The Presence of the Lord

This week we are going to be working on a song that Kurt Carr composed and Byron Cage recorded called “The Presence of the Lord is Here.” It is a very exciting song celebrating the way that the Lord is actively present in worship when Christians meet together. It is not a complicated song lyrically, but it is a great way to begin a worship service.
As I was looking for a passage to fit in the call to worship, I thought I might pull out my concordance and find some scripture to tie into this song that would describe what it means to be in the presence of the Lord. There are several passages in the Old Testament that use this phrase, and so here are some observations based on those passages.
The Presence of the Lord means Judgment.
In Leviticus 9, Moses and Aaron presented a sacrifice to the Lord to atone for the sins of the people, and the scripture says that “fire came out from the presence of the Lord” and consumed the offering. In the next chapter, Aaron’s sons presented “unauthorized fire” to the Lord and the same fire came out and consumed them. Yahweh is holy, holy, holy so when we come into his presence our sin is exposed and his righteous judgment is on us.
The Presence of the Lord means Sanctuary.
In Deuteronomy 12, the Moses shares the law, which reveals to the Israelites how they are to worship the one true God. He provides the means for them to approach this holy God without receiving the judgment they deserve. After they have presented all the offerings and sacrifices, it says that “there, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.” There is comfort and security in the gracious embrace of our Father.
The Presence of the Lord means Covenant
In 2 Kings 23, Josiah, the King of Judah, reads the word of God and renews the covenant in the Presence of the Lord. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of ‘covenant’, it is a gracious promise and contract that the Lord makes with his people. There are other references in the OT of people taking vows and making commitments in the presence of the Lord. In his presence, we remember his covenants and renew our commitments.
But in the gospels, you see how the Lord fulfills all of these in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is the Word made flesh; his incarnation meant that the presence of the Lord was here on earth walking among us. Jesus embodies all the aspects of the Lord’s presence. By giving his life as a sacrifice, Jesus took upon himself the judgment that we deserved. He was the ultimate sacrifice consumed by the Lord’s holiness and exhausting the Lord’s wrath. By receiving that judgment, Jesus could become the sanctuary for our souls. When we abide in him, the grace of God is poured out on us giving comfort and security from the forces of darkness in our own heart as well as in the world. Jesus fulfilled all the covenants that were made with humans by keeping the entire law, defeating Satan, and establishing his eternal throne.
So the presence of the Lord is Jesus.

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  1. #1 by Chris Hatch on September 22, 2005 - 10:08 pm

    Kirk,
    I’m 7500 ft up in the CO mountains listening to “Only One” at MTI (www.mti.org). Wish so much I could be worshiping with you guys this week. Thanks for your helpful/insightful thoughts on entering into the presence of the Lord.
    Keep the faith!
    grace,
    Chris

  2. #2 by Rinnie on September 27, 2005 - 7:51 am

    Kirk – thanks for your comments on this. I especially appreciated your comment that the presence of the Lord saves us not only from the forces of darkness in the world but also in our own hearts.

  3. #3 by Lewis DeMoss on October 20, 2005 - 9:33 pm

    Last week I was in Houston and visited Lakewood Church, pastor Joel Osteen. The choir sang the song “The Presence of the Lord is Here”. It was wonderful. I felt like I was in heaven. I was sitting down and I had to stand up and clap to the beat of the music. Those around me did too. It was such a powerful moment. Blessings to you and your church.

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