By Not Known
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Ex 33:14). This was the LORD’s reassuring response to Moses when he interceded for the Israelites. Very often you and I also long for God’s presence in a real and experiential way. We desire that most in seasons of stresses and strains; when problems disrupt our peace, when loneliness disturbs our emotions, when fears distress our hearts, and when the unknown displaces our directions.
The Bible records in various places how people had experienced God’s presence. In Genesis 12, God revealed his plan to Abram and directed him. In Genesis 18, God again mysteriously appeared to Abraham as three men to reveal a specific promise. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph confirmed that he had experienced God through the pain of separation from his family, and his sufferings and successes in Egypt. In Psalm 51:11, a repentant King David pleaded for God’s presence to abide with him. In Psalm 140:13, the upright could confidently live in God’s presence.
Although God’s people experienced God’s presence in different ways, there were common purposes and outcomes. They received divine guidance; they had divine fellowship through different life circumstances; they were convicted of their sins; they were committed to holy living. In Exodus 33:16 God’s presence authenticates his pleasure with his people and distinguishes them from other peoples. These are the workings of the Holy Spirit who manifests God’s presence in our inward beings. They are not humanly orchestrated feelings, nor imaginings.
So then, is experiencing God only a thing we may propose, but best left to God’s disposal? Jeremiah 29:13-14 teaches, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you…” Matthew 5:8 teaches, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Instead of dictating to God how we wish to experience him, the Bible shows us that we can become sensitive to his presence when we earnestly seek him with a pure heart.
Want to experience God? Live a prayerful life. Live an obedient life. Stand on the promises of God. Desire the things of God. Love the people of God. Remember John 14:23 where Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”