The upward life is about the presence of God. Yes, He is everywhere all the time. We accept this truth by faith. But sometimes He makes the reality of His presence so tangible to us that the very atmosphere is charged and we feel as though if we stretched out our hand we might touch Him.
King David was a man who loved God’s presence. The account of the ark of God being brought back to Jerusalem is a joyous celebration. 2 Samuel 6:12-15 says: Now it was told King David, saying, “The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.
David didn’t take the presence of God for granted. To him it was very precious.
For Moses, the presence of God was necessary. Exodus 33:15 tells us: Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. Moses preferred a wilderness with God, rather than a promised land without Him.
But for others the presence of God is substituted. Jeremiah 2:13 says: “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.. The Lord’s command to those who have become content with other things, even if they are good and spiritual things, is “remember….and repent”. (Revelation 2:4-5)
The Old Testament Jews were not allowed to draw near to God. One man, once a year was allowed into the Holy of Holies. But this new covenant in Jesus’s blood is a covenant of nearness. Many verses exhort us to come near (James 4:8, Hebrews 7:19, Hebrews 10:22, Ephesians 2:13)
When the arms of Jesus were spread open on the cross, the arms of the Father were opened to us, with the invitation to draw near. The tragedy of our day is that we too often remain content with the broken cisterns of religious activity.
The upward life is about separation to God. The Song of Solomon is a story of love between the beloved and the Shulamite, which symbolizes the love between Jesus and His people. Read what the beloved (Jesus) says about the Shulamite (us).
A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, fragrant henna with spikenard, spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices— A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Song of Solomon 4:12-15
This garden, which is her life, is full of beautiful and pleasant fruits and spices. Many precious things are growing there. But she is a garden enclosed….a spring shut up…a fountain sealed. All the beautiful fruit of the life is locked away and hidden. No one benefits from the lovely fragrance or the sweet fruit.
His words stir something in her and she responds (Song of Solomon 4:16) “Jesus, all the beautiful fruit of my life, it is for You Lord. Come and benefit from the precious things You have grown in my life. Come and receive of what is Yours”
And He does! (The BelovedI have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Song of Solomon 5:1a) He comes to the garden and takes possession of it…”I have come to my garden”. She has given it entirely to Him. This garden, her life, is separated to the beloved….His possession now. And this life, now fully given over to the Beloved, He flings wide open for the benefit of the world! (Song of Solomon 5:1b) (To His Friends) Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones!
This is the prepared life…..one that is fully given over….an entirely God-possessed life.
Today you can purpose to be upwardly prepared – a man or woman fully surrendered to God.