Coram Deo: Before The Face of God. Discovering the Gift of Dwelling in His Presence.
Introduction to coram DEO
Mankind's past is littered with people who started off knowing God, possessing faith in their Creator; but then somehow, they lost their bearings. The Bible is full of men and women of faith that witnessed God’s power and yet at a later time, they seem to have contracted spiritual amnesia and made huge mistakes. The results were devastating. Consider the stories of:
• Adam & Eve
• Abraham & Sarah
• King Saul
• King David
• Simon Peter
All of these people of faith knew God; they witnessed God’s power or experienced His presence in some way. But they still developed some sort of spiritual amnesia and acted as if He were not present or could not see them. The results were painful and sometimes catastrophic. If only they had realized that God is an all-knowing, all-present, loving Father that only wants what is best for them. If only they could have maintained a sense of God's presence.
We must learn from their mistakes. Their stories are preserved for us through the ages for a reason. We must protect ourselves from spiritual amnesia and other temptations that stand between us and God’s will for our lives. We need to learn to live with the constant awareness of the presence of God and act accordingly.
This is an important spiritual discipline. “During the Reformation, ‘coram DEO’ became the rallying cry for reformers [like Martin Luther]… It meant ‘in the presence of’ or ‘before the eyes of God’” (Charles Colson, The Body). R.C. Sproul wrote that nothing marked the Reformation more than the awe of the holy, majestic God that drove the reformers to their knees in fear and reverence. The early church was marked with awe, holy fear and reverence (Acts 2:43; 5:11). What the church desperately needs today is a realization of God’s presence and a sense of that same awe, holy fear and reverence for Almighty God who loves us and is calling us home.
We know the stories of Biblical figures that lost their way. Are we any better than they? We are the church, the adopted children of God. We too, have lost our way. We suffer from spiritual amnesia. We have lost sight of our purpose in the grand scheme of things. We need our memory to be jogged. We need to be reminded of God’s power, purpose for us and His presence in our lives. We need to be motivated to change. We need to be spurred on to action.
This study is meant to look at Bible stories and ask the questions: What can we learn? How can we be different? It is meant to help us learn to dwell in the presence of God; as if we were literally "before" Him. We need to live like our life is always before the face of God.
Overview of the Chapters for coram DEO Lesson Series (weekly curriculum, 3 months)
> Chapter 1 God’s Design Genesis 1-3 God’s relationship with Adam & Eve in The Garden
> Chapter 2 Spiritual Hiding & Running from God Genesis 3 & Jonah 1 The Fall of Man; Jonah runs from God’s will for his life
> Chapter 3 Realization & Response Various passages Jacob, Samuel, Isaiah & Simon Peter – examples of men who realized God’s presence
> Chapter 4 God Forsaken Times Job and other passages Dealing with those difficult “God-forsaken times” in our lives
> Chapter 5 Transformation Exodus & Acts Moses, Saul > Paul, Brother Lawrence
> Chapter 6 Spiritual Amnesia / Spiritual Blindness I Samuel, II Samuel King Saul and King David
> Chapter 7 Renewing Our Minds Various passages Jesus, Paul, Martin Luther; It is in our minds that we live in conscious awareness of God’s presence
> Chapter 8 Our Mission Various passages Tending our garden, God’s unique calling for each of us
> Chapter 9 His Presence in our present Various passages Enoch, Elijah and walking with God daily; Brother Lawrence
> Chapter 10 Carpe Diem & coram DEO Various passages The urgency of living in God’s presence every day