"WHEN SHALL I COME AND APPEAR BEFORE GOD?"
By Wayne S. Walker
"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:2). The unnamed Psalmist, one of the sons of Korah, feels himself painfully separated from God, perhaps in some way unable to be in the temple where the presence of God among His people was located. So he asks, "When shall I come and appear before God?" There are several ways in which we might "appear before God" today. One way is in prayer, by which we "may come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). In this way, we can never be separated from God except by our sins which will cause his face to be against us (1 Peter 3:12).
Another way in which we can come and appear before God today is in our worship assemblies. While it is true that when we assemble together we can teach, admonish, and exhort one another, we are first and foremost to "come before His presence with thanksgiving [and] shout joyfully to Him with psalms" (Psalm 95:2). I have visited faithful saints who were sick and unable to be present for worship, and they have told me how much they miss being able to assemble with the brethren, saying that they are so looking forward to their recovery when they can once again come and appear before God. I have also talked with aged saints whose health conditions simply do not permit them to be out of their homes or the nursing facilities where they live, and they also lament how much they hate not being able to come to worship. If we truly have the attitude expressed by the Psalmist in verse 1, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God," I would think that we would not want to miss a single opportunity to come and appear before God in worship while we have the time, knowing the possibility that someday we may not be able to do so.
There is one other way that we shall come and appear before God. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10). You and I will be there. What will be it be for us? Have we done good or bad? The only way that we can be prepared for that day will be to obey the Lord’s will in all things. Let us live so that we can look forward to that final day when we shall "come and appear before God."