Here are my teaching notes for fellowship tonight. Let’s dedicate 2011 to be a year where Yahweh Shammah becomes a living reality in our lives and we realize no matter how difficult the circumstance, how big the trouble, how huge the problem or whateever the activity that the Lord is there. This is an excerpt from my book “The Magnificent Goodness of God and How it Will Transform Your Life.”
The sixth characteristic of the goodness of God revealed in the covenant redemptive names of Yahweh is set forth in the book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 48:35 (English Standard Version):
The circumference of the city shall be 18,000
cubits. And the name of the city from that
time on shall be, The Lord is there (Yahweh-Shammah).
The great prophet Ezekiel ends his prophecy with a declaration of the glorious future of a New Jerusalem for the children of Israel. The highest blessing conferred upon this new city was its name of Yahweh-Shammah, “the Lord is there.” Nothing compares to the presence of God as a vital living reality to God’s people. God desires earnestly to live in and dwell among His children, where he walks and talks with them, holding them, comforting them, strengthening them, and transforming them by the light of His presence.
Another prophecy of this New Jerusalem and its wonderful characteristic of the presence of God is set forth in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 21:2-5 (Amplified):
And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem,
descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed
like a bride beautified and adorned for her
Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne
and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See!
the abode of God is with men and He will live
(encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be
His people and God shall personally be with
them and be their God.
God will wipe every their from their eyes; and
death shall be no more, neither shall there be
anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor
pain anymore. For the old conditions and former
order of things has passed away.
And He Who is seated on the throne said, See!
I make all things new. Also He said, Record this,
for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible
and trustworthy) and true (genuine).
The future of the believer is branded by the presence of God in such a degree and in such fullness that the mind can hardly comprehend it. Our future is as bright as the promises of God, and He promises to be our Yahweh-Shammah throughout all eternity. No tear, no death, no anguish, no sorrow, no grief, no pain, and no mourning will exist in the new heavens and earth. Everything that ever brought a person into physical, mental, or spiritual bondage will melt away in the glorious presence of the Lord. But we do not need to wait until Christ’s return to experience and enjoy the benefits of the presence of the Lord. How comforting it is to know that the Lord is there. The Lord is not preoccupied or too busy for you. The Lord is not on an extended vacation or isolated behind a golden palace door. The Lord is there always, in tough times and good times. He will never leave us alone, never turn his back on us, and never walk away from us. He is our best friend, our loving companion, our strong protector, and our constant encourager. He is with us always, even to the end of the world, and He wants us to live and breathe the power and glory of His magnificent presence. God wants to be alive in our thinking and wants us to actively practice His presence in our daily living.
Psalm 139:1(b)-11,13-16 (Message Bible):
God…I am an open book to you; even from
a distance you know what I am thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I am never out of your sight.
You know everything I am going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there, then
up ahead and you’re there, too-your reassuring
presence coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful-I can’t take
it all in!
Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go
underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western
horizon, you’d find me in a minute-you’re already
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he sees me even in the
dark! At night, I am immersed in the light!”
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you
formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God-your breathtaking! Body and
soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-
what a creation!
You know me inside and out, you know every bone
in my body; You know exactly how I was made,
bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into
Like an open book, you watched me grow from
conception to birth; all the stages of my life were
spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I even lived
Absolutely no one knows you better than the Lord. The Lord shaped you in your mother’s womb and sculpted everything about your body and soul in breathtaking fashion. The Lord breathed into you the breath of life and has been present during every stage of your life. Yahweh-Shammah is intimately acquainted with everything about you and understands you more than a trusted friend or beloved family member. So often we think we are alone, but we are not, as the Lord is there closer than our breath. So often we think we are forsaken, but we are not, for the Lord is there, and He will never desert or abandon us. So often we are misunderstood, criticized, condemned, or betrayed, but the Lord is there and He knows and understands the burdens on our heart. The Lord wants us to talk to Him, to recognize His presence, to confide in Him, to love Him, to turn to Him, to trust Him, and to live for Him.
We can get so busy in the details of our lives that we forget Him, and we lose out on the peace and joy of practicing His presence. Do you talk to the Lord like you do to your best friend? Do you share your heart with Him about your discouragements, problems, disappointments, and triumphs? How personal, intimate, and close is your relationship with Him? The Lord desires a deep, intimate, and loving bond with you that will continue to grow and blossom each and every day. God is saying, “I am your Yahweh-Shammah, and I will always be there for you no matter what, as this is an unbreakable covenant promise of my everlasting goodness.”
The Psalmist declares some of the wonderful benefits of living life in the reality of His presence.
Psalm 16:8,9,11 (English Standard Version):
I have set the Lord always before me; because
he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole
being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
You make known to me the path of life; in
your presence is fullness of joy; at your right
hand are pleasures forevermore.
No matter what circumstance or difficulty the Psalmist faced, he set the Lord always before him as he realized God was always present to comfort and strengthen him. As he practiced the presence of God in life’s daily challenges, he was not shaken but was joyful, and rested in absolute security. God has set before you the path of life that you can walk in His glorious presence. God promises that in his presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. The word “presence” in the Hebrew is an interesting word which brings to life the dynamic truths of Yahweh-Shammah. It is the Hebrew word paniym, which means: to direct or set one’s face toward and face to face in the presence of someone. The word is used in Exodus concerning Moses and his relationship with God.
Exodus 33:11a (NIV):
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as
a man speaks with his friend.
Look at the intimacy of this Hebrew word paniym, as the Lord would speak and fellowship with Moses face to face as a close and cherished friend. To practice the presence of God in our lives means to develop an intimate face to face relationship with God. God is not simply calling us to be where He is, but He is calling us to come before His face, into His full view and before His loving gaze. God intensely desires to look into our eyes, to have us share all our thoughts, fears, problems, and heart with Him without reservation. In His presence, He wants to be our best friend, our loving Father, our soothing Comforter, and the strong shoulder to lean and rest upon. Yahweh-Shammah is not to simply be a table decoration or decorative ornament in our lives. Yahweh-Shammah is not someone we are to wind up on Sunday for an hour, and then forget about Him the rest of the week. To live each day in His presence is a loving, intense, close and intimate face to face relationship, where nothing is held back from each other. It is a vibrant, vivacious, living, and exciting bond of love that no earthly power or satanic influence can break or shatter. This is a new lifestyle for the Christian believer, as he or she must develop a deep awareness of the presence of God and draw close with their loving Father and their wonderful Lord. Nothing is more exhilarating than to practice His presence and grow in the intimacy of a face to face relationship with your Creator and Lord.
The Word of God promises two benefits from practicing the presence of God and developing this vital, living face to face relationship with God. First, your life will abound with fullness of joy, and second it will abound with pleasures forevermore. Practicing the presence of God does not give us a trickle or a little bit of joy, but fullness of joy. The word “fullness” in the Hebrew means: a satisfying abundance and to be filled to capacity. It is a joy from the inside that calms the heart, and permeates everything about us. The word “joy” is much deeper than simply happiness. Happiness is determined by external circumstances, but joy is an inner spiritual quality of complete gladness and deep seated pleasure. It is a sense of delightful well-being founded on a close and intimate relationship with the Lord and is never dependent on or shaken by circumstances. It is a godly excitement, bliss, and contentment that is rooted in our love of our Heavenly Father. This joy comes from the heart of God and rests upon His goodness and grace. The Lord is the only sure, unwavering, reliable, and unchanging source of joy. Only God is our exceeding joy, as Psalm 43:4 declares, and only God fills us with a joy so glorious that, according to I Peter 1:8, it cannot be described with words. Knowing Yahweh-Shammah brings a satisfying abundance of joy to which no earthly possession, person, or occupation can compare. To rest and abide in His presence is the most fulfilling, joyous, and peaceful experience known to mankind. Just remember and confess He is there; He never leaves you alone; He never forsakes you; He never relinquishes you; He never relaxes His tender hold upon you; He surrounds you; He covers you; He protects you, and He is always with you. The closer and deeper your fellowship is with God, the more this indescribable and satisfying joy of God will flood your soul.
“Pleasures” in the Hebrew means: delightful, lovely, sweet and beautiful things; it is like a sweet sounding musical where all the musical instruments and beautiful voices all harmonize in unison and produce a sweet and delightful sound. Pleasures are a symphony of delightful, lovely, and beautiful things that God designs especially to enrich our lives and increase our sense of wonder and celebration of Him. Pleasures from God are for the purpose of increasing our thankfulness and praise of Him and originate from His loving grace; they are a natural outflow of His goodness. God produces wonderful things in our lives and gives us the desires of our heart when we delight and trust in Him above all else.
Jude 1:24 (Amplified):
Now to Him who is able to keep you without
stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present
you unblemished (blameless and faultless) before
the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and
exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight].
(Holman Christian Standard Bible):
Now to Him who is able to protect you from
stumbling and to make you stand in the presence
of His glory, blameless and with great joy.
I Chronicles 16:11,27 (God’s Word to the Nations):
Search for the Lord and his strength. Always seek his
Splendor and majesty are in his presence. Strength and
joy are where he is.
God has enabled us to stand in the presence of His glory, unblemished and blameless with triumphant joy and ecstatic delight. We do not stand in His presence timid and fearful, but with confidence and great joy. When we stand in His presence, God is not hidden behind some curtain like the Wizard of Oz, or speaking to us from some cloud miles away. We are face to face with our Lord in the presence of His glory. Remember glory is the appearance of a person or thing that attracts attention and commands recognition. It embodies the idea of brilliance, splendor, and radiance. When the word “glory” pertains to God, it is the revelation and manifestation of the full splendor, radiance, and magnificence of everything God is and everything God represents. Glory is the manifestation of that is good in God.
What an awesome privilege to stand in the presence of God’s full splendor, radiance, and magnificence of everything He is. We bask in all of His goodness when we come in His presence, fellowship with Him and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. No wonder the Word of God exhorts us to always seek His presence. We should seek His presence as an essential necessity in our lives as it is an absolute requirement for Christian living. If you make it a number one priority to seek His presence, your life will be transformed.
But so many Christians have become accustomed to living their lives without the presence of God, and many are even afraid to get closer to God. To them, God is a distant acquaintance or a fleeting thought, not an intense, loving and confident reality. People don’t get close to God because they do not know who He is and what His wonderful, awesome, qualities are. One of the Christian’s greatest needs is to get a knowledge and understanding of God. This is essential to truly practice the presence of God, as how can you enjoy His fellowship and presence if you do not know who He is? If you think God hates you, is bothered by you, looks down on you, is too busy for you, and is unloving, angry, and unmerciful toward to you then it would be difficult to practice His presence. Who would want to?
I have written this book to enlighten your eyes to the goodness of God and increase your knowledge of God’s true nature and His character of love to His children. We must come to the Word of God, the Bible, to obtain this magnificent knowledge of God. When you begin to realize how good God is and begin to enlarge your knowledge of Him, you will fervently want to draw close to Him. There is so much comfort, peace, and safety under his protective embrace, that you will want to ground your life in His presence. Your heart and strength should be found in Him. What could be better than to wake with Him, to go to work with Him, to travel with Him, to rest with Him, and to live your life in every detail with Him? He is your partner, your fellow-worker, your confidant, your constant companion, and your loving Father. You must always seek Him, trust Him, love Him, delight in Him, and rest in Him above all else.
Psalm 73:28 (Revised English Bible):
But my chief good is to be near you God, I
have chosen you Lord God to be my refuge
and I shall recount all your works.
But I’m in the presence of God-oh, how
refreshing it is! I’ve made Lord God my home.
God, I’m telling the world what you do!
We want our heart to be at home in the presence of the Lord. Think of a beautiful, comfy home with a cozy fire in the fireplace, where you feel peaceful, rested, and protected from the elements. A place where your soul is refreshed from all the pressures of the outside world, where you can renew your spirit. This is what the presence of God should be to our heart and soul; it should be our peaceful home, our constant dwelling, and our restful abode. The presence of the Lord should be our refuge from all the troubles and problems that harass us daily. There is nothing so refreshing, so invigorating, and so revitalizing then to draw near to God and enjoy the intimacy of His presence.
Acts 3:19 (Amplified):
So repent (change your mind and purpose);
turn around and return to God, that your sins
may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that
times of refreshing (of recovering from the
effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may
come from the presence of the Lord.
Times of refreshing and revival come the presence of the Lord. The word “refreshing” is the Greek word anapsuxis which means: to breathe or cool again, to experience cooling from the effects of overheating and so to revive by fresh air; to draw breath again; a relieving and recovering from all toil and evils. What an awesome word to describe the wonderful benefits of living your life in the dynamic reality of His presence! The presence of the Lord allows you to breathe again and experience refreshing cooling from the heat of the pressures and evils of the world. The presence of the Lord is the oasis of cooling water in the dry, scorching desert.
It has been said that virtually every health condition and human activity is improved with optimal breathing. Breathing supplies over 99% of your entire oxygen and energy supply. As we breathe, oxygen that is inhaled purifies our blood by removing poisonous waste products circulating throughout our blood systems. Every cell of your body requires oxygen to move, function, build, reproduce, or turn food into energy. Practicing the presence of the Lord has the same benefits spiritually as breathing does physically. Living in the closeness of His presence will bring vibrant life to every human activity. His presence will energize you to move and function with great spiritual power. To live and move in His presence purifies our lives and removes the toxic effects of sin and fear. It is essential to our spiritual life that we build a daily awareness of His presence, and that Yahweh-Shammah is there in whatever task, challenge, or problem we face. God is not there to point a finger at us, or to hurl an accusation, or to bring us into condemnation. The book of Romans clearly states that God is for us and on our side, and no person, power, or decree has the right to condemn us or lay any charge at our feet. The Message Bible expresses this truth in such a beautiful way.
Romans 8:31-35; 37-39 (Message Bible)
So, what do you think? With God on our side
like this, how can we lose?
If God did not hesitate to put everything on the
line for us, embracing our condition, and exposing
himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is
there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely
do for us?
And who would dare tangle with God by messing
with one of His chosen.
Who would even dare point a finger? The One who
died for us –who was raised for life for us-is in the
presence of God at this very moment sticking up
Do you think that anyone is going to be able to drive
a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There
is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred,
not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats
Not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m
absolutely convinced that nothing-nothing living
or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow,
low or high, thinkable or unthinkable-absolutely
nothing can get between us and God’s love because
of the way Jesus embraced us.
The presence of God is such a blessing because of the depth of His love toward us. To live in His presence is to live in His love. God’s love surrounds us, embraces us, protects us, energizes us, and lifts us to new heights in life.. Remember the great truth of Ephesians that we stand holy and without any blemish, face to face before His loving gaze. We are God’s habitation, His dwelling place, and in His presence we experience the immeasurable riches of His love. Our faces shine with the brightness and glory of His face, for He lives in us and we reflect to the world the peace, power, and love of His presence. God longs to embrace you, to love you, to hold you, and to comfort you. He wants you to know that He is Yahweh-Shammah and He is there always for you. What a wonderful part of the goodness of God-to know that God is with us and in us in every circumstance of life. God will never run away from you and He will never forsake you. You are His most beloved child and He wants to spend time with you; He wants to talk to you; He wants to comfort you, and He wants to help you. Nothing can mitigate or diminish God’s love for you.
Isaiah 41:10 (Amplified):
Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am
with you; do not look around you in terror
and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will
strengthen and harden you to difficulties,
yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up
and retain you with my victorious right hand
of rightness and justness.
The word “dismayed’ in the Hebrew means: to look away, to cause your gaze to turn away, and to gaze about in anxiety. What are our minds focused on, and what are we looking at on a daily basis? Are we gazing in anxiety at the terror in the world and becoming dismayed in fear? Or are we focusing our gaze on God and His loving presence? If we focus on all the negative news of the world, we will be miserable, but if we focus on Him, we will be radiant and at peace. God says that there is nothing to fear for He is with us. God says that there is no reason to be anxious and dismayed for He is our God. God says that He will strengthen us and hold us up by His victorious right hand.
The word “strengthen” in the Hebrew means that God will make us strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, firm, and secure. This is why we cannot look away from Yahweh-Shammah, for He is always there and will melt the fear, dismay, and weakness from our lives. What comfort, what assurance, what strength, and what confidence we have because we know and understand that the Lord is there. Oh, how our heart thrills at this magnificent truth and characteristic of the goodness of God!