To be a member of God’s true Church, you must be known by the name of Jehovah Shammah—Hebrew for “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). Others must be able to say of you, “It’s clear to me that the Lord is with this person. Every time I see him, I sense the presence of the Lord. His life truly reflects the glory and presence of God.”
If we are honest, we must admit we do not sense the Lord’s sweet presence in each other very often. Why is that? Christians spend their time involved in good religious activities—prayer groups, Bible studies, outreach ministries, home groups—and that’s all very commendable. But many of these same Christians spend little if any time at all ministering to the Lord, in the secret closet of prayer and study.
The Lord’s presence simply cannot be faked. This is true whether it applies to an individual’s life or to a church body. When I speak of God’s presence, I am not talking about some kind of spiritual aura that mystically surrounds a person or that comes down in a church service. Rather, I am talking about the result of a simple but powerful walk of faith. Whether that is manifested in a Christian’s life or in an entire congregation, it causes people to take note. They tell themselves, “This person has been with Jesus,” or, “This congregation truly believes what they preach.”
It takes much more than a righteous pastor to produce a Jehovah Shammah church. It takes righteous, shut-in people of God. If a stranger comes out of a church service and says, “I felt the presence of Jesus there,” you can be sure it wasn’t just because of the preaching or the worship. It was because a righteous congregation had entered God’s house, and the Lord’s glory was abiding in their midst.
In Acts 4:13 we read about Peter and John when they were taken before the High Priest and other rulers: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”