Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your Name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence. (Psalm 140:13—NKJV)

Having the privilege of being in the presence of someone you highly honor and respect, and to whom you are accountable, changes your behavior. Gaining an audience with a famous person is a memory of a lifetime. People who like each other enjoy being in the presence of one another. Being in close proximity allows easy communication, ready access, and provides satisfaction in knowing the heart and mind of the other person.

Being refused to be allowed into the presence of someone is a judgment and an insult. Banishment from the presence of God is one of the descriptions of the plight of an unsaved person as he goes down into perdition at the end of time. 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9 reads, “the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

It is this removal from the presence of God because of unbelief that our Lord refers to in Matthew 7:21–23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your Name, and done many wonders in Your Name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness!’” Similarly Jesus states in Matthew 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” This separation from the presence of God is the severest punishment of Hell for all eternity.

The greatest glory of the believer’s heavenly existence will be the undiminished, unremitting, and unreserved presence of God. Revelation 21:3 states, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’” This glorious prospect is foreshadowed by the Old Testament promise of the presence of God dwelling among His chosen, though fallen, people (Isaiah 52:11). The fresh “showbread,” or bread of His presence, was a constant testament to the presence of God with Israel. Isaiah 52:11 is quoted in 2 Corinthians 6:17 as a description of how a New Testament saint is to live a separated life from sin since the Spirit of God dwells within him, and with each and every believer.

Our text from the Psalms is a plea for God to interpose Himself between the believer and his enemy who is auguring toward him to do him damage. God has been his help in answer to prayer in the past. Once more he is begging of God to rise up and stand before him as a shield from the enemy. He closes with the precious thought that the just God will be his defender, that righteous men will praise God’s Name with thanksgiving, and that the upright will enjoy the pleasure and security of God’s presence. David states in Psalm 21:6–7, “For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.” He also declares in Psalm 41:12, “As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever.” The presence of the Almighty is a supreme comfort in the face of adversity!

Practicing the “presence of the Lord” in your daily life is a worthy discipline for every Christian. Studious recognition of His presence every day will prompt you to walk with God in:

  • communion (present fellowship),
  • reverent regard (set the Lord before you),
  • obedience (enjoy God’s approval),
  • regular confiding (exclusive attention of God).

Hebrews 13:5–6 promises, “I will never leave you (His presence) nor forsake you (His assistance). So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Are you delighting in His presence daily? Practicing His presence today will prevent you from being startled at His revealed presence one day soon to come. Trust and obey.