It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD (1 Kings 8:10-11).
We long for many things in this life. Everyone wants a little comfort, some recognition, relationships that are meaningful, someone to love and to love them, enough possessions to get by, a meaningful job … and on and on.
But there is one thing that should consume our affections and desires more than all else. We should long for the presence of God.
An Unusual Manifestation
At this moment of the dedication of the first temple that was built in Jerusalem, God manifested (“made clear, visible to all, undeniably seen”) His presence. It was so clear that it gave the appearance of a cloud, and so strong that the men who spent their life in the service of the Lord could not stand before it.
And then there is this incredible statement: The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
I have had the privilege—perhaps you have too—of being in moments or places where His presence was so thick I felt I could touch it. And every time God graciously chooses to visit us in this way, the results are stunning.
The worship is authentic and humble, for who can boast or ignore Him when He is in their house? There is genuine repentance that leads to a surrender to lasting service of the King.
You cannot stand in His manifest presence and be unchanged.
A Daily Experience
While this cloud was an unusual appearance for an unusual moment, we should all seek God’s presence earnestly and daily. If we are followers of Christ, then we have the promise of His continual presence. He promised to be with us and in us, as He spoke of the Spirit’s indwelling of every true believer (John 14).
But it is possible, even for those the Spirit indwells, to be so preoccupied with the world, or so grieving or quenching His Spirit, that we abort the sense of Him and the flow of His life in and through us. We can go days unaware and unappreciative of Him. We can resist His control, foolishly thinking that our ideas and direction are superior.
But nothing could be more ridiculous.
Think of the days wasted when we are not pursuing His presence. He has promised that if we will “draw near” to Him, He will “draw near” to us. And His presence is what we need more than anything else on this earth. The revival we long for—both for us and for the world around us—is nothing more than the return of His presence.
When we experience Him, we have everything that matters and lasts. Without Him, we have nothing of value.
So why would we go another day longer, another step further, another foolish decision deeper into a life without the fullness of Christ? Whatever we do today, we should do that which makes room for Him, and we should cry out for a greater measure of His glory.