Text: “My soul followeth (follows, and continues to follow) hard after Thee: Thy right hand upholdeth (upholds, and continues to uphold) me.”
“Follow peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
Good morning, early-pursuing Christian! Maturity of faith has taught you and me that the Lord’s Presence is a vital, totally essential, necessity, if you are to claim to be a true and genuine follower of the risen Christ Jesus – with all such attendant hindrances and oppositions encountered daily, as you seek to earnestly and effectively serve the Lord.
Seeing and having experienced many of the dangers salt-bearing Christians face continually – you have learned, as I have, the necessity of seeking God’s face early, and pursuing hard after His Presence in a pro-active manner.
God’s Holy Presence in close fellowship, is the deepest desire of the genuine Spirit-born Christian believer. Oh the wondrous love of Almighty Lord God!
“As a bird sheltered in the rich foliage from the heat of the sun sings its merry notes; so he celebrates his songs of praise from the shadow of the wings of God.” (Augustus F. Tholuck1799-1877)
Human relationships give us Christians something of an instructive insight into our Spiritual relationship with Almighty Lord God Jehovah. In Christ Jesus, and through Christ Jesus, and in the mysterious power of God the Holy Ghost, we experience the Divine Presence as a Spiritual intermingling of what is merely human and what is wondrously Divine and Holy; it is an experience that mere words could never come near expressing in full; a Divine gift of sheer bliss, that only the born again soul can experience in Christ Jesus. Thinking more profoundly of such an intimate experience with the Creator Lord God of Heaven and earth – would melt the mind with soul-gratitude and worshipful love for the Lord.
God’s Presence in Heaven will be an experience that is in every way ‘out of this world’!
“…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy Presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Verse 8. “My soul followeth hard after Thee. This is the language of a good man in his worst frames; for when he has lost his nearness to God, he will be uneasy till he has again obtained it and will follow after it with all his might. It is also his language in his best frames; for when he knows and enjoys most of God he wants to know and enjoy more. Not earth nor Heaven merely is the object of pursuit, but God Himself. (Condensed from Benjamin Beddome’s Sermon, ‘The Christian’s Pursuit’ in ‘Short Discourses' 1717-1795)
The human experience we have of the rules of intimacy with one’s spouse holds many lesser, yet most relevant, hints for a close, or closer, relationship with our Holy Lord God.
1. Human intimacy requires a profound and sincere two-way relationship.
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet (fit) for him…And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:18; 22-24)
“Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye MUST be born again.” (John 3:3-8)
2. Both humans interacting must be in good speaking terms (fellowship) with each other.
“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
3. Intimacy is more probable when relations are close and mutually pleasing.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he/she that cometh to God must believe that He is (exists), and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
4. Wronged spouses cannot react with right intimacy – sin separates us from God.
“Take heed to yourselves: if they brother (or spouse) trespass against thee, rebuke him/her; and if he/she repent, forgive him/her. And if he/she trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him/her.” (Luke 17:3-4)
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
“If we confess our sins, He (the Lord) is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Intimate fellowship with God can be promptly resumed, when we seek His forgiveness early!
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness (intimacy with God); that the bones which Thou has broken may rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right (constant) spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy Presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy (intimacy) of Thy Salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” (Psalm 51:7012)
“The primary sense is agglutinavit, to glue together; from thence it signifies figuratively to associate, to adhere to, to be united with; and particularly to be firmly united with strong affection. ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife’; properly, be closely united and compacted with his wife with the most permanent affection.” (Samuel Chandler 1693-1766)
Early pursuing the love of Christ brings with it a deep desire to know the Lord in a most intimately Spiritual manner. My next lesson will deal further with this wonderful desire.
Thought: We fellowship with God in prayer – the Lord fellowships with us in His Word. This is the new nature of a true and genuine soul converted to Christ Jesus.