Manifest Presence of God P-4
"And Moses said unto the LORD ... Now therefore,
I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight,
shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that
I may find grace in thy sight: and consider
that this nation is thy people. And He said,
My presence shall go with thee, and I will
give thee rest.
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with
me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it
be known here that I and thy people have found
grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest
with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy
people, from all the people that are upon the
face of the earth" Exodus 33:12-16.
In this passage, Moses said, "so shall we be separated."
The idea being that the distinguishing mark between the Lord's
people and other nations was to be the presence of God. So
also today, the presence of God should distinguish His people
from all others.
Moses knew this people and was reluctant to lead them into
the promised land as they were a stubborn and rebellious nation.
Therefore he asked, "Show me now thy way that I may know
thee." We can learn to know God through His ways; what
He does and how He accomplishes it. Moses understood that,
as we watch God at work, we learn something about His character
and His nature.
The Lord's ways differ from ours. Some time ago, Hattie Hammond
told me something that I will never forget. She had been in
a large convention. A young man spoke and she said she had
never heard anything worse than the way that young fellow
harangued the people. Yet when he finished, the power of God
fell and the people stood and worshipped as the Lord poured
His Spirit out upon them. She was surprised and questioned
the Lord, "How can You bless a harangue like we just
Then the Lord explained that He was not blessing one word
of what the man had said, but He was pouring the Spirit of
rejoicing upon His people to help them forget what had been
I thought, the next time I rejoice for the Lord's blessing
after I speak, I will consider that maybe He is just using
His eraser. A word such as this teaches us something about
There is such a thing as "the personal knowledge of
a personal God." We can come to know Him, and begin to
understand His ways through the manifestation of His presence
as He makes Himself known to us.
Moses asked that he might come to personally know the Lord.
He was not speaking about an intellectual knowledge of God.
We do need to know and be informed, but Moses sought to have
a personal acquaintance with a personal God, through a personal
My daughter had many books about Queen Elizabeth and sought
to learn all she could about her. One year, I was able to
take her with me to France. We stopped in London on our way
to Paris. Because she was so fond of the Queen, I took her
to Buckingham Palace to see the royal guard.
She said, "Daddy, do you think we will see the Queen?"
She was very disappointed when I told her it was not possible.
The Queen was there, but because of a lack of relationship,
we were unable to personally meet her. Although my daughter
could share all kinds of things about the Queen, she still
did not know her.
But the Lord is available, and He desires us to experientially
"And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as
a man speaketh unto his friend" Exodus 33:11a.
Moses had this personal relationship with the Lord, and the
Lord was available to him. Here is a man so intimate with
God that we are told that God spoke with him face to face.
This means directly, not in a round about way through a vision,
dream, or a prophet. Yet though Moses knew the Lord personally,
he still prayed, "shew me now Thy way, that I may know
Thee." In other words, Moses desired to know the Lord
In a morning Chapel service, I spoke to the students about
seeking God. Afterwards, I was challenged by someone who said,
"Why do you exhort these students to seek God when they
have already found Him?" This person did not understand
the personal knowledge of God. My answer to him was that the
students need to know the Lord even more. There is no limit
to the disclosure of God to our hearts.
There were three areas in which Moses had a special knowledge
of the Lord. First, he had an intimate relationship with the
"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel
like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to
face" Deut 34:10.
Second, he experienced intimate communion with the Lord.
"And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a
man speaketh unto his friend" Exodus 33:11a.
Third, he had an intimate privilege.
"With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently,
and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the
Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses? Numbers 12:8.
Notice that the Lord is very concerned about how we talk
about those who are His personal friends.
Concerning this privilege, the Lord said, "and the similitude
of the Lord shall he behold." In my study, I use different
translations to gain understanding, as they throw different
rays of light on a particular subject.
The jewels of the kings and queens of England are kept in
the tower of London. Among them is a huge diamond that I have
carefully looked at. From one view, it appears to have a yellow
sparkle. From a different angle, it is green. From another,
it is red or blue. There are different colors, but it is the
same diamond. These translations are to me as this diamond.
In the King James version the term, "the similitude
of the Lord" is used. In another version, "the form
of the Lord shall he behold." A different translation
reads, "the shape of the Lord shall he behold."
Even though God is a Spirit and does not have a material body,
He has a localized appearance. The Lord gave Moses the privilege
to behold this similitude, likeness, shape, and form of God.
Jesus prayed, "And this is life eternal, that they might
know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast
sent" John 17:3. He desired His disciples to know God.
"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the
knowledge of God more than burnt offerings" Hosea 6:6.
In the days of Israel, the Lord was more interested in their
knowing Him than in all their sacrifices and gifts. In Jeremiah
24:7, we have a pertinent statement, "and I will give
them an heart to know me."
In the final analysis, the true knowledge of God is a matter
of the heart. This involves an inner capacity and capability
to enter into a personal relationship with God.
This is my prayer for all
of us, "Lord, give us a heart, the capacity and the capability,
to know You in personal experience."