Thursday, April 23, 2009

How are we to recognise the presence of God?

I think I'll be citing this quote towards the end of my preach of Exodus 4 on Sunday. From Spurgeon on Genesis 28: Jacob's waking exclamation, a passage Matt and I are studying later this morning. The question is similar to that posed by Moses in Exodus 4:1 - 'how will they believe that the LORD appeared to me?', while Jacob awakes to realise that he had not recognised the presence of God... Spurgeon's answer is great:

"Wh[o] is the Spirit which shall enable us constantly to feel [him]? The presence of electricity is very soon discovered by those bodies which are susceptible of its action. The presence… of iron in a vessel is very soon detected and discovered by the magnetic needle. There is an affinity between them. That [those who aren’t Christians] should not discover God here I do not wonder at: that they should even say, "There is no God," is no marvel, because there is nothing in their nature akin to him, and therefore they do not perceive him. They lack all the affinity that can discover his presence. If you would feel God's presence, you must have an affinity to his nature. Your soul must have the spirit of adoption, and it will soon find out its Father... You will never perceive God in nature, until you have learned to see God in grace. You must first of all perceive God incarnate in the flesh of Christ, before you will perceive God in the creation which he has made.

This resonates with Jonathan Edwards too, in Signs of the Spirit / Religious Affections, where he makes THE test of the Spirit's work our Christ-focusedness.Richard Sibbes writes of adoption saying that it's result is that we are given the ear of the Lord of heaven and earth and are favourites in the courts of heaven. If that is true, then (super)naturally we would surely recognise that "God really is among us" (1 Corinthians 14:25).

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