The Manifest Presence Of God: Sermon By Apostle Gobanga
Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle! And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud remained upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.Exodus 40:34-35 (AMP)
The most significant teaching of God is the omnipresence of God – He is indivisibly everywhere.
Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there.If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.Psalm 139:7-10 (AMP)
Before any one of us was formed in our mothers’ wombs, God knew us.
God is separated from His works of creation by a great gulf known as forever. God is highly separated from the work of His creation, yet He is very much present in each and every one of them. He is transcendent upon all His work. His works are separated from Him, but He is very much resident in each of His creation.
Creation testifies of His manifold work. We are able to perceive the heart and mind of God in creation and His glory though He is apart from His creation. This separation is as a result of the embodiment of His attributes.
Attributes that differentiate God from His works of all creation:
- God is eternal. Humans are not
- God is self existing. We are not.
It is impossible to hide away from God because He is omnipresent and we cannot be anywhere else that God is not. Nothing escapes His understanding. E.g. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the Garden of Eden after the fall.
Psalm 139 declares that God is found both in heaven and everywhere. He knows what goes on in hell. He understands the 2nd heavens and the 3rd heavens.
What God is able to behold is out of the fullness of who He is. He cannot see what is not out of His substance.
Whatever God sees and whoever He is, it is one and the same. Everything that God is able to behold is out of the fullness of His Deity, from the overflow of His substance. Because everything that God is able to do, is because of Who He is and is from the abundance of His being. David knew that the very seeing and being of God is the same. (Reference: Psalm 139)
Our existence is because God is.
For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring.Acts 17:28 (AMP)
I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.John 15:5 (AMP)
The manifestation of God and His presence are two different things. The presence of God denotes His omnipresence.
It is possible to have the general presence of God but not the manifestation of His presence. Many times, God visits His people but they are not aware. Jacob saw the presence of God and when he woke up from the vision he said that the Lord was there and he was not aware and he called the place Bethel.
Many Christians are aware of the presence of God, but are not acquainted with the manifest presence of God. Nominal Christians are at the lake shore but a God chaser will go to the subterranean levels of the spirit realm. God wants you to graduate from the shore into deeper levels of your walk with Him.
We must come to the place where we are discontent with the general presence of God and yearn for His manifest presence. It is important for us to not be acquainted with the omnipresence of God but to graduate to the manifest presence of God being registered in and through our lives.
God wants us to surrender our hearts, minds, and will so that He can reveal to us His person. He is looking for people that will cooperate with the person of the Holy Spirit in loving obedience. The Holy Spirit introduces us to Christ and then the Father.
We ought to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so as to attain to the manifest presence of both Christ and the Father.
It is this obedience that the Lord is deems to be better than sacrifice. God’s promises are conditional. The condition is obedience and abiding by His precepts. (Reference: Deuteronomy 28)
The manifestation of God’s presence makes you distinct from the nominal Christian that is contented with the promises of God void of responsibility of the same. When God begins to manifest Himself in your life, you will notice a difference in a nominal way of living. The change is evident even on your countenance. There is a light that shines through you and one is changed
As much as God is everywhere, it is not a must for God to make Himself known and reveal Himself in a particular place. He is sovereign. He is not obligated to reveal Himself in the same exact way. He chooses the where, the how and the when to manifest. In the Bible, He sometimes manifested Himself as a cloud, a pillar of fire, an angel, etc.
In Exodus 40:34-35, God choose to reveal Himself as a visible cloud right after Moses had finished building the Tabernacle.
God used to reveal Himself in the cloud and it was a visible manifestation. It doesn’t mean that God was limited to the cloud. God chose to use this means to make Himself known at that point in time. This expression is the manifest presence of God. It is not exclusive. God reveals and manifests Himself in other ways e.g. burning bush.
God’s presence was so concentrated in the Tabernacle that Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting. Yet this did not mean that God was not everywhere else in that same moment.
The Lord was not limited to that geographical location. He was there in His entire being – but He just manifested a fragment of his entire presence.
We should not worship the experience but the attribute of God revealed in that experience. The problem is that Christians have so often worshipped the ways of God’s manifestation, and have as a result missed out on the reality of God in that moment via that experience. Pentecostals are stuck on how God manifests. They are enthralled by power and loose out on the study of the power.
Experiences are not reality and do not remain the same but God remains the same.
The cloud was an opportunity for the Israelites to be ushered into an experience and therefore a reality of God. Realities of God are not limited to time and space. Reality is truth. Reality is eternal. The manifestation of the presence of the Lord is an opportunity to touch base with reality of the Divine that is not limited to the contours of time and space.
Doubt and unbelief causes saints to miss out on the move of God. Omnipresence and manifest presence of God – this view also causes people to miss out on the manifest presence. Why God manifests himself is because He has a purpose.
Most Christians do not believe that God reveals Himself in tangible ways in our day today. Yet He does. Because He is the same God of the Bible days. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Because God does not fluctuate. He is the same God even today. How He made Himself known to the Fathers of Old, He is still able to do so even today. Only the strategy changes.
It is an assault on the attributes of God to question how God operates. It is an assault on God’s sovereignty. God’s omnipresence is totally different from His manifest presence. They are totally different. God chooses to limit His manifest presence and hides Himself so that humanity will not become familiar with Him. So that when He manifests Himself, humanity is not familiar with Him.
The manifest presence of God is the revelation of His tangible reality. When God manifests Himself, it is because He has a purpose and an agenda.
The Triune God is more than capable of manifesting Himself in your life. God can reveal Himself in the most tangible, unique ways.
The experience will not make us know you met God. It is the reality of God that finds expression in your life that makes us know that you met God. Proof of an experience with God is fruit in your life – a heart change and transformed life – as a result of the reality that is to be found in the experience.
You do not have to be emotional in order to experience God’s manifest presence. There does not always have to be drama. If we limit the experience God to emotions and drama we are belittling the reality of God.
The Tabernacle was to represent the human person. God wants to fill us with His presence. God wants our lives filled with His presence. Just as the cloud filled the Tabernacle, so does God fill people today.
The Tabernacle represents the human temple. God wants your programs, strategies to stop in your heart because He checked in. When God checks in, everything stops.
God wants us to know that He can manifest Himself to us in ways that we have never known. Moses was a man of God who experienced God in a very unique way and we ought to aspire for the unique experiences with God too.
Before the real deal is manifested the Lord is cleaning His church. No more gimmicks. The renegade priesthood that has shown the Person of Christ for Who He is not, is being removed.
God also reveals Himself in the person of Christ the Messiah. Christ speaks of the glory of God being manifest in us.
I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one.John 17:22 (AMP)
This glory has already filled followers of Christ. It needs to be activated. This glory has already been given to His followers. It is just awaiting activation. When you realize that God’s manifest presence resides in you, your faith will activate the manifest presence of God in and through you and His glory will permeate in you.
Exodus 40:34-35 – the cloud was an accompaniment of the presence of God. The cloud was not the presence. It was a vehicle that contained the presence of God.
God’s cloud is consistently linked to the presence of God. This is because God decided to reveal Himself in the form of a cloud so as to protect sinful man. We cannot have an encounter with the pure presence of God. Our fallen nature cannot handle or survive the pure presence of God. The pure presence of God would destroy us because of our fallen nature.
And Moses said, I beseech You, show me Your glory. And God said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim My name, The Lord, before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy and loving-kindness on whom I will show mercy and loving-kindness. But, He said, You can not see My face, for no man shall see Me and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand upon the rock, And while My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.Exodus 33:18-23 (AMP)
The love and mercy of God protected Moses from the brilliance of the face of God.
There are things about God that God will reveal to you only when you can handle it. There are aspects of the presence of God we cannot handle. God will reveal to us His presence to the degree we have capacity to handle.
The more you aspire to walk in holiness and the more we desire God (meaning we align ourselves and our lives) the more the Lord increases His presence to you. The more wicked you are the more He is separate.
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened at all, that it cannot save, nor His ear dull with deafness, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.Isaiah 59:1-2 (AMP)
To a sinful person, there are depths of God’s revelation that condemns them. The presence of God is terrifying to the sinner. Sin is a wall that keeps us from communing with God.
So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.Exodus 33:11-15 (NKJV)
Moses understood that God’s presence was the only thing that would carry the Israelites through to the Promised Land and without the power and provision of the presence of God, they would perish in the wilderness.
There is no power and victory without the presence of God. We are only able to attain our inheritance when we have the presence of God.
If you do not have the presence of God, you are dead. Our lives are sustained by the presence of God.
And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.
And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look. ‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.” ’ “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
“This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’ “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:
‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, images which you made to worship; and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’ “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.Acts 7:22-46 (NKJV)
There is a level you walk in God and lose yourself. Saul (who later became Paul) walked with God and lost his sight and prowess in the law. He counted all dung! Moses was a man of great power and knowledge of the Egyptians but lost his speech once in the presence of God.
The presence of God makes you consider everything as nonsense. Only the presence of God adds value to what you own, your knowledge etc. When God’s presence is in your life, everything makes sense. When you genuinely seek for God’s presence, you will never get tired. Your reputation will not count.
The success of the agendas you want to undertake are dependent on the presence of God. Your life will only be sustained by the presence of God. Things like talents, gifts and abilities that will be of no use to our generation if we are not in the presence of God.
Going anywhere without His presence means that you are going without His covering.
God wants to fellowship with us, but it is dependent on our availability.
The kind of fellowship God had with Moses cannot compare to that which God had with Adam. Adam and Eve interacted with the pure presence of God as they had not sinned. The glory of God covered their nakedness. The more they fellowshipped with God, the more they increased in glory.
God will want to grant you fellowship to the degree that it will not harm you.
When God wants to react to sin, He reacts in righteousness to align and deal with that sin. Because of His love and mercy, God veils Himself with a cloud to protect our carnal man.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Psalm 23:6 (NKJV)
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”Exodus 33:19-23 (NKJV)
The cleft of the rock is a foreshadowing and symbolizing of Jesus Himself, the Rock of our salvation that reunites and reconciled us to the Lord. We can only see the invisible God through Christ. Only in Him can we be able to fellowship with God.
And they all drank the same spiritual (supernaturally given) drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them [produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality], and the Rock was Christ.1 Corinthians 10:4 (AMP)
Moses had a theophanic experience of the Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of the Lord.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”Matthew 17:1-5 (NKJV)
During the Transfiguration, God the Father spoke out of the cloud. Peter James and John walked with Jesus but at the mount of transfiguration Jesus uncovered a foretaste of Him in Glory. Jesus introduced the 3 disciples to a certain dimension of glory only made available to Adam. God veiled the purity of His presence with a cloud.
There is a place that God will allow you to get to so long as you are available and willing. There will always be a veil to protect us from His pure presence.
God is more than eager to fellowship with us. He did not scold Moses for wanting the veil of the cloud to be removed. He was pleased because Moses desired to see Him.
God wants the church to have access to His manifest and tangible presence in a unique way. He wants us to have an experience that will introduce us to a reality of Him that will be a turning point in our walk of faith.
There are certain experiences that the Lord wants to usher us into as individuals. There are things that He wants us to let go of, so that we can be ushered into the cloud of His presence.
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