As long as we’re on this planet, we’re under the Earth’s gravitational pull. In space, far away from Earth and its laws of gravity, we’re free to float around in a weightless atmosphere. However, without gravity, it is possible to become lost in space, floating off to a quiet death. In like manner, if we step away from the presence of God, we’ll feel Him less and less and the consequences are disastrous.
As far back as Genesis 3:8, after Adam and Eve committed the first sin by eating the forbidden fruit, “the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” We also see that Cain “went away from the presence of the Lord…” after he killed his brother in Genesis 4:16. In Jonah 1:3, “Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Immediately after, the Lord sent a huge storm followed by the whale that swallowed Jonah for 3 days. Do you see a pattern of sin and pain when we leave the presence of God?
The greatest fear we have isn’t the devil, it’s the absence of God. The Apostle Paul actually describes hell by saying, “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might…” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) Paul makes it clear the ultimate punishment is complete separation from God. We know from Joshua 1:5 that God will never leave nor forsake us, but can we walk away from Him for times in our life, like Adam, Eve, Cain, and Jonah did? “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2) We should pray we never embrace sin so tightly we float away from God!
Can we ever truly be separate from God? In Romans 8:38-39, Paul doesn’t think so. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” David doesn’t think so either in Psalm 139:7-8. “Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!” However, just as the force of gravity is stronger the nearer we are to Earth, the presence of God is stronger the nearer we are to Him. Let’s not leave God’s presence today; let’s cling closely to Him and His word.