The Lord is There

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Who hasn’t asked (or yelled, or wept), “Where are you God?!”.

Maybe it  comes out when life presses in or when suffering nearly suffocates. Sometimes our spirit whispers it when we are desperate for a miracle.

So where is God? Where is God when things don’t line up? Where is God when things fall apart?

In the crazy tornadoes of life, there is one place God can always be found: With you.

In that place where fear thunders in your ears? The Lord is There.

In that place where pain squeezes your insides? The Lord is There.

In that place where life has been turned upside down? The Lord is There.

Would you take a walk with me? I really want to show you something…

The Life Journal readings have recently taken us into the books of Ezekiel and Daniel, both of whom were given visions of things quite beyond their present time and space.

Living in Babylon, Daniel was promoted over the years and given favor. But there were many times everything in his life turned upside down too.

Daniel 6 begins just after King Darius took over Babylon. He was setting up his overseers and Dan-the-Man was chosen. In fact Daniel had distinguished himself so much that the king planned to put him in charge of the whole kingdom. But those who were jealous set a trap for Daniel and he ended up inside a den of hungry lions instead.

One minute he’s being honored, the next thrown away. Have you ever felt that way? One minute you are admired, the next rejected? One minute happy, the next miserable?

What did Daniel do? He did what he always did. He lifted his sights upward. He prayed. God sent an angel to close the mouths of the lions and in the morning he was found safe and sound.

You see, Daniel knew a secret; the secret to not living under life’s circumstances.

And that is a secret we all need to know.

Because when the entire circle of your life is swirling and shifting, God has solid ground for your feet to stand on. You need to know how to find that solid ground.

Ezekiel 47 & 48 from yesterday’s Life Journal readings give us a picture of it.

But here’s the thing…

You’ll probably never find solid ground for your feet just by looking down. You must look up.

Described by the prophet Ezekiel is a heavenly city, a holy land, a sacred temple built by God in heavenly places. Ezekiel is given a tour and describes for us all he sees. As I was reading through this last night I found myself asking, “Why?” Why list all the measurements and dimensions and schematics to a place we can’t even see with our eyes?

Well, I think that’s just the point.

God shared 9 chapters of description (Ezekiel 40-48) to give us a picture of a place that is not even of this world. All because He wanted us to know one very important thing.

It is real.

Up in the heavenly realms there is a place where God sits on the throne. There is a temple where He dwells, where His presence fills the sanctuary and where there is a city not made by human hands. And it is waiting for us. Not just in the someday, but also in the now.

Ezekiel 47 describes a river that flows from the temple, from the Presence of God. In his vision, Ezekiel follows the river as it deepens and widens and flows from the temple and out into the holy land surrounding it, stretching down to the sea.

“This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea.” (Ez 47:8)

The Arabah is another name of the Jordan river valley and the “sea” referred to here is the Dead Sea. This description makes us see a river of God that flows from His presence, through holy, heavenly ground, down into the ordinary places of our lives, right here on earth.

But what it says next changes everything. Stay with me.

“When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows.”

This is the River of Life! The city and temple and holy land being described in these passages are located up above in heavenly realms. But the river flowing from it is God’s own Spirit pouring down into the dead places of earth… The dead places of our lives. To bring LIFE!

Just before this description begins, this promise is given, “For though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ez 39:28-29)

Just like Daniel, though we are living in a foreign land with impossible circumstances, this broken world is not our true home. We belong to a place where the Water of Life gushes and flows. But that water crosses boundaries. It flows right down from heaven into earth, into the dead places around us.

Look at the end of chapter 47 and chapter 48. The land on either side of the River of Life is assigned to God’s people by name! Our names are written with the twelve tribes of Israel.  (See Ez 47:21-23). When you belong to Jesus, you are given spiritual real estate. Your name is written on the deed to the land!

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.” Hebrews 12:22-23a

So here’s the big deal. Since you have holy ground ASSIGNED to you in heaven, you have solid ground to stand on in every single circumstance you can possibly face down here on earth.

This world may roar and rant and rage all around us, but it cannot shake the ground out from under our feet. Not when we stand on ground rooted in heavenly places.

Do you know what the City of God is called?

“Yehovah Sham”  The Lord is There. (Ez 48:35)

So, stand child. Stand where you are. Stand tall. The Lord is there.

God promised Moses many years ago, “Wherever you put the soles of your feet, that ground will I give you.” (Deut 11:24). That promise was foreshadowed in Abraham’s call to walk the Promised Land through his life, claiming future ground for God’s people with heavenly authority. And then God repeated the promise to Joshua as he was entered to take the Promised Land 500 years later. (Joshua 1:3)

God’s people faced fierce armies, walled cities, raging rivers. But in every circumstance we face in this life God says:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

So what do you face today?

The enemy wants you to think that you have to sit in some corner, watching powerlessly as circumstances rage around you.

He doesn’t want you to remember that in reality, your feet are rooted in heavenly places, ground assigned to you by name, where the Spirit of God reigns.

He doesn’t want you to remember that in reality, you stand as a gate, called by name, for the flow of God’s Spirit to be released into the dead places all around.

It’s true. Every one of the gates to this heavenly city are named after God’s people. And just like the land around the river, I personally think there’s a gate with your name on it. So guess what? You can open it wide today to release the flow of God’s presence into every dead place your feet may stand. So take a stand in those impossible circumstances, point down to the ground you hold as you look up to heaven and declare: The Lord is There!

May the ground God has assigned to you in heaven be taken here on earth. May you release the flow of God’s presence wherever you stand.

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