"To Dwell Within"
Part 5 - His Joy, Our Joy
"Let us alone!" For all practical purposes, this was Adam and Eve's response to God after succumbing to the temptation to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8).
Humanity has been hiding from God ever since. "There is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11). The Lord must seek us if we are to come forth from the trees to find redemption from our sin, and a life that is truly life.
"The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
"He is thy life… To live is Christ" (Deuteronomy 30:20; Philippians 1:21).
Until we respond to God's seeking through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, all interest in Him actually involves His loving interest in us. Left to ourselves, we would all venture deeper and deeper into the darkness of the spiritual and moral forest wrongly perceived to be a suitable hiding place from our only hope. "Let me alone!" constitutes the default position of the heart without Christ. Thankfully, as in Eden, the Lord does not leave us to ourselves, but rather sounds His voice through creation, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the testimony of those who have already come forth from the trees into the clearing of grace and mercy in Christ. The Voice sounds and resounds "Where art thou?" not because its Speaker does not know where we are, but rather to awaken us to our lostness without Him. "Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge" (Psalm 19:2).
After we trust the Lord Jesus, we still require the moving of the Holy Spirit within our hearts to maintain and enhance our interest in living fellowship with God. "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Our flesh is "prone to wander," as the old hymn rightly suggests. Thankfully, the Spirit infuses our born again spirits with delight for our Lord's presence, a truth we must believe and affirm regardless of how much our flesh prompts us to run back into the trees. For the believer, living fellowship with our Heavenly Father constitutes the essence and longing of who and what we most deeply are. We do not always feel this, nor do we always avail ourselves of so great a gift. Our feet may still flee. But deeply within our hearts, the presence of the Spirit of Christ makes His joy for communion with His Father our joy for the same glory and wonder. To the degree we believe this truth with our hearts will be the degree to which we "walk in the light as He is in the light" (I John 1:7).
The Psalmist well knew that God alone fills and fulfills the human heart. We close with his affirmations of the Lord as the Life of his life, which must also be our affirmations…
"Thou art my God… Thou art my hiding place… Thou art my help… Thou art my hope… Thou art my Father."
(Psalm 31:14; 32:14; 40:17; 71:3; 89:26)
Weekly Memory Verse
"The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."