When I hear the phrase “The Manifest Presence of God,” I think of how many of us look at His presence and how we can truly define and experience His manifest presence in our lives. How loud do we have to shout, how hard do we have to pray, how long do we have to worship to experience such a presence in our lives? Maybe if we read the bible more. Is this presence just to be manifest when we gather together, or is it in our daily walk.
Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Well If God is omnipresent, how can He only be in the praises of His people? Ephesians 4:6 says that there is One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Even when we feel completely alone and forsaken, God is that ever present help and comfort in every situation. King David said in Psalm 139:7-8 “Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” So what does it mean to inhabit the praises of His people if He is already there? He rests upon, or He makes His presence manifest in our praises. If we daily walk in His presence having Him the central focus in our lives, He will make Himself real to you and to others around you. No matter how loud you shout, or how soft you speak. No matter how hard we pray or even how long we sing. If our central focus is in Him, you will see His hand in your life.
How does He manifest Himself? In signs and wonders? In healing? Speaking in your heavenly language? In prophecy? Yes to all! But let’s not limit His hand to what we see or what we know. One can walk into an awesome manifestation of corporate worship and be so lifted up in the function of it all, yet once you go back to your daily routine of life, the excitement you felt has worn off. Kind of like going to an Amway convention. The same person can walk into a place where barely a word is spoken and walk out with a completely transformed life.
The manifestation of the Spirit is necessary in our lives, but the harder we try to work it up in ourselves the more we begin to realize that we need to step back and allow God to direct our steps. Let us not look for Him in any particular sound, feeling, or what we know from days gone by. Let us not be like the children of Israel, who only knew the works of God, but be as Moses who knew the ways of his loving heavenly Father so that the very glory of His presence was made manifest and shone in his face to the point that all could see.
I could blast you with scripture after scripture to prove my case, and probably make myself look pretty smart. As a matter of fact you find scripture interweaved in the common language of this article. But this manifestation is not as much about logic as it is a continual relationship. Not merely an external display of zeal but an inward excursion deeper and deeper into the very center of our existence, this is where God dwells.
Jesus said that out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. Even the streams of this awesome river shall make glad the city of our God. These streams are the outward evidence of that inner flow. He also said, in John 15:4-5, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." The fruit is not the branch and the branch is not the vine. However, the fruit would not exist without the branch and the branch would not exist without the vine.
When Adam & Eve recognized their nakedness after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they sowed fig leaves together to cover themselves. At one time the fig leaves had life in them. As long as they were still connected to their source of life, but once they were separated from that source, their life was short lived and withered away. So they continually needed to be changed and replaced. Those leaves could not be manipulated to portray the life they were separated from. The Apostle Paul tells us that creating a form or an image of his presence lacks the power of the source of strength it is trying to take after. The presence of God is not based on doctrine or experience alone, but on and intimate relationship with your loving Heavenly Daddy.
We can so easily in our own innocence of what we know throw away things that God intends us to have. Two phrases I have heard bouncing around in Christendom are “You have to chew up the meat and spit out the bones.”, or “Eat the watermelon and spit out the seed.” In both cases there is some truth. However, I remember with my father eating a chicken leg, biting off the ends and sucking out the marrow inside. Even though the bone looks ready to discard, there is still goodness trapped inside. If you take the seed from that watermelon and plant it in good soil, cultivate it, water it and care for it, you can grow more watermelon. So is it worth making gods out of our doctrines, experiences, and forms, just to overlook the life that our Daddy wants to give us to eat of. He has prepared a feast for us in the middle of all adversity. Even if what we believe and understand is good and true, it’s only the source of life that gives us life. This is our covering. Those fig leaves were at one time connected to life. Once they were separated, they were still fig leaves, the truth of what they were never changed. What did change is they were separated from their life source. I’m not saying to chase after every wind of doctrine, but simply allow yourself to be led by the Fathers hand, because he will lead you into all truth.
Earlier today, I reposted some wisdom I read from a minister friend. Within minutes, I had a comment flashed back in reaction of what some else had experienced in the past. Never seeing the fruit of what was given. He was holding on to his form of godliness, but denied the power of life. Was what he commented true? Yes, but not right. Isaiah says, “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” To run and not wear out is a good thing. To walk and not faint shows that we can endure what’s before us. But to mount up with those eagles wings, causes us to rise above the elements of our own strength and understanding, and withstand the concepts of mans wisdom.
Paul told the Corinthian church that the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. The Pharisees with all their knowledge of the kingdom were astonished at the teaching of Jesus, because his word was with power. Power from on high. Not manufactured by man but the building of a spiritual habitation.
We are his habitation. We are His dwelling place. To hide Him behind the walls of our own understanding or the wisdom of man is such a shame. But to live as crystal cathedrals, transparent before God and man gives our loving Daddy a beautiful place of rest where we can also rest in Him. Yes we are His dwelling place. Let’s be His resting place. That all men can see His manifest presence in us.