By digging deep into the Bible you will discover God’s “come and go” principle. It is first outlined in Genesis and then confirmed by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew. God told Noah to go into the ark Gen 7:1 which spiritually is a picture of being in the presence and protection of God (the ark representing physical salvation from the flood, which foreshadowed Jesus as the spiritual salvation from sin and death). Then after the flood had accomplished God’s purposes, he told Noah to come out of the ark Gen 8:16. This picture represents the saints obeying God’s will to accomplish his purposes in the world. For Noah and his family, they were told to go and to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the whole earth Gen 8:17; Gen 9:1. So God spends intimate time with us, then later gives us an assignment to complete for his glory, thus we are called into the ark to be in his presence then sent in the power of his Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s goals.
Jesus tells people who are heavy burdened to come to him for rest Mt 11:28,29,30; later he tells the true followers, to go out into all the world to make Christian disciples Mt 28:19,20. Here we have the same principle. God says come to me and I will be intimate with you and bring you rest and refreshment. Later when you are ready, I will send you throughout the world to preach the good news.
God has also placed this principle in the natural realm. We need both air and food to sustain our physical lives and we need the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to sustain our spiritual lives. The Holy Spirit’s name means wind or breath and we need to breathe him in and out spiritually, just as we do with the physical air we breathe. We also need to feed on his Word daily to sustain us spiritually just as earthly food sustains us physically Mt 4:4. Intimacy with God should be happening on a moment to moment basis (just like breathing air) through prayer and the reading of God’s Word which will then prepare ourselves for each day where we can be God’s hands and feet to be used as He sees fit. God also prepares us for his longtime goals, such as Noah experienced, with a much more intense come and go period.
The Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters at creation waiting to spread his fragrance, just like the picture of the beloved (bride of Christ) that wanted the wind (Holy Spirit) to blow on her garden that its fragrance (gospel 2 Co 2:14,15,16) may spread into all the world SS 4:16. The waters is a picture of the lost world, rebelling against God Rev 17:15, Isa 17:12. The Holy Spirit has been pursuing mankind from the beginning to restore him back to God Jn 16:8,9,10,11.
The Holy Spirit is alluded to after the flood when God remembered Noah and sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded Gen 8:1. Here we have God’s restoration plan for mankind by the Holy Spirit through Noah. At creation God said let dry land appear Gen 1:9, which is a picture of God’s stability where believers get rooted and bear Christ’s fruit Jn 15:5 compared to the instability of the waters where rebellious man lives Jude 13 and Satan rules Eze 28:2; Rev 12:12.
This principle is revealed in Jonah’s story where he was rebellious and did not want to go and do what God had told him to do. He soon found himself in deep waters, spending three days and nights in the belly of a fish Jnh 1:17 until he was willing to come into God’s presence Jnh 2:2 and repent whereby he was tossed up onto dry land Jnh 2:10 now willing to be obedient to God’s request.
The centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant knew of this principle when he told Jesus, even I am a man under authority (there are commanders above me who give me orders) yet I tell my soldiers under me to go and he goes and come and he comes and they do it Lk 7:8. What the centurion was saying to Jesus was that he knows there is no one over Jesus in this world so he can command even sickness to leave and it will obey, even more so to tell his followers to come or to go!
God’s call to us to come into his presence can be as gentle as a loving woo or it can be as harsh as a disciplinarian woe. He desires us to go with a loving willingness to do his will so the time we spend in his presence will determine when we are ready to be used as his messenger or workman. Let us all have ears to hear when God is calling us to come or go.