by Christopher Harbin

Responding to God's Presence
Christopher B. Harbin
2 Samuel 11:1-15; Ps 14; John 6:1-21; Ephesians 3:14-21

There are different ways to respond to God's presence, will, and call to service. Sometimes we seek out God's presence and will. At other times, we run and hide. We trap ourselves within our petty issues and attempt to keep God from interfering with our desires, plans, and dreams. At other times, we are simply surprised to find God in our midst, forgetting our claims of his constant presence.
Hebrew is an interesting language. There are several aspects of its grammar and construction that seem odd from the perspective of English speakers. The verb in Hebrew has no tense in terms of time--past, present, and future. We infer questions of time from the larger context of a verse, not from the choice of verb. Yet there are times when Hebrew leaves out verbs altogether. We are expected to grasp from the context the form of the verb indicated. At times, there is enough guesswork with required that we may be unsure of the specific meaning. Psalm 14 is a good example. Traditionally, we read verse one as "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" More likely, however, the indication of the verse should read as "The fool says in his heart, 'No, God.'" It seems that here, the verb is actually not missing at all. As the rest of the passage denotes, the psalmist is referring to those who would ignore or refuse to follow God's will. That is one common response to God's presence, if a foolish one.
This was in essence David's response to God on the occasion of watching Bathsheba bathe. He decided to ignore what he knew to be God's will and carry on with his own desires and schemes. One step away from Yahweh's will called for a second, a third, and the murder of Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, along the way. David's down spiral quickly took him off God's path, but began simply by saying "No" to God.
There were plenty of ways to rationalize his actio ...

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