The Presence of God Sets Us Apart
A couple of weeks ago, my husband was telling me that heard from others about a gathering of people that has emerged around the world, calling themselves the Sunday Assemblies. Basically, it's church without God. Wow.
It made me start to think about the difference God's presence makes. I believe God’s presence is visible, tangible, recognisable and powerful.
Because of this, and also other conversations I've been having lately, I have been thinking a bit about God's presence and I kinda got stuck on Moses and his incredible relationship with Almighty God. His tangible experience of God was incredible, and his relationship with God was intimate.
In Exodus 3: 2 -6, God meets with Moses in the most supernatural of ways - a bush that was burning. God spoke to him from a bush that was burning! I've been picturing what this might have looked like. How big was the bush? Does that matter? How loudly did God speak? Was that important? Probably not. The fact is that God stopped Moses in his tracks and the presence of God in that moment was so overwhelming, that the Bible says that "Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God." That's the majesty, power and mightiness of our God.
This was not expected. This was nothing ordinary. This was God choosing to connect with Moses in the most captivating of ways.
My own story has a chapter in it where God met with me in the most captivating of ways. It also was not expected and there was definitely nothing "ordinary" about it.
We had a visiting prophetess come to our previous home church (CCH) for a weekend ministry time - she is an amazing lady who God is using in mighty ways all over the world. She prayed over a whole bunch of people that weekend, praying for the power of God to fall.
When she prayed for me and laid hands on me, wow. I don't really know exactly how to explain it, but the only way I can describe it is that the presence of God fell upon me and I started shaking from head to toe. And I continued to shake; when I woke up I was shaking, when I went out shopping I was shaking, when I went to bed I was shaking... and this continued for 10 days! Yes, 10 days!
After about Day 8, I remember that I was trying to work at home but I couldn't type on the computer because I was shaking too much. I decided just to go lie on the couch and I remember saying to the Lord "In some ways, this is really hard as I'm getting weird looks from some, and other people that know me think I've lost the plot, but I really don't EVER want this to ever stop either." It is so hard to describe, but I guess in my very limited experience I felt like this is what heaven would be like in terms of the closeness I felt to my Creator.
Then a couple of days later, it stopped – and I was feeling a bit devastated. I felt like I had "lost" something. However, there were amazing Godly people around me who encouraged me that whatever God had been doing, it had gone deep and He hadn't left.
God had chosen to give me an experience of Himself that was so unexpected but so beautiful.
So, let's get back to Moses......
In Exodus 33: 11-23 we read that inside the tent of meeting, The Lord would speak to Moses face to face. That's intimacy right there, isn't it.
It continues on that Moses asks the Lord about who was going with them to the Promised land and how was the Lord going to organise it all. Doesn't this sound like us a lot of the time? But God you said... God, what's the next step, show me... God, you promised...
Let me just say, these aren't bad things to say or ask... in fact, this part of the story is all about the relationship that Moses has with God is reflected in how he has the conversation with God. And this is what God says to Moses:
14 The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
15 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us?
For your presence among us sets your people, and me, apart from all other people on the earth.”
This is what sets us apart... His presence among us… His presence with us, His presence upon us. I heard someone say "His presence IN us is for us, and His presence UPON us is for others." God's heart is that all people encounter His presence, enter into conversation with Him and respond.
This is the way we have been DESIGNED to live – in His presence and with His presence resting upon us.
God’s plan has always been to bring freedom to this world … in Moses' story, we see it when God's people were in slavery in Egypt – and He went to extraordinary lengths... seriously extraordinary lengths... to set them free.
Can I ask you this.... What extraordinary lengths did He go to to set you free? Who are the people around us that He is going to extraordinary lengths to set free right at this moment? Is he using YOU to bring His presence to them in order to release them?
If we choose to be a resting place for the presence of God, He is with us wherever we go, which means that when we are with others, His presence can be released in that space.