Tangible God Sightings


A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on presence. You can read it here. (For those of you reading from our Scriptures 1 class, it was a post I did not tag for class.)  In that post, I share my thoughts on the presence of Jesus with us specifically when we pray. Perhaps this is why the presence of God at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8 stood out to me.


In 1 Kings 8, Solomon has finally completed the temple, and the time has come to dedicate it. The author tells us as the ark was brought to the temple Solomon and the people were “sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered” (1Kings 8:5 NRS). What a joyous day in the life of Israel. They had finally constructed a permanent dwelling place for God. After the ark was installed in “the most holy place,” the inner sanctuary of the temple, “a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:10-11). What an amazing theophany of God’s presence among God’s people!


Sometimes I wish God would show up in such a  visible way. Often, our experience of God’s presence while tangible, is nearly indescribable. However, I wonder, if God did show up in a visibly tangible way, would we recognize Him? Or would our western, scientific brains have some explanation for the theophany? Is our view of God big enough to allow for such unexplainable events?


A quick story. One summer during camp, rain was threatening our last night of worship which was to take place in an amphitheater overlooking a lake. Rain was imminent according to the radar and the clouds. Swimming and other outdoor activities had been rained out several times through the week. So I prayed for God to hold the rain until after our service which on the last night of camp could be quite lengthy. We started our service with the distant rumble of thunder, but as we watched the clouds (and the radar) the rain split and went right around us. It was raining nearby, but not at the camp. We were able to finish our worship service, time of response and prayer, and eat s’mores around the bonfire. The rain came right as our campers headed back to their cabins. One of the workers at the camp facility tried to tell me the lake had some impact on preventing the rain, but I choose to believe God acted on our behalf protecting our time of worship and displaying his glory for all to see.

a man after God’s own heart?


I don’t know about you, but I am never perfect. Ouch. That’s hard for this perfectionist to admit, but it’s true. Try as hard as I might, I am just not perfect, and I never will be. Perhaps that’s why David is one of my favorite characters in the Bible.


In 1 Samuel 13, God rejects Saul as king after he impatiently offered a burnt offering instead of waiting for Samuel.  In verse 14, God tells Saul, “…the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart; and the LORD has appointed him to be ruler over his people.” He is speaking of David.


David, the raiding pirate. David, the adulterer. David, the murderer. This certainly does not sound like a man who follows God wholeheartedly. Or does it?


David commits many sins. However, he repents completely and humbles himself before God repeatedly. We see this most clearly in 2 Samuel 11 & 12, the story of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and its consequences. After the prophet Nathan’s parable and rebuke, David admits his sin. He then humbles himself before God praying and fasting on behalf of his and Bathsheba’s child who has been struck ill. Through the picture painted by the author of 1 & 2 Samuel, we see David communing with God, talking with God, relying on God for protection, writing psalms of praise to God, dancing before God as the ark is brought into Jerusalem, and seeking God’s direction. I think God calls David a man after his own heart because God knew David’s heart, and his heart was devoted to God. Sure he messed up. But he never wavered in his devotion to God. In comparison to Saul, Solomon, and the myriad of kings of the divided kingdom, David stands out because of his wholehearted devotion to God. He is remembered as a wholehearted follower of God despite his imperfections and missteps. What better way to be remembered?