Jun
12

Practicing the Presence of God (Pt. 2 of 4 Pt. Series)

By

Practicing His Presence 

by Pastor Pete Tackett

Text: Isaiah 30:15

Intro:

• Last week…we began to realize that prayer is less about something we do and more about what we are and who God is.

• It is more about the presence of someone than the shopping list.

• We discovered that we remain in him, linger in his presence, let him love and father us. In return, his words remain in us.

• As we linger in his presence, his logos or living word begins to speak into our situations.

• Then we can pray and be confident of the answer because we have heard him speak into the matter and we can be assured that He will answer our prayers.

• Almost from the moment I said it, people began to say, How?

• It seems almost impossible in our culture to embrace the presence of God all day, every day.

• Truthfully, we need help. We are so geared to doing we need someone to tell us what to do.

• Isaiah 30 describes us, even though written to Israel.

• They were obstinate, refusing to trust God, making alliances with Egypt for protection, though it did not work.

• They were living in an unfriendly environment filled with deadly animals and threats to their safety.

• They had refused to hear from the prophets. Tell us pleasant things they said in v. 10.

• Stop confronting us, they said.

• God said, then you will be endure the punishment brought on by your attitude and your actions.

• Then he speaks v. 15. A direct quote from God. There is a way out.

• In this one verse, he gives them four keys to unlock His presence and blessing.

• We can learn from those four as we practice the presence of God.

1. Repentance

• Not the usual word for repentance. It has overtones of our NT word for repentace but is very nuanced and very specific.

• You have heard repentance for salvation described as turning and going the other way. This one is even more specific.

• Hebrew word is Shuwbah- retirement and withdrawal.

• If you are going to hear from God, to really practice his presence, you are going to have to retire from what you have been doing.

• He said to the Israelites, “How has that been working for you?”

• He would say the same thing to us.

• We have relegated prayer to a thing we do at an appointed time, but he says to remain with him and aware of his all presence every hour and minute of the day.

• Brother Lawrence (I hope some of you have downloaded that ebook. It is on our web page.) spoke of winning the war with minutes.

• He is saying retire, quit doing what you are doing.

• If we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we have always got.

• Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

• The other English translation of this word is the word, withdrawal.

• If you are ever going to embrace and practice the presence of God in your life, you must withdraw from the rat race.

• If your work and your entertainment occupies every thought, then it is very hard to abide in Him. When we don’t the result is that we do not hear his words.

• People say it all the time. I can’t hear from God. The heavens are brass. It is bouncing off the ceiling.

• You aren’t praying in His will because you have added prayer and presence to an already overfilled schedule.

2. Rest

• The next word gets even more practical.

• He says you have to rest.

• Two verses come to mind.

• Matthew 11:28-29 “"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

• Is that not the picture of our lives…weary and burdened? His promise is rest.

• Learn from Him, he said. In me, you will find rest for your souls.

• We have relegated prayer to a desperate attempt to change our circumstances, when the message of Jesus is come to me. Let me give you rest.

• This Hebrew word speaks of quietness and a quiet attitude.

• He seems to indicate you cannot stay as busy as you are, keep trying to fix things yourself, and hear His plans.

• Speaks of volume and busyness. You have to say no to some good things in order to do the best thing…practice His presence. You have to limit the noise and even the noise you do allow in your life has to be turned down from time to time.

• This word is designed to force us to just recline in His presence.

• Perhaps you are like me and find yourself so busy that when you do have time to hear from God and just focus on him, you are continually wanting to get up and do something.

• You have to decide that hearing from God about a situation is paramount and just rest in HIM.

Transition: Repentance and Rest will lead to salvation…not redemption, but resolution. Only when you are quiet and repentant can you hear God’s perspective on your battles.

3. Quietness

• Speaks of an attitude of the soul

• A willful and knowledgeable commitment to be quiet in the face of adversity.

• To refuse to fix it but to rest quietly in the presence of the Lord to hear His perspective on the circumstances.

• There is a great picture of this in the 23rd Psalm.

• Psalm 23:8 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

• There is a feast to be found when you quit flailing and let Him speak to you.

• Hebrew word means “to be quiet, be tranquil, be at peace, be quiet, rest, lie still, be undisturbed”

• I had an old friend who would greet you upon arrival in his office by saying, “come in and lay down somewhere.”

• That is what this verse is saying. No matter how rough things are, just come in and lie down. Resting in his presence is more important that anything you are doing.

4. Trust

• Bitkah is the Hebrew word.

• Speaks of confidence

• Used only one time in the OT.

• It is really part of this compound thought that translates like this.

• You can be at peace in the Lord because you can trust the Lord.

• We choose not to be at peace. We don’t even realize we are doing it, but even though we pray and ask others to pray, we are not sure God is trustworthy so we must work hard, stay busy, and fix it ourself.

• How confident are you of God’s ability to rescue and restore you?

• Henry Blackaby used to say, your lack of confidence in your prayer life says more about God than about you.

Transition: Quietness and trust produces strength. Not yours, but God’s.

An indictment:

• But you were not willing.

• Essentially, we have chosen busyness, filling our lives with noise and entertainment and worry rather than practicing the presence of God.

• Words used here has an Arabic root that means “You loathed it.”

• It is not just that you did not embrace quietness and rest, but it was bitter and unpalatable to you.

• It is a bitter irony…the very thing that will give you strength for the journey and salvation for the circumstances you face (the presence of God), is something so foreign and undesirable that you will not even try it.

Conclusion:

• Will you just do what He says?

• Will you abide in HIm?

• Will you rest and trust?

• Or will you continue to flail aimlessly and live a life of high bp and anxiety?

• Consider these minor steps:

• Each time you feel anxiety ramping up, stop and ask God to speak into the situation and show you the truth?

• Instead of spending every moment with the radio or television, consider a commitment to deliberate quiet.

• Ask God to talk to you throughout your day? Ask him to reveal where He is working when you feel overwhelmed.

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