Is something missing from your Bible Study or your faith walk? Here’s what God showed me about the subtle erosion that sneaks into our time with Him:
It began like this:
Whenever God answered my prayers in an unmistakable way; when I felt His creative powers flow through me, driving out devotions with an unexpected ease; when His presence shook my foundations—my arms, my knees, my voice while also empowering me to speak; and when His flame licked across the crown of my head and settled like a fire beneath my chest, burning the inner dross with His purifying fire—then I was consumed with awe for my God.
But when the heat faded, the sense of His presence felt far off. Equally far was the grace I once had—the supernatural ease—to demonstrate His patient selfless love to others. I fought to regain lost ground—though I know it isn’t truly lost; it’s part of a life-long process of being conformed into His image—whether by the tangible blaze of His Spirit’s fire or the lonely renewing of my mind. New lessons require a new approach. There’s a purpose in these struggles. And so, my God, my loving God—whether I feel Your presence or not—I know You fill this vacancy, too.
Still, wanting more, I pressed in; I sought His face; I devoured the Word, the truth. But somehow, in my seeking, the routine settled in until the heavenly manna tasted bland—Bland?! How is it possible to read the Word of Life and find oneself mired in a lifeless intellectual pursuit? This should not be! (But all too often it is.)
Have you ever fallen into that numb pursuit, driven by obligation or desperation in which you feed on the Word and yet still feel unfed? Here’s the revelation God gave me in my recent studies of His Truth: “Reignite your sense of awe in Me.” Truth without awe is an intellectual exercise. If the truth doesn’t move us to a place of awe, God will always feel far off.
So, instead of being a people who come near to God with their mouth and honor Him with their lips while our hearts remain far off (Isaiah 29:13), how about we take a moment to forget the rules and regulations and simply meditate on the glory of God’s power?
God says, “Brought low, you will speak from the ground; your speech will mumble out of the dust. Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth; out of the dust your speech will whisper. But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire… Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer…” The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
Come and see the breathtaking wonders of our God.
For he brings both ruin and revival.
He’s the one who makes conflicts end
throughout the earth,
breaking and burning every weapon of war.
Surrender your anxiety!
Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.
I am the God above all the nations,
and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
Here he stands!
The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side!
The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence
1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
3 “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
4 Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
5 “With whom will you compare me or count me equal?
To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? …
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
it is not far away;
and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
my splendor to Israel.
See also my devotion on Isaiah 46: A Writer’s Idol. And consider soaking in His presence: