I would like to give you 3 different types or aspects of God’s presence.
The first is the aspect of God’s omni-presence.
God is everywhere, that prefix ‘omni’ just means all. All present. Omnipotent means all powerful all potent.
‘Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.’
In verse 7 The Bible uses the word wither which means to ‘to where?’ The Psalmist here is asking a hypothetical question for it is impossible to escape the presence of the Lord.
We see in these verses The Bible using extreme examples on this matter, like ascending into Heaven, making your bed in Hell, or going right out to the middle of the ocean...it is impossible to escape God’s presence
for God’s presence exists everywhere.
‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.’
‘Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?
saith the Lord.’ Jeremiah 23:24
Unsaved people in this world are in spiritual darkness and yet God is never far away.
‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’
In Acts 17:26-28 the context is the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill, preaching to the philosophers and epicureans.
Paul tells them 'in Him, we live and move,' our physical life is powered by God.
‘And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.’
God is the author of life and originally created the first living beings. Life is a Divine act.
Even the unbeliever in God lives and moves and has his/her being, physically not spiritually, for the The Lord sustains the whole universe. So, we understand His omnipresence. God is everywhere.
Then there is God’s physical presence.
In Genesis 3:8 we see God’s literal, physical presence. Let’s read
‘And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.’
And in Genesis 4:16
‘And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.’
Then in the New Testament, John 1 tells us In the beginning was the Word.
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’
Jesus Christ is the Word made Flesh, He was with The Father and The Holy Spirit literally before the foundation of the world. He later became flesh and dwelt among us, paying for the sins of the whole world so that we may have salvation through Him and inherit eternal life.
‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.’ Matthew 1:23
God is already with us. Yes, though it is in a different capacity when he is bodily, physically among us.
Jesus Christ is God and he dwelled among us. In John’s first Epistle we see in 1 John 1:1 ‘and our hands have handled of the word of life’ and in verse 2 they touched him and checked out the holes in his hands and the wound on his side.
Jesus was physically amongst them.
'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)'
1 John 1:1-2
This is a physical presence of God with us. The Word made flesh. Jesus Christ came in the flesh as an actual, literal human being who lived among us.
In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel talked about being in the presence of God.
'And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.' Luke 1:19
God the Father has also come to the earth (not in a bodily form like Jesus the Son) He showed up at the burning bush and speaks to Moses and tells him that no man can man see the Father’s face and live.
'And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:'
Some more verses on the literal, physical presence of the Lord.
‘Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.’
1 Chronicles 16:33
‘And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.’
‘So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.’ Job 2:7
‘The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.’
‘Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;’ Psalm 114:7
‘I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger.’ Jeremiah 4:26
So, this is beyond omnipresence as this is God actually showing up. Whether it is Jesus Christ in the flesh or whether it is God the Father there is a physical presence.
The Holy Spirit is literally present in the Book of Acts when the day of Pentecost is fully come, and there is a mighty rushing wind and they are baptised in the spirit.
So, we see, there is God’s omni-presence (He is everywhere) and as we have seen there is God physically showing up and Jesus Christ is the best example of that.
Then there is a 3rd aspect which is God's spiritual presence.
In Matthew 18:20 Jesus tells us that where two or three are gathered there am I in the midst of them.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
That isn’t God's omni-presence and it isn’t a literal, physical presence either, as in we start praying and Jesus is physically there in the room with us! This type of presence is that He is present with us in spirit. It is His spiritual presence.
Let's examine this verse from the Gospel of Matthew.
'And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.' Matthew 28:18
This means that if we go out to fulfil the Great Commission, Preach the Gospel, Baptise converts etc, Christ goes with us.
He will always be with us in terms of omni-presence but he’s not always with us spiritually, if for example we become backslidden, walk into a bar, or casino etc.
The Bible says to the believer that Christ is in you, the hope of Glory, that you may be filled with the fullness of heart.
He lives in our heart but is He physically located there? No that is a spiritual presence.
Is He in the hearts of unsaved people? No for the lost are in spiritual darkness.
When Jesus said 'he that is not with us is against us' this is the kind of ‘with us’ that Jesus meant.
Jesus Christ went out to save and reach the lost. Showing love, being kind to them. We should do they same, follow in His footsteps. The lost are not the enemy, rather they are victims of the enemy.
In Exodus 33:12 My Presence shall go with thee The Bible reads
'And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 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.' Exodus 33:12
Moses says if God is not going with me I’m not going! Why does he say this?
Because if God’s not with you it’s a jungle out there. Do you really want to go about your daily life without God with you?
That would be hard. That would be scary who knows what’s going to happen.
Going to work and God’s not with you? Going to Church and God’s not with you? Going into marriage and God’s not with you? Going to see a doctor and God's not with you? No thanks!
But when God is with you, you fear nothing.
'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' Psalm 23:4
At least if God’s chastening me I know He’s with me.
‘For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.’
If God is with us even when things go wrong, then we know God is with us.
He is with you, supporting you, all is good.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
So, there are 3 levels of God’s presence, God’s omnipresence, God’s physical presence and God’s spiritual presence with believers who are walking in the light.
And finally, you say, how do I get this presence? Well first of all you pray and invite Jesus in.
'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.' Revelation 3:20
Next, get involved in the things of God, go to Church, go and try and reach the lost, encourage other Christians, pray often, read your Bible, listen to and sing songs of praise to God, show Christian love and charity.
Even on your worst day as a Christian you're still better off than the unsaved person who is without hope. But let’s get out and try and reach that lost person, and others and try our best to live for God.
‘In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’