If you have your eyes closed, how close does someone have to be for you to sense his presence? I cannot see God, but there are times when I can feel his presence. Part of what affects my awareness of someone’s presence is my feelings toward that person. In particular, fear and love have a strong baring on whether or not I will be affected when someone gets close to me.
In Joshua’s final address to Israel, he reminds the people that they must remain close to God, “But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day” (Joshua 23:8) and warns them against letting their affection toward God diminish because they are living among foreigners. “Take good heed therefore unto your selves, that ye love the LORD your God, else if you do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you” (Joshua 23: 11-12).
The word translated cleave, dâbaq (daw – bak′) means to keep close and is the same word that is used in Genesis 2:24 where it says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” It appears there is a connection between love and cleaving to someone because Joshua tells the Israelites to love the LORD and cleave to him rather than the foreigners that are living among them.
When my love for the Lord is strong, it seems like I am more aware of his presence. It’s as if the stirring of my heart tells me he is near. The only way I can control my emotions when I am in love with someone is to either constantly be with that person or to try and not think about him at all. The feeling of love is very powerful and it tends to be an all or nothing emotion in that you can turn it on and off, but you cannot regulate its strength or duration. The thing I have learned about keeping my love for the Lord strong is to never turn it off. It is much easier to stay in love than it is to fall back in love after you have stopped loving someone.