I had an opportunity last Sunday to share some insights of God’s manifest presence at one church in Cavite, Philippines. The lessons and insights were based on my encounter with the Lord in July 2018 and Exodus 33.
Knowing that God is always present and experiencing God’s presence is not the same thing. Manifest presence of God is a tangible, clear or obvious experience of God in a person’s mind or eye.
1. We should crave God’s presence in our lives. Moses craved for God’s presence in his life.
Exodus 3 – Moses had an encounter and experience God himself in the form of a burning bush. Then in Exodus 13 – When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, God’s manifested His presence as a pillar of cloud by day to guide them and as a pillar of fire to give them light so that they could travel day and night. In verse 22 it says, neither the pillar of cloud by day or pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Exodus 33 happened after the Israelite asked Aaron to make them a golden calf while Moses was at the mountain of the Lord. Because of Israelite’s sin, God told them that He will send his angel to go with them.
Our sin causes us not to experience the manifest presence of God. Sin causes us not to hear from God. God is a Holy God. But Moses is audacious enough to say to the Lord that if God will not personally go with them, it is better for them not to leave the place.
Then again, still in Exodus 33:18 – Moses asked for God’s glory. Moses kept on craving for God’s presence and glory in his life.
We should be like Moses – crave for God’s manifest presence in our lives and surely, in God’s own bidding and perfect time, He will surely, surely give that desire of your heart.
2. Manifest presence of God causes us to repent from our sins. God’s manifest presence causes us to see who truly God is. When the Israelites learned that the Lord will not go with them, in verse 4, the Israelites mourned and stopped wearing adornment and fine clothes.
But do you know what amazes me with the manifest presence of the Lord? The manifest presence of the Lord purifies us. In Isaiah 6:6-7, Isaiah experienced the Lord’s purifying presence when one the seraphim put coal on Isaiah’s mouth and declared that his sin was completely atoned and forgiven. Manifest presence of God causes us to repent from our sins. God’s manifest presence causes us to see who truly God is and God’s manifest presence purifies us.
3. Manifest presence of God causes us to worship God. Moses has this heart of worship. Moses craved for the Lord’s presence in everything he does. It was a practice for him to always go into the Tent of Meeting.
Moses has the habit of meeting God. In verse 8-10 of Chapter 33, when the people saw the pillar of cloud which is the manifest presence of the Lord, they stand and bow down in front of their own tents. Experiencing God’s presence causes us to see who God is and because of that glory of His manifest presence, nothing and no one will be able to stop us from worshipping God.
Manifest presence of God causes us to truly worship Him for who He really is.
4. Goodness, mercy and compassion are evidence of the Lord’s manifest presence. Verse 18 – Moses again asked for the glorious presence of the Lord. Moses kept asking God for the affirmation that indeed His presence will go before him and the people of Israel. He wants more and more and more of God’s presence. In our lives, let us desire to be like Moses, to be bold enough to ask God, I want more of your presence. I want more of your favour. And surely, God will not disappoint us. He didn’t disappoint Moses before and God does not change. The more we ask for His presence, the more He will give. And where God’s presence is, there is a fullness of joy.
When Jesus came as Incarnate God (God’s manifest presence), wherever He is, there is healing, there is mercy and forgiveness, there is compassion.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Cor 3:17 (NIV)
The manifest presence of the Lord frees us from the things that we can’t control, the situations we can’t change, to the addictions we can’t turn back. The manifest presence of the Lord allows us to see that God is good; He is faithful and He is our loving God.