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The Presence of God

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What was there about David, that made him a man after God's own heart?! (ANSWER: His hunger for God's presence in his life!)

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So, tomorrow, something is going to happen, that for most all of us, will be a historical event in our life times. Something that will not happen again, like this, for nearly another 100 years! So here is your multiple choice question to see if you know what is going on:

Tomorrow, August 21, 2017, beginning at 12:02 pm (here in Crossville, TN), an event is going to occur across this nation that hasn’t taken place in the US from coast to coast since, June 8, 1918. This event is:
The Democrat and Republican parties are going to set aside all differences and actually WORK TOGETHER for the good of our country!
Another conference in the NCAA is going to actually pose a threat to the SEC in football this year!
A Total Solar Eclipse is going to take place across the United States.
Elvis is going to come out of retirement and do a major worldwide tour starting in the US!
(SHOW PICTURE) There are many people who are asking about this event and if it means something significant is about to happen, that is, is there some eschatological/Biblical significance to this total solar eclipse?
To that, I will say with a full assurance and confidence, YES, most definitely, it means something of significance!
It means that the same God who spoke the earth, the moon and the sun into existence, thousands of years ago, is still in control and that the orbital pattern that He put these celestial bodies upon, has not changed. It is predictable and accurate to the point to where about 99 years ago, we knew when the next one would be occurring and was predicted and it is happening tomorrow, the same exact way again!
I do find it interesting that NASA has reported that every year, the moon moves about 3.8 centimeters (1.5 inches) farther away from Earth. So, what does that mean? Well, a paper that was published by NASA predicts total solar eclipses will end in about 563 million years, due to this movement!
Anyway, moving on to today’s lesson!

I have always been completely fascinated by the great king David and his amazing life. I have shared with many of you over the last few years about my fascination with his story found within the word of God.

David and his tenacity, his strength, his passion were off the charts in comparison to his contemporaries.
Everyone and anyone who has ever been in church for very long and even outside of the church, has probably heard the amazing story of little David slaying the great warring giant known as Goliath, with just a sling and a stone!
But beyond this one story, there lies something else to this great man that goes beyond what many if not most people understand in the world today!
David was not just a shepherd and a skilled hunter with his sling, there was more to this young lad than just bravery above most in his age and time, he was not just the second king of Israel, he was not just a poet and song writer, he was more than a worshipper and he was more than a prophet of God.
There was something about David that captured the eyes of Yahweh. For, as the Bible tells us, the eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
David and his heart were found to be committed to the God of Israel and because of this, God chose him to be placed upon the throne as the next king over Israel!
However, it goes much deeper than that, as to what God saw in that young man and it is this very thing that I am mentioning to you today, as a reference point for our own relationship with the Lord!

In and also . we see the same description for David that God gave and that I will read right now, as it found in , “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.

1 Samuel 13:14 NLT
But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
So, is that it, the fact that David was willing to listen to and do God’s will? Is that what made him a man after God’s own heart?
I believe that the description, the title, “A man after God’s own heart” and the willingness of David to follow God’s will, is the outward working of something much deeper within David and in fact the very thing that drew God’s eyes towards David to begin with!
But what was it about David that made him different than his other brothers and his father and their household? Why was David chosen above other more astute servants in the tabernacle, or someone more prominent as we read of in the description of the first chosen king over Israel, Saul. ,
1 Samuel 9:1–2 NLT
There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin. His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.
Look at who God chose as the first king of Israel: a prominent wealthy young man, who was the best looking man in the land and tall in stature well as status.
Think about it guys, if you were the best looking man in the nation (hands down), you had money and status and then you were made the US President, how would you feel?
Now there is more to the whole process of Saul becoming the first king or ruler over Israel, but something that I want to mention here is the way in which God elects Saul versus the way that David is chosen.
In , we read
1 Samuel 9:15–16 ESV
Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.”
1 Samuel 9:15–16 ESV
Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.”
1 Samuel 16:1 NLT
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
Note the verbiage that God uses about the election of Saul, “you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel”.
I Samuel 16
The word used here in the Hebrew for prince is, nā·ḡîḏ, and it means, a leader, a ruler, a prince.
The other thing about the choosing of Saul by God, was the way that God specifically chose to relate Saul’s title to Himself, “prince over MY PEOPLE Israel”.
OK, so now let’s flash forward a few chapters and see how David is chosen by God.
Let’s read ,
1 Samuel 16:1–2 NLT
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” “Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord.
Pay close attention to what God says here to Samuel. “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem.”
Israel leading up to all of this, in , had demanded of Samuel a king to rule over them, like all of the other nations had. (How many of you know, that wanting what all of the other people have, is not the best choice?!)
Samuel, after having spoken with Yahweh about the matter, warns the people about what would happen if God allowed them a king: ,
1 Samuel 8:10–20 NLT
So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.” But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”
We want to be like the nations around us”! This problem stems from the early part of the Bible and all the way to the end in Revelation!
When your desire is to be like the world around you and this is what you choose for your covering, there will always be repercussions!
It was never God’s plan for men to have another man serve as king over them; God was to be their king. (However, God gave them the right and freedom of choice and with that choice, the problems that would follow after!)
So, back to what God said to Samuel and His rejecting Saul as king over Israel. Remember, God said that Samuel was to anoint Saul as what?
Prince over God’s people, Israel. (God didn’t says to Samuel anoint Saul as My king over Israel, but rather, anoint him as prince over my people Israel!
Now, we turn back to passage where god tells Samuel, stop your belly aching and get over Saul, “I have REJECTED him as king of Israel”!
God is saying, this man that I appointed to be a ruler over my people, I am officially telling you now, I have rejected him as to what the people wanted, A KING!
At this moment, God then tells Samuel the following, “for I have provided for Myself a king”.
Not a prince, a “nā·ḡîḏ”, but rather, a king, a “mě·lěḵ”. Melek in Hebrew means, A KING!
And not a king over my people Israel, as God has appointed Saul, but rather, a king for MYSELF, is what God said of David!
God is saying, in a sense, the people, out of their heard hearted and sinful ways, demanded a king and I provided someone to rule over them; not for me, but by me!
Now, God says to Samuel, I have hand picked a king for myself; someone who is not the popularity vote based on looks and money and notoriety (like the world looks for).
This one that I have picked, God is saying, has a heart that is already desiring Me and is attuned to Me!

So, God chose David, purposefully and with a special calling, but what was it within David, that drew God and His divine favor over the young man?

It was more than just David had reverential fear and respect of God (Samuel had that). It was more than just saying that David had love for God (there were probably many that say they loved God and to a certain limit, they did!)
This same thing goes for today, as Christians and the way that we walk with the Lord; there are many who fear God and many who have love for God. However, as we are about to look at all the way back to the Old Testament and coming forward to Jesus, this mentality and heart of “having a love” for God, was never what was required of us!
It goes to a MUCH DEEPER level than that!
Did any of you guys ever see the movie, City Slickers? The main gist of the movie is about 3 friends who pay to go to a dude ranch for an old fashioned cattle drive and in the process they try to recapture some aspects of their lives that they lost in the hustle and bustle of their every day, normal (worldly) lives. The foreman, a rough and tough old fashioned cowboy, who is forever scaring them, because of his toughness, is finally given the chance to just talk with the main character in one scene. In this scene, the hardened old cowboy, asks the younger man, “Do you know what the meaning of life is”, at which the younger man replies, “No, what is it?”
The older cowboy holds up his index finger and says, “This!” To which the younger man says, “Your finger is the answer?”
The older cowboy tells him that the finger represents “the one thing”; that is the meaning of life, the “one thing!”
The young man says, “That’s great, but what is the one thing?”
The older cowboy says, “That’s what you have to figure out. You figure that out and everything else won’t mean squat!”
That is what I am talking about with David and what made him different and set apart in the eyes of almighty God; THAT ONE THING!
Turn with me to the book of ,
Psalm 27:1–6 NLT
The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.
“The ONE THING I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.”
The ONE THING that set David apart was his desire to be in the presence of the Lord! And this wasn’t a figurative thing; David desired to truly in and around God’s presence at ALL times.
This was before any concept of Holy Spirit dwelling within us as the living temples of almighty God ever existed!
All David knew was that God’s divine presence was in and around the tabernacle and with the Ark of the Covenant.
This is obvious with the account of David preparing a special place for the Ark and then bringing it back into Jerusalem! David was so ecstatic to have the presence of God within their midst that he had had priests to go before the Ark and praise and thank and invoke the presence of the Lord, all while others were playing instruments and leading praise to God.
All the while, David was so enraptured and happy with God’s presence coming into their city (and around him at all times) that David was passionately dancing before the Lord and singing!
Listen to one line from the song of praise that David sang before the Lord as the Ark was being brought back in, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
You see, to David it was more than just a command given, or a religious practice. To him, it was literally the sustaining and health of his soul and life! Listen to just a few of his Psalms about the presence of the Lord:
Psalm 16:11 ESV
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 41:11–13 NLT
I know you are pleased with me, for you have not let my enemies triumph over me. You have preserved my life because I am innocent; you have brought me into your presence forever. Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!
Psalm 95:2–3 ESV
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Even, when it came to David receiving chastisement from God for his sin, (we are talking about SINS, as in adultery and murder), David still praised and sought the pure and sustaining presence of God. ,
Psalm 51:10–12 NLT
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

As we have been given the pure presence of Holy Spirit dwelling within us, as the living, breathing temples of almighty God, we have every reason to shout and proclaim from the rooftops the never ending joy and strength of God’s PRESENCE in our lives!

The question is, what do we do with His Spirit within us? Do we guard and cherish and crave more of it, as David did, or, when we become more like Jonah when God came to him and asked him to go to Nineveh?
Jonah 1:3 ESV
But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
Does this sound any way like any of us here today? I mean, if many of us here were honest, have we felt inclined or Spirit led to do something for God and instead, we run the opposite direction from His will and His presence?
Many Christians in this country today say that they desire to follow the Lord and be His servants, His disciples, but how desperate are you for His presence in your life?
A young man ran after Socrates, calling, “Socrates, Socrates, can I be your disciple?” Socrates ignored him and walked out into the water. The man followed him and repeated the question. Socrates turned and without a word grabbed the young man and dunked him under the water and held him down until he knew that he couldn’t take it any longer. The man came up gasping for air. Socrates replied, “When you desire the truth as much as you seek air, you can be my disciple.”
How much do we truly desire His presence in our lives? Do we even really feel plagued and troubled by the sin in our lives, or do we tend to just categorize the sins and only feel troubled by the larger ones?
When Charles Spurgeon was preaching on and the situation of David’s sin with murder and adultery, he commented on remorseful David was. He also mentioned that the large sins sometimes startle many of us into confession and repentance and yet the small, “LESSER” sins just slowly mount up! He said that we become like the frog in the warm water, that is gradually heated to boiling point and then it dies from complacency.
Spurgeon said this about the little sins, that he compared to white ants and the big sins, as compared to a lion, he said, ““White ants will devour a carcass as surely and as speedily as a lion.”
In other words, they may be little, but they can devour and strip a dead carcass as completely as a large lion can!

Others in the Bible recognized the necessity of God’s presence; even as Moses said before they were heading into the promise land, "If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”

It is the Psalmist of that wrote of the value of being in the presence of God,
Psalm 84:10 NLT
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
And these still do not capture the full and immense desire that David had to be COMPLETELY and TOTALLY in the PRESENCE of God, at all times, forever!
We need to realize that God requires us to seek His presence with ALL of our hearts, if we want to truly find His presence in our lives!
, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with ALL your heart.” (Halfheartedly seeking God is not seeking God and He is not DRAWN to you by this; we must seek Him with ALL OF OUR HEART!)
, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, IF you search after him with ALL your heart and with all your soul.”)
And again in , “I love those who love Me; And those who DILIGENTLY seek Me will find Me.”
Jesus said the same thing in terms of seeking and following after Him in our walk, where He told of the parable of the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl that was found. In both cases, the person that found each one, sold everything that they had and bought the field and bought the pearl.
The point being that when we finally find the treasure of the Kingdom of God and we finally find the relationship we can have with Jesus and His Father through the indwelling of Holy Spirit, we should make His presence preeminent; highly treasured and esteemed greater than ANYTHING else in this life!
The reality of our pursuit and relationship with God is that He is waiting for us to come after Him totally and completely so that He can pour out Himself into us in such a way that we can’t imagine!
David was not titled a “man after God’s own heart”, because of casual interest, a convenience based relationship, he didn’t just look for God’s presence when things were going badly and he didn’t just thank God when God brought him out of the bad situations!
David was doing the very thing that God desires of all of us, (GOD’S OWN HEART FOR US), David was seeking an intimate relationship with his creator in all ways of his life.
Look at , when David is on the run and in the wilderness of Judah, (possibly on the run from his own son, Absalom, who was looking to kill him.
Look at what David was saying here: Read ,
Psalm 63:1–8 NLT
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.
As David was now removed from the presence of the tabernacle and the Ark, (the places that he knew God’s presence to reside in the most complete way that man could understand at that time), David was broken. He missed and longed for being back in the presence of God; being as close to God as he could possibly be!
He wasn’t crying out for revenge and begging for his riches and power to be reinstated to him! No, David was thirsty and hungry for the ONE THING that completed his own soul, the PRESENCE OF GOD!
So many of us in our lives today, when things go bad enough, will cry out and ask, “Where are you God?”
We are much like Job who asked, “If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his court.”
The simple truth is this; God hasn’t gone anywhere. HE has not changed mailing addresses, He is still right here waiting on you and I to come after His presence, completely and totally.
We have the social media problem, that if we post a comment to Him and He doesn’t re-post quickly, that He is no longer online and we are alone!
He is waiting for you and I to look for and find that ONE THING that matters most in our lives here on earth; HIS PRESENCE!
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