Monday, July 8, 2013

The One-Hour Watch

"The Lord replied, `My Presence will go with you..." (Exodus 33:14).

God's Presence gives:

1) Rest: "...I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14);

2) Joy: "...You fill me with joy in your presence" (Psalm 16:11b);

3) Courage in life's battles: "When you go to war against your enemies ...and see an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God...will be with you" (Deuteronomy 20:1);

4) A comfort in trials: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:2);

5) Safety: "In the shelter of your presence you hide [us] from the intrigues of men..." (Psalm 31:20).

We yearn for God's presence, but there was a time when Jesus wanted--indeed, in His humanity needed--His friends' presence. "Could you...not keep watch with me for one hour?" (Matthew 26:40). This surely is one of the saddest passages in the entire Bible. O what a tender and sorrowful rebuke! He found His beloved friends asleep in His greatest need of their nurture. O My watchmen, what of the night of this My anguish--how far gone is this night of My grief and sorrow, and you sleep on!
Throughout the Bible we meet the humanliness of Jesus as well as His Godliness. He pleads, "O My intimate earthly angels, could you not keep watch with me...?" His human heart was breaking with loneliness in the solitude of the Garden, with His friends so near and yet so far. Jesus understood that these precious simple men would not understand His agony; what hurt was their seeming indifference to it.

Yes, Jesus needs our presence, too, for He came to earth to be our Friend.

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