Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Is He or Isn’t He?

Meditation for the week of January 15, 2012

Genesis 28:16  Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."
Luke 2:44  but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

Jacob was fleeing from his brother Esau who had every reason to be mad at Jacob.  Jacob had deceived his father into blessing him instead of Esau.  Esau had lost the position associated with the firstborn because of his own foolishness and now he had lost the blessing that went with it.  Esau was hot and Jacob was a deceiver.  But out alone at night when Jacob least expected it, the Lord appeared to Him and spoke to him.  Jacob was awestruck because he realized He had been in the presence of the Lord.

In Luke, the Lord had gone with his parents to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Passover.  On the way home, the Lord stayed behind and it took about a day for his parents to realize that he was not with them even though they SUPPOSED that He was.

We have a tendency to think that the Lord is only present and communing with us at set times in set places.  Sometimes we fail to realize that the Lord is present even when He is.  My friends seem to experience His presence when hunting or fishing.  Many of us have experienced his presence in times of great stress.  It may have been in sickness or at a funeral.  Normally we do not experience the presence of the Lord at a boisterous party.  We are more likely to hear Him speak and experience His presence when things are quiet. Often it is when our hearts are breaking.  That seems to be why the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 7:2 says that it is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting.

However, Jacob says that the place where he met the Lord was the House of God (Bethel).  Thus, it was a place where God was dwelling.  The church that meets in a particular place to worship and serve the Lord is one of the places where God dwells in our day.  We often quote Matthew 18:20 and assume that if two or three Christians are together that the Lord is in their presence in some sense.  However, what the verse is really saying is, “When two or three of you are doing what I ask you to do the way I ask you to do it, I will honor the decisions you make and the actions you take.”  That is what doing something “in the Lord’s name” really means.  Just having Christians together is not enough to know that we have the Lord with us.  We must be letting Him direct the meeting.  Scripture tells us that there are times when that isn’t true.  The Lord was outside of the door to the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:20).

I wonder how many times we meet together in church meetings when the Lord is really not there?  Just having an emotional experience does not mean that He is there.  But we know that He always desires to be there and that he will be there if we do what He wants us to do HIS WAY.  I am concerned because most people that I talk to today, go to the church that pleases them.  But we need to ask if the church is pleasing the Lord.  Elders are going to be held accountable in a special way for this, but all of us need to find out how the Lord designed HIS dwelling place so that we can experience the joy of having Him present.  It would be a shame to find out that we SUPPOSED Him to be present when He was really someplace else and not with us at all. 

I would hope that we wouldn’t always have to meet the Lord unexpectedly like Jacob did.  That seemed to be an experience that scared him to some degree.  However, we won’t be meeting the Lord in meetings of the church like we should unless we make sure we are doing things His way and not our way.

Bruce Collins

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