“In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped. And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain. (Isaiah 4:2-6)
In your own personal walk with the Lord, you will discover the need to “do business” with God.
Part of this requirement is dealing with temptation and sin, and knowing God’s will for your life.
It’s a hard road.
The difficulty for many of us is admitting we’re sinners.
” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
Confession of your sin is humbling, no doubt.
But if you’re able to admit it, you’ll know that we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
When you do, God steps in and blesses you with forgiveness, restoration, and peace.
So to sense and know the presence of God, we first have to endure the discomforts of God’s purification.
God’s purification is the ‘cleansing’ from the world.
Malachi 3:2 says, “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.”
In Isaiah 4:2-6 we get a glimpse of the Jewish believers who survive the tribulation.
The death and destruction they come out of is horrific.
They’re able to compare firsthand the evil of Satan and the goodness of God.
And through it all, they’re able to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah.
To the extent that they are now called “holy.”
Being holy is not a phony façade of speaking in “thees” and “thous” or acting in a pretentious way.
It’s about being real with God and with people.
“Believers are not better, they are just better off.” (Pastor Greg Denham)
The hard part is getting to a state of holiness.
Which is striving to live a life that is right with God.
The Lord has to “wash away the filth.”
It’s the Lord that cleanses us.
He’s the one that gives us a heart to live right, walk by faith, and trust Him.
What I love most about our Lord Jesus is His presence.
The wonderful times He makes His nearness evident and brings His peace is like nothing else the world can offer.
John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Something remarkable about the Exodus story, aside from the plagues and the Red Sea parting, is how the Lord manifested His presence as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.” – Exodus 13:21
So when we “see” God’s presence in our mind’s eye, what happens when we think about the behavior of the Children of Israel in the wilderness?
The murmuring and complaining, the golden calf, the crying for meat instead of manna, the threats to return to Egypt…all the while God’s presence was right there in their midst.
Then, I’ll stop and think, How could they do that? Sin so blatantly in the presence of God!
In that moment, the Holy Spirit reminds me,
“Ah Brad, hello, you all do the same thing. My presence is made known all around you, in creation…and yet you keep sinning without any fear of who I Am.”
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…” – Romans 1:20
“For over all the glory, there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.” – Isaiah 4:5, 6
Once you start to comprehend the dimension of God’s love and His Holy Spirit is transforming you into the Lord’s image, you learn to appreciate the “covering” we have as Christians. (Ephesians 3:18)
God’s covering keeps us from the world, the flesh, and the devil.
It keeps us walking close to our Lord and Savior.
His covering assures us that we’re going to be okay no matter what this life throws at us.
Best of all, His covering reminds us we’re going to heaven.
“Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)
So take these truths with you today, my friend.
Your walk with the Lord is a process.
And your first step toward God is your confession of sins.
From this step of humility, God always purification to take place in the depths of your heart.
This is how you start to become more like Him.
Secondly, He makes His presence known to you.
God reveals His love in many ways.
Through blessings, spiritual gifts, by His peace, and even though suffering and correction.
God’s presence keeps us in awe and in reverence of who He is.
Third, He protects us.
We all desperately need God’s protection.
We need to know He’s covering us.
He is our refuge…
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1
So to overcome the discomfort of God’s purification process; be purified by His love.
Acknowledge His presence and rejoice in His protection.