Snapshots: Day 186
The Snapshot: “She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” (1 Sam 4:22) 1 Samuel has a number of significant names in it. Ichabod, meaning the glory has departed, is one of them. There is nothing worse than a group of people purporting to be God’s people but who do not have the presence of God with them (which happens when there is unbelief and disobedience). The Pharisees used words, rituals, rules, and personal self-esteem to cover up the fact that there had been no sign of God or word from God for four hundred years. And then came John saying, “He’s coming, prepare the way,” but they rejected him. May we not do that.
Further Consideration: The ‘glory of the Lord’ basically refers to the living presence of God but sometimes it referred to the literal brightness that was visible, indicating God’s presence, e.g. Ex 24:16,17 on Mount Sinai, Ex 40:34 filling the Tabernacle, 2 Chron 5:14 filling the Temple.
Many years later, prior to the Exile, Ezekiel would see the glory of the Lord gradually leaving the Temple – Ezek 9:3, 10:4,18,19, 11:23, and yet eventually returning to it – Ezek 43:2-5, 44:4. It was an amazing picture of the Lord’s presence leaving because of the ongoing, intransigent sin of the people, but then the future possibility of Him returning. We might assume this latter returning occurred when the Son of God himself walked into the Temple centuries later.
But the visible presence is relatively rare and in Samuel’s early days, this reference was a more general reference to the presence of the Lord that was assumed went with the ark.
Now here is the difficult question: would we know if the presence of the Lord is with us or not? How do you discern the presence of the Lord? History suggests it is when there is mighty conviction of sin that produces mass repentance. That is what we call revival. But then in more recent decades, in times of renewal the power of the Lord and the revelation of the Lord clearly reveal His presence, His glory. When salvation comes, when healings and deliverances occur, when miracles occur (all as in Jesus’ ministry) it is a clear evidence of the presence and glory of the Lord among His people. But how often – if ever – do we see these things in most of the Church today? Instead we are content with planned services, that rely simply on the minds of men and women. Services are more performances, almost a spectator sport. Where is the power and presence of the Lord? Where is the glory of the Lord? If you can say you see these things in your church, then ignore this study, but if you can’t, then it is a time for repentance and seeking the Lord. If we are honest, signs of the glorious presence of the Lord in our midst are rare. Please pray.
(OK we’ll pause the snapshots for a week of a new series)