Acts 2:25-28 For David says in regard to Him, I saw the Lord constantly before me, for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken or overthrown or cast down [from my secure and happy state]. Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted exceedingly; moreover, my flesh also will dwell in hope [will encamp, pitch its tent, and dwell in hope in anticipation of the resurrection]. For You will not abandon my soul, leaving it helpless in Hades (the state of departed spirits), nor let Your Holy One know decay or see destruction [of the body after death]. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will enrapture me [diffusing my soul with joy] with and in Your presence.
This scripture refers to David when speaking prophetically of the Lord Jesus when he says that he saw the Lord constantly before me. What a beautiful picture of trust! Can you say that you see the Lord constantly before you? Or is your constant image that of fear of what might happen in the future? He said that picture that He placed before Him is what caused Him to not be shaken or overthrown or cast down from His secure and happy state.
You know, some of the things that we see happening around us right now may have a tendency to cause us to be shaken from our security. It would be easy to focus on the impossibility of our world to ever change; but this scripture goes on to give us the anchor that we need to use to hold us in stability as we wait in constant anticipation of the Resurrection or the return of the Lord. That key is to encamp or dwell in hope in anticipation of what God is going to do in the lives of His children. To dwell in the hope that God is in control of the things that we see as enemies of our future security and happiness.
He goes on to say that the reason that Jesus could hope in anticipation of not being left in that helpless state is that He knew that God would not abandon Him. Do you rest in the assurance that God will not abandon you or leave you in a state of destruction?
“You will enrapture me [diffusing my soul with joy] with and in Your presence.”
You see the key to living in a state of security when it seems that all around you is falling down is to allow God to enrapture you with His joy with and in His presence.
Back in the 17th century there was a Frenchman who served as a cook in a monastery. His name was Nicholas Herman, or otherwise known as Brother Lawrence. He wrote a book called, “The Practice of the Presence of God”. In it he described how he wanted to live every moment with an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and how that changed his life. He was consumed with love for God and wanted to perform every task, no matter how insignificant, purely for the love of God. He lived in God’s presence, aware of Him in every activity of life and so was enraptured with the joy of the Lord that he had a calm assurance that God was with him through every activity of his life, both the good and the bad.
“The time of busyness does not differ with me from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were on my knees.” ~ Brother Lawrence
Can you say, as Brother Lawrence said, that you possess God in as great a tranquility whether you are experiencing the noise and clatter of things that try to shake you as you do when you are on your knees in prayer?
Paul said it this way when speaking of his trials and persecutions in Acts 20:24:
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself,….”
Paul later went on to say to Timothy when encouraging him to preach the word, in season and out, that even though you experience adversity and people come against you, the key to his success was in the Lord standing with him and strengthening him.
2 Timothy 4:16-18 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
Paul knew the presence of God even when everyone else forsook him. He knew that God was right there in the midst of the trouble to strengthen him and deliver him. He had the calm assurance that the Lord would deliver him from the evil work that was trying to destroy him and that He would preserve him for His heavenly kingdom. That calm assurance came from practicing the presence of God in every moment of every one of Paul’s days.
Stephen is another one that practiced the presence of God. His story is found in Acts 7:54-60:
When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said. “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
If you were standing before a group of terrorists that were intent on taking your life could you say as Stephen said “Lord, do not charge them with this sin”? The key to Stephen handing the crowd coming against him and stoning him is found in verse 55: “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit”. You become filled with the Holy Spirit as you receive Him in His fullness initially through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but also through your daily communion with Him. By practicing His presence you receive a fresh infilling on a moment by moment basis. Stephen, even while being stoned, was able to gaze into the heavenlies and see the Son of Man, Jesus, standing at the right hand of God. I think it’s interesting that this scripture pictures Jesus standing when in Mark 14:62 Jesus, Himself, said that they would see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, or God. He said again in Luke 22:69:
“Hereafter the Son of man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
And yet, Stephen saw Him standing at the right hand of God. I believe that when Stephen stood in faith for the truth of God and was stoned for it that he got the attention of the Son of God so strongly that Jesus stood up on Stephen’s behalf. He stood to attention to receive Stephen into the presence of God as he was persecuted and stoned for his faith. You can be assured that if He did that for Stephen that He will do it for any one of His children who faithfully stand in their faith while being persecuted!
Paul told Timothy that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” But even in the midst of his own persecution he said, “And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” (2 Timothy 3:11, 12)
Regardless of whether we suffer persecution in the days ahead of us or simply experience the challenges of life, the key to us living in peace and security within ourselves is in practicing the presence of God; living a lifestyle of being constant in prayer. We can know that God is with us and will deliver us by either strengthening us through the persecution or removing us from it.
Father, I thank You for equipping us through Your presence to meet any challenge that might lay before us. Thank You for the fullness of joy that comes as we draw near to You. May we practice that presence of God every moment of every day that we might be able to stand firm in faith when we are challenged or persecuted for our faith. Thank You for fully equipping us to be victorious throughout all of life’s tribulations. Father, I pray for my friends today who may be struggling with insecurities. Father, I pray that they will draw near to You and experience Your presence as a blanket of warmth and reality around them. Reveal Yourself to them at this difficult time in their lives, Father. Show them Your constant love that is around them to comfort and strengthen them. Thank You for making Yourself real to them through the presence of Your Spirit within. May we each be strong in You, Lord, for whatever may lay ahead of us. May we not give up and quit in our fighting the good fight of faith! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.