Thursday, November 09, 2006


A tiny bird had accidentally flown into the window and now sat stunned on the ground. It did not move. The kids quickly ran outside and picked up the tiny bird, holding it gently in their hands. We had a dilemma on our hands. What do you do with a bird that is injured and in need of help? You call the zoo of course, and they quickly put us in touch with a local lady who cared for injured birds.
I will never forget that little helpless thing. It seemed to weigh as little as the air in which it flew. It was so fragile. Yet they are cared for by God, and He notices each time a sparrow falls to the ground. (Matthew 10:29)
God overshadows His creation. “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31) God sees you every moment of every day. He knows the deepest secrets of your heart, the longings, the burdens, the needs, the reason for your tears. He understands you better than you understand yourself. Like that little bird, you sometimes find yourself flitting here and there, and suddenly you end up stunned and wondering what happened. All the while, He knows, and is working on your behalf, even when you are unable to care for yourself.
God has always hovered over his creation from the beginning of time. “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:2) God is not an absentee landlord who lets the tenants of earth fend for themselves. He cares and overshadows us. His presence, though unseen, is there. When the Jews built the ark of the covenant in the wilderness, God instructed them to build it with certain specifications. And when the shekinah glory of God descended upon the Holy of Holies, we are told that the wings of the cherubim overshadowed the mercy seat. It was to be a picture for man that God cares about us. Then to reinforce that picture in their minds even more, the glory of God came down upon the tabernacle, so much so that Moses could not enter into it. And that cloud remained, as a pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day, hovering over the people of God, as God watched over them and they became aware that God was continually with them.
When young Mary found favor in the eyes of God, the Word tells us that the angel announced to her that “the Holy Ghost would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow” her. (Luke 1:35) His presence was to be with her and protect her.
That same overshadowing presence of an Almighty God was also demonstrated to the disciples. Jesus was up on the mountain with Peter, James and John. There they experienced the overshadowing presence of God as they watched Jesus change before their eyes, and a cloud of glory descended upon them. “Behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!'' (Matthew 17:5).

Positioned for Overshadowing
I want to be in the position where God can overshadow me. Sometimes, like the wayward children of Israel, we wander off and try to do our own thing. When we do this, we walk away from the overshadowing presence of God. We remove ourselves from his protective hand. We must remain in the position where God places us. There He instructs us and guides us. When we are positioned where God wants us to be, God promises… “"Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!” ( I Sam 12:16)
When we stand in the place that God has directed us to stand, we will see God do mighty things. If we wander off in our impatience, we may miss the very plan God has for us. Just as sheep tend to wander away from the shepherd, letting their nose guide them to that ‘sweeter’ blade of grass, only to find themselves hopelessly lost, and alone in the wilderness, so do we wander away from the Shepherd of our souls. He provides all we need, the table of food in the presence of our enemies, our cup, full of the good things of God, yet still we wander. Sheep are really quite dumb. They do not plan for emergencies. They just find themselves in one emergency after another. If they stayed close to the shepherd, within the sound of his voice, even in the valley of the shadow of death, there would be no reason to fear.
He is watching out for their good. He is overshadowing with his rod and staff.
God continually wants to put us in a position where He can bless us, and use us for His honor and glory. To be positioned by God is an honor. What position are you in today? Are you where God has placed you? Are you wandering off after things He has already provided you with? Don’t look at the circumstances around you! Look up! See the overshadowing presence of God! He is there, and will continue to be there for you. Trust Him. Keep your eyes on Him.
Maintaining your position
As we recognize our need for staying under the overshadowing presence of God, we also need to know how to maintain our position. It is our carnal senses that usually draw us away from the Overshadowing...what we hear with our ears… what we see with our eyes, what we feel with our hands, what we smell and what we taste. Just as the smell of food can pull us away from the place of prayer to the table, so can what we see with our eyes, draw us away from the Word of God. It takes a determination and discipline that many of us lack, to resist the tug of our carnal side. But this is a time when we need to get alone with God, spend time praying, fasting, seeking God, reading His Word, focusing on listening to His voice and touching the glory of His presence. Greatness in God does not come from apathetic mediocrity. It requires a dedicated tenacity….a spiritual hunger that drives you to feed on heavenly manna. It takes you to the prayer meeting instead of the potluck. It is not satisfied with a crumb here and a dribble there. It demands fresh bread from His table and new wine from His vineyards. When I look back at history and see the spiritual giants of the past, I always see a pattern in their lives of prayer, devotion, commitment and clear focus. Their faith was totally in God. They refused to compromise with the world around them. And they stood out from the rest because of their solitary devotion. Others called them crazy fanatics and lunatics. God called them his sons and daughters.
The Shekiah Glory Cloud
One of the ways the Lord overshadowed His people was in the shekinah glory cloud. It was the brightness and splendor of the supernatural presence emanating from God. We are told that the cloud rested over the tabernacle so that the priest could not enter in. God’s presence was so overwhelming that even the sanctified priests could not come close. Where is that glory cloud today? It is in the lives of believers who have made their hearts his tabernacle and who have chosen to walk in the Spirit, praying without ceasing, yielding to the Spirit of God. It amazes me that that same glory can dwell in these vessels of clay. Unfortunately, the average church-going ‘Christian’ has never experienced that presence in their daily walk with God. They chase the glory as they see it in others around them. They run to this meeting, that conference, wherever they hear the unusual is happening. They fail to realize that the thing they are chasing is supposed to be dwelling within them!
The glory will not dwell in the place of sin. We saw in Israel how as the people fell deeper and deeper into sin and idolatry, the glory cloud lifted, first from the holy place to over the tabernacle, then over the city, then it moved on… for no place was found in Israel that was prepared for the overshadowing presence of God.
Today, let us push past the chatter in the foyers of the church, the coffee bars, the stained glass, the plush carpets and move on into the altars and meet with God once again. We must repent of our sins. We must humble ourselves before His throne. We must pray and seek His face. We must turn from our wicked ways. Don’t be distracted by the voices of ‘prophets’, pastors or teachers, but tuned in to the voice of God and His Holy Spirit. God wants to speak to His people as He overshadows them once again.
J. Johnson

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