The Manifest Presence
of the Lord P-6
"Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory
in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory
in his might, let not the rich man glory in his
riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this,
that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am
the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment,
and righteousness, in the earth: for in these
things I delight, saith the LORD" Jer 9:23-24.
God is infinite, but we are finite. Therefore, we cannot
fully know or comprehend God. But in many of His ways, the
Lord desires to be both known and understood.
"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God:
but those things which are revealed belong unto
us and to our children for ever, that we may do
all the words of this law" Deut 29:29.
There are two areas of knowledge concerning God; the things
which are secret, which are known only to Him, and those things
that are revealed, which can be discovered only under certain
The Godhead is an example of the secret things which belong
to God. The Lord has never revealed how He can be three, yet
only one at the same time. We may attempt illustrations, but
none are satisfactory. Also, the fact that God has everlastingly
existed without having a beginning, is beyond our ability
The Lord placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and told
them that they could freely eat the fruit of all the trees,
except one particular tree. Man is spoken of as being a free-moral
agent, able to do as he wills. However, the Word of God does
not indicate the absolute freedom of man. Rather, man is limited,
"Of all these things ye may freely eat, BUT."
In the original intention, the freedom of man as a free moral
agent was circumscribed; he was not totally free, rather he
was limited as he had been created to be dependent. "You
may go outside the circle of My will if you so choose, but
if you do, such and such will take place." Therefore,
man's freedom was relative rather than absolute.
Adam and Eve were under duress. If they went beyond the freedom
given them, there was a resultant consequence. Also, the Lord
has placed a limit on our knowledge of good. If we with intellectual
curiosity seek to go beyond the circle of Divine revelation,
and attempt to press into things which God has not revealed,
we will get into trouble.
For instance, our pursuing the origin of sin. We may trace
it back to Satan and find that there was pride in his heart.
But what originated this pride? God must have created the
capacity, or given consent that pride could develop in Satan's
If we press this kind of rationale, we will find, before
we become aware of it, that a question is raised concerning
the holiness and integrity of God. We have placed the Lord
in the position of being a defendant, with our being the prosecutor.
This will result in infidelity, and in time, our rejection
of God. All this may happen because we are pressing beyond
the limits of that which belongs unto us.
In their curiosity, some Bible teachers have attempted to
press beyond the limits of Divine restraint, and intrude into
the things which God has kept from man. For instance, how
God deals with those who have never heard the Gospel. Many
false and destructive doctrines have developed in this very
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,
Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely
eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the
day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely
die" Gen 2:16-17.
Some years ago, I visited a particular lady. I kept ringing
the door bell as I knew she was always at home. Finally she
answered and said, "Please excuse me, as it took a long
time for me to find the will of God as to whether I should
open the door to you or not."
She said, "I believe in being spiritual, and I do nothing
without first asking God. I ask Him about all my personal
affairs, and even about what I should wear." This goes
beyond the intention of God, as He has given us latitude -
"of every tree ... you may freely eat, but ..."
We do not need to ask the Lord concerning which dress, suit,
or shoes, we wear. There are many things in the area of our
daily lives in which the Lord has given us the sense and wisdom
to simply make our own choice, but there is a limit - "But."
Here, God established this limitation.
God can be adequately understood within the sphere of those
things which belong to us. We must learn to respect the silence
of God, and when God does not wish to explain, we should be
God shares some of His secrets with some of His people, but
not everything with everyone.
We tell certain secrets to our friends, but the older we
become, the less we tell, because we have learned. God is
very judicious, but He does share secrets with some.
"And the LORD said, shall I hide from Abraham
that thing which I do" Gen 18:17.
The Lord shared with Abraham the fact that He was about to
destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him;
and he will shew them His covenant" Psalm 25:14.
One year, I was speaking to a group of ministers in an old
castle in the Pyrenees Mountain area of France and mentioned
this verse. One minister said to me, "Do you know that
in the French bible, this reads, "the intimate communion
of the Lord is with them that fear Him."
This fear speaks of a reverential respect. Thus, our attainment
of an intimate knowledge of God involves our relationship
to Him. In Matthew 11:25, the attitude which will bring us
into this intimate knowledge is given.
"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank
thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because
Thou hast hid these things from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
We must set aside our intellect and submit to the activity
of the Holy Spirit in order to receive the understanding of
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom
and revelation in the knowledge of Him."
"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that ye may know what is the hope of His calling,
and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance
in the saints."
"And what is the exceeding greatness of His power
to us-ward who believe, according to the working
of His mighty power" Eph 1:17-19.
To receive the knowledge of God involves our having an esteem
for, and placing great value upon the knowledge of God. For
instance, in Proverbs 2:4,
"If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for
her as for hid treasures."
Most all of the choicest things of God lie beneath the surface,
and they must be searched out. These are not for the lukewarm,
or the half-hearted, but for those who are earnest and have
a heart appreciation of these things, and who demonstrate
this by going after them with effort.
Some things are not obtainable without our contending to
succeed, as in an obstacle course. For instance, Moses put
the tent of the Tabernacle afar off.
"And Moses took the Tabernacle, and pitched it
without the camp, afar off from the camp, and
called it the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
And it came to pass, that every one which sought
the Lord went out unto the Tabernacle of the
Congregation, which was without the camp" Exodus 33:7.
Moses did not make it easy or convenient, rather, he put
it out-of-the-way so it would take an effort to enter. Those
who truly sought the Lord gladly made the effort. This was
in fact a way of separating the wheat from the chaff, the
earnest from the indifferent. The Lord has a way of separating
One time I attended a service where the pastor understood
the ways of God. When the altar service would begin, he would
sit on the platform and do nothing for a considerable time,
until many had left. Then he would begin to minister to those
who were sincere in their seeking of the Lord, and, there
were remarkable results.
Later, I asked him why he waited so long. He responded, I
wait until I know that only those who are truly seeking the
Lord are present. He knew that the earnest would stay, and
the half-hearted would leave after a short time.
The Lord not only has a way of testing our earnestness, but
He assesses us from the effort that we are willing to make.
Only then will He begin to share the secrets of His presence.