This year, 2015, I’m reading through a version of the Bible that I don’t usually use. It’s the Holman Christian Standard Bible. I need to read 2.4 pages each day to read through this particular Bible entirely.
I want to post on here lessons I learn as I read through.
Today, I’d like to reflect on this verse:
“When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, ‘I am God Almighty. Live in my presence and be devout.” ~Genesis 17:1
The nice thing about reading various versions of the Bible even if one believes the version to be largely questionable in its translation, is that you do see what a passage says in another way that you’ve never thought of before. In most other versions, rather than saying, “live in my presence and be devout”, they say, “walk before me” and “be perfect” or “be blameless”.
I like what this version says: “Live in my presence and be devout”. I can relate to this much more. I can see us humans as living in the presence of God and being devout to the Almighty much easier than walking before Him and being blameless or perfect even though I know it means the same.
So, briefly, because I don’t want to go on and on: (too late?)
How do we live in the presence of God?
Hebrews 7:19 says, “(for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.”
Being in the presence of God would have to include being near to Him. This verse tells us how to be near to God, and that is through the word – the “better hope”. The Old Law (rules, but no grace as of yet) was not perfect, but the New Law (including grace), the “better hope” is our vehicle to know God, to be near Him.
We also live in His presence in worship to Him. Psalm 95:2 and 100:2 speak of coming before His presence with thanksgiving and singing. What better place to sing and give thanks before the Lord than in worship with brothers and sisters in Christ?
To live in God’s presence, you don’t live before whatever has become your idol. In Isaiah 19:1, the prophet says that idols tremble before God. Nowadays, our idols may be wooden images, but they are more likely the things we covet, as is stated in Colossians 3:5, or as the HCSB version says, “greed, which is idolatry”. So, don’t live with greed. It’s the opposite way to go in being in the presence of God.
Be devout. The other, more familiar versions: be blameless and be perfect. Being devout then, is obeying that new law, spoken of in Hebrews 7:19. Being perfect, blameless and devout does not happen haphazardly as if grace will cover every unrepentant sin and we can live as sinful as we please. It comes from the reading and obeying of the word of God.
Live in His presence and be devout. That’s the lesson.
Sharon, with Mary