February 22, 2022

Day 23: In the Presence of Greatness

Read Psalm 42-43

The summer before my junior year of high school, I went to a basketball camp at Cedarville University. I made the all-star team for the week out of the hundreds of kids there. I thought I was something special. At the end of the week, a guest speaker came to the camp, Bobby Jones. He had just retired the previous year from the Philadelphia 76ers. Bobby Jones was known as the “Secretary of Defense”, having been named to the NBA All-Defensive team, nine times. He had been a four time NBA All-Star, and was a key player on their 1983 championship team. This team included Darryl Dawkins and Julius Erving, aka, Dr. J. And so this hall of fame player jumps in on our three-on-three game. But I wasn’t worried. After all, I was a camp all-star. Not even a minute into the game I go to shoot from the 3-point line. Bobby Jones is under the basket, so I figured, no problem. He takes one step, leaps up and blocks the living daylights out of my shot. I was instantly humbled. And in that moment, I realized that there was a significant gap between being a 16 yr old all-star at Cedarville Camp and being an NBA All-Star. 

The greatness of this player doesn't even compare to the greatness of God. But there's a principle there for us. We are humbled and we are in awe when we stand in the presence of greatness. So far in Psalms, David has written most of them. But in Psalms 42-43 we see that the authors are "The Sons of Korah". I'll end with their story in a bit. They were experiencing the difficulties of life. But they knew what they needed to do. In the psalm they posed it as a question... "When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night...". What do you do when you're struggling with the pains of life? You stand in the presence of greatness! It humbles you and it causes awe. And not only does it make you feel small, in a good way, it makes the problems seem smaller as well.

We may be humbled in His presence, but aren't you thankful He even lets us be in His presence. The sons of Korah are a great example of God's grace and mercy. Korah was the man who led Israel in rebellion in the wilderness (Numbers 16). It led to over 14,000 deaths. How would you like that as part of your heritage? Yet after seven generations, the great prophet Samuel arose from the line of Korah. And from this line the Korahites became doorkeepers and custodians for the tabernacle. Some of them joined King David on a number of military exploits. During the time of David, they became leaders in music in the tabernacle.

God is so great and we don't deserve to be in His presence, yet He allows it because of the finished work of Christ. God redeemed the line of Korah. And these "sons of Korah" were grateful. Their "souls thirst for God" (Psalm 42:2). And when they felt overwhelmed by the problems of the day, they went into the presence of God. Psalm 42 and 43 end the same way: "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."

Standing in the presence of greatness humbles us and causes awe. And that's such a great thing. The sons of Korah remind us that hope comes from God and He is a God who saves. We, like these men, have been forgiven much. May it evoke in us, hearts of praise and souls that yearn to be with God.

What has God redeemed in your life? How has God showed His mercy to you?

Is your soul yearning for God? Is there something that needs to be removed because it's what your heart and soul is really yearning for? Will you lay it at the foot of the cross?

Prayer for the day: "God, I am so unworthy to stand in your presence. Yet, you made a way through your Son. I stand in awe of your greatness. Thank you for your mercy. Help my soul to yearn more passionately for you. Thank you, God of my salvation. I adore you Father. In Jesus' name, amen."

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