The Blessing That Sets Us Apart From Everyone Else

Christianity is completely different from all other religions. No other religion teaches there is one God who exists as three persons. No other religion teaches that the God who created the universe became man and personally paid for the sins of his people. No other religion teaches that we are not saved by works but grace.

But the one thing that particularly sets Christianity apart is that it teaches that God himself personally dwells with his people. Moses said God’s presence with Israel was what made them different than all other nations:

And [God] said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”  And [Moses] said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.  For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:14-16 ESV)

Again and again throughout the Old Testament God promised he would personally be with and tend to his people.

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. (Exodus 19:4)

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10)

God himself brought Israel out of Egypt; he bore them on eagles’ wings and brought them to himself. He didn’t delegate the job to an angel. And he didn’t merely bring them into the promised land, but brought them to himself.

David counted God’s presence as his greatest blessing:

For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. (Psalm 21:6)

When David repented of his sin, his biggest concern was losing the presence of God:

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:11)

The worship of Israel was not offering sacrifices to a distant God, but coming into God’s very presence:

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:2)

The Psalmist encourages us not simply to seek strength, but the strength that comes from the very presence of the Lord:

Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually! (Psalm 105:4)

One of God’s greatest promises is not simply to rescue us from our trials but to be personally with us in them:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2)

Jesus promised to dwell in us by the Holy Spirit:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. [20] In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (John 14:18-20)

Paul’s greatest joy was knowing, pursuing and delighting in his Savior whose presence dwelled in him:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me… (Galatians 2:20)

Today, if you know Jesus, you have the greatest blessing of all – Christ is living in you through the Holy Spirit. And because Jesus is in his Father, the Father is dwelling in you. Incredible! Today give thanks to Jesus for his presence. Seek his presence. He is nearer than the air you breathe. He hears your every sigh. He knows your every difficulty, large or small. He is intimately acquainted with you. And he loves you with an everlasting love.

Comments

  1. David Emmanuel Paul says

    Great article Mark, what a great distinct blessing to know that our God is a God who is in us and lives through us…

  2. says

    Love this Trinitarian perspective from Scripture! Wow! Never thought of God's omnipresence in that way, Mark! Thoughtful breakfast read for me, this morning! Thanks! :)

  3. Rachel McC says

    The picture…you didn’t list a photo credit…Is that your own work? It’s beautiful!! I love it! And it connects what you wrote about to my heart–the presence of God with us as we walk thru the everyday hurried life.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Probably should have listed a credit. I took a photo and reworked it in Photoshop. Thanks! I was thinking that I should try a few paintings of people on the street though. I really like the angle at which this one was taken….

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