There’s a captivating story from the Old Testament, where David’s relentless quest to relocate the sacred ark of God’s presence to Jerusalem unveils a profound lesson. As we delve into this story, we will discover the ways how to have God’s presence rest on those who truly value it. The story can be read in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 15-16.
David Wants to Ark Moved to Jerusalem
When David initially tried to move the ark, he was filled with zeal and arranged for it to be carried on a simple cart, replicating the method employed by the Philistines when returning it to Israel. However, David soon encountered a grave setback—the ark became unstable, and in a moment of desperation, someone reached out to steady it, only to be struck down by God’s wrath.
This unforeseen tragedy left David seething with anger and confusion. He chose to halt the journey, leaving the ark in its current resting place for three months. But with time his anger softened, and David humbled himself seeking the Lord’s guidance, yearning to understand what had gone wrong and how to proceed.
David’s initial attempt to transport the ark on a mere cart taught him a crucial lesson: God’s presence cannot be moved like cargo. Rather, it rests on the shoulders of those who have consecrated themselves to His service. Often, we seek to create elaborate programs, ministries, or churches to usher in God’s presence, but God yearns to rest on individuals wholly devoted to Him. Let’s look at three ways to make ourselves ready to carry God’s presence.
How to Find God’s Presence in Your Life
1. Consecrate Yourself: Embracing Holiness
When David made changes to how the ark was to be brought to Jerusalem, he instructed the Levites to consecrate themselves. They had to make sacrifices for their sins. As believers, we are all a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), but we still need to determine to be made separate for God (1 Peter 1:16).
In our quest for God’s presence, we are called to consecrate ourselves. Though perfection is unattainable, we are urged to commit ourselves to the Lord, aligning our thoughts, words, and actions with His ways. Repentance and a desire to stay connected to God become integral parts of our consecration journey.
Want to gain confidence in your prayers? Go get my book The Prayer Book for Common People. Remove the common burdens we put on prayer and be overwhelmed by how much God loves to hear your voice.
2. Praise the Lord: A Heartfelt Worship
David’s understanding of the importance of worship led him to instruct worshippers to lead the ark’s procession—an act not explicitly commanded in scripture but inspired by his personal encounters with the Lord. Just as David’s years of solitary devotion and songwriting fueled his worship, we too can immerse ourselves in heartfelt worship, drawing closer to the very presence of God.
Worship is more than a lead-up to a Sunday sermon. Good worship songs can instruct us in truths of God’s kingdom. But more than that, worship leads us into the very presence of God to meet with our Maker.
3. Become a Living Sacrifice: Surrendering All
David stopped the progression of the ark at predefined intervals to offer sacrifices to God. While the shedding of the blood of animals is not required with the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 9:13-14), we are asked to be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), surrendering our lives to God (Luke 9:23).
This surrender demands releasing our own ambitions, embracing discomfort, and boldly making decisions that may defy conventional wisdom. Being a living sacrifice requires us to entrust our lives completely to God, relinquishing control even when it feels daunting.
The Church’s Role in Carrying God’s Presence
Although programs, ministries, and churches do not carry God’s presence, they serve as vital gathering places where people fervently pursue Him. It is within these communities that the collective pursuit of God’s presence stirs a desire for more, fostering an environment ripe for His glory to manifest. However, there is a need for people to pursue God in the service, not just a show to watch.
How Can You Help Your Church or Ministry?
To support your church or ministry in becoming carriers of God’s presence, first, pray earnestly for your leaders. Recognize the burdens they bear—the weight of budgets, the responsibility of guiding the congregation—while also navigating their personal journey of dying to self. Let your prayers uplift them and grant them the courage to follow God’s lead.
Furthermore, whole-heartedly pursue God in your own life, inviting others to join you on this transformative journey. Cultivate a community of believers passionately seeking God, where love for others and unwavering worship ignite a radiant manifestation of His presence. Together, we become vessels that carry God’s presence, transforming our churches and ministries into vibrant hubs of His glory.
As we embark on this sacred quest of consecration, praise, sacrifice, and collective pursuit, may our hearts be captivated by the desire to honor God’s presence and walk in step with His mysterious ways. Let us unlock the power and blessings of God’s presence in our lives, forever transformed by the heavenly journey we undertake.