New Year’s Thoughts: “…Rebellious people who must live in God’s presence.”

Yes, God’s children are rebellious until the day they die. But when they first recognize that Jesus is tugging at them, they know by that tugging that they are rebellious people who must live in God’s presence. Living with God! Above! in the Father’s house! Willingly! In one of the many rooms that Jesus will have already prepared!

But for now they are still living in that hidden Zion, in the house of God that constitutes the church. In sweet communion! Enfolded in that secret fellowship of the redeemed! No longer living along with the world, but dwelling with God!

Yet, how?

In such a way that the Lord of the house could freely throw open all the doors, could dismiss the watchmen, and could loosen all ties to it! But look, if the Lord God did that, as terrible as it is to admit this, then all God’s children who had not yet walked through the gates of death would scamper their way out of God’s holy dwelling and fall into ruin. They know they would!

And just because they know that, and because they find it so horrifying should they lose touch with their God, they don’t say, ‘O my Lord, I love you so much and am so confident of my situation that I know you are capable of overlooking everything and that I will still dwell in your presence!’ No, they say just the opposite: ‘O my God and Father continue to uphold me. Let your watchmen stay alert so that I do not slip away. Don’t loosen the bands of your everlasting love, for things are good only in your presence. Only with you are things wonderful! Glorious! But my own heart would mislead me and my fleshly appetites would kill me. Like a sheep, I have so often wandered off and looked around instead of staying with you as your child. Show me your favor. In your grace, favor me by living in my heart.’

The Savior hears that prayer!

And when he sees that we are rebellious and would like to flee from God but still want to live in fellowship with him, he comes with his reassuring promise:

I have determined for the people’s comfort
that even my conflicted children
will always live near to God [lines from a Dutch hymn].

Then he accomplishes it. He does what he promises. The outcome is that your rebellious soul is still living and keeps on living in the presence of your God.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.290-91.

This particular meditation (#88 of Volume 1) is titled “Even the Rebellious Live in Your Presence” and is based on Psalm 68:18, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” The Dutch version (translated) has that last part as, “Yes, even the rebellious live in your presence, O Lord my God,” hence the title that Kuyper gave to the meditation.