Presence | Most of us want to be in the presence of God. We want to hear His voice and see the weight of His reality. We sing lyrics like, “In your presence, all fear is gone” . Yet how true is this? When we want more of Him, do we really know what we’re asking for?
Repentance | When Isaiah came into the temple, God unexpectedly appeared, “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple” . Angels were singing, the ground was shaking, and smoke was surrounding him . How did he respond? Hands uplifted and shouts of praise? No! His first response was repentance: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” .
Awareness | When people come into God’s presence, they usually respond with great humility because two things become immediately apparent – (1) they are human and sinful, and (2) God is divine and holy . In our everyday lives, A.W. Tozer writes, “we have learned to live with unholiness” . When God bursts into our lives, however, a set of unlikely twins is born – repentance and joy. Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Repentance of sin is a sorrow arising from the sight of God’s excellency and mercy, but the apprehension of excellency or mercy must necessarily and unavoidably beget pleasure in the mind of the beholder” .
Pleasure | Indeed, that is how God’s mercy came to Isaiah. After he repented, an angel touched him with a burning coal and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for” . Isaiah no longer felt shame; instead, he jumped up and responded to the Lord’s call . As another forgiven sinner, David, once sang, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” .
Prayer | Lord, We confess that most of us have no idea what it means to come into your presence. As the writer of Hebrews reflected, “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” . Yet, even though we know that coming into your presence will humble us in repentance, we know that only in your presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore . Therefore, we long for you. Amen.
 Jason Upton, “In Your Presence.” |  Isaiah 6:1 ESV |  See Isaiah 6:4 |  Isaiah 6:5 ESV |  When Abraham was negotiating with God about Sodom and Gomorrah, he confessed, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27 ESV). When Jacob returned to Canaan after having been gone for twenty years, he said, “I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant” (Genesis 32:10 ESV). When the Lord interrupted Job, he responded, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6 ESV). In his last days, David made offerings on behalf of the people and he prayed, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly?” (1 Chronicles 29:14 ESV). When Solomon responded to his appointment to replace David, he said, “O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in” (1 Kings 3:7 ESV). When Jesus met Peter and enabled him to catch a multitude of fish, Peter fell down and declared, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man” . |  Tozer, A.W. (2010-10-20). The Knowledge of The Holy (Kindle Locations 1724-1728). Kindle Edition. |  Jonathan Edwards, “The Pleasantness of Religion.” The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 18-19. (in context: There is repentance of sin: though it be a deep sorrow for sin that God requires as necessary to salvation, yet the very nature of it necessarily implies delight. Repentance of sin is a sorrow arising from the sight of God’s excellency and mercy, but the apprehension of excellency or mercy must necessarily and unavoidably beget pleasure in the mind of the beholder. ‘Tis impossible that anyone should see anything that appears to him excellent and not behold it with pleasure, and it’s impossible to be affected with the mercy and love of God, and his willingness to be merciful to us and love us, and not be affected with pleasure at the thoughts of [it]; but this is the very affection that begets true repentance. How much soever of a paradox it may seem, it is true that repentance is a sweet sorrow, so that the more of this sorrow, the more pleasure.”) |  Isaiah 6:7 ESV |  See Isaiah 6:8 |  Psalm 32:1 ESV. See Psalm 32 (for a complete and joyful response to forgiven sin). |  Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV |  See Psalm 16:11.