of Saul and, when confronted with his own sin (the murder of Uriah and adultery with Bathsheba, both of which constituted abuse of kingly power) David cried out in his repentance and confession of sin, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:11 (NIV)

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

I found the third example quite confronting, even more challenging than Samson.  The Lord Jesus Christ.  Yes, it comes as a bit of a shock. Yet the cross is where Jesus became sin so that he could pay the penalty for you and me. It was not any sin on his part that had Him cry out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me? He uttered that cry on our behalf so that we never have to.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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