God’s presence is ‘something’ many people find comforting. You can tell from the way they feel at home when they come into God’s presence at church or Christian gathering. If you’re in sin, you would find God’s presence to be the opposite, that something keeps prodding your conscience until you confess. In today’s note, I want tackle what God’s presence is.
To the Old Testament folks, God’s presence was something they could come and go away from. They had this notion probably because their father Adam and Eve were driven away from the Garden of Eden, where God visited (cp. Genesis 3:23-24). We know this because Cain was said to have moved away from the presence of God (Genesis 4:16), which commenters tell it to be somewhere around the Garden of Eden and even Jonah, who was carnal in his thinking did (Jonah 1:3&10).
All the same, we know that God’s presence is not at one place, where you can go or come to. The only ‘time and place’ this is possible is when we come into heaven or Mount Zion, where God’s presence continually abodes (Hebrews 12:22-24; cp. Psalms 132:13-14). Thus, we have Satan walking away from the presence of God when he wanted to tempt Job (Job 1:12; 2:7).
In Exodus 33:14, God decides whom He wants His presence to be with. Though Adam and Eve were said to have hidden themselves from God’s presence, God saw them and communicated with them (that’s just the love of God). Psalms 139:7-8 makes it clear that we can’t hide from God’s presence, not on this earth or even hell.
This brings me to the question, “is God’s presence resident in hell, because 2 Thessalonians 1:9 seems to say that anguish/ torment comes from the absence of God’s presence. I wouldn’t rely on testimonies of those who have been to hell but some seem to say that they sometimes see Jesus in hell. That means that God’s presence is everywhere, even in hell except that the torment is so much they do not experience it.
Have you ever felt God being distant from you? Sometimes you feel that God is far away? Well that leads me to this point, that God’s presence is a consciousness. His presence isn’t conscious; we are rather not always conscious of it. When we cultivate the presence of God by worship, we become aware of His presence that it is everywhere. Sometimes, it’s just not concentrated as it is in other places. That explains why sometimes some things happen beyond our control and we question God where He was or has been. The truth is, God is everywhere and is conscious of every place but we do not give Him the necessary attention.
Why do I say that? Psalms 22:3 says that God dwells in the praises of His people. If we will be holy and call on the name of the Lord everywhere we are, we will soon realize that that place becomes special, like a holy ground (Genesis 12:8; 28:19). When that happens, God hallows the ground and His presence dwells there forever unless some unscrupulous persons decide to make it desolate or abominable.
Now here are some things to learn about God’s presence. God’s presence is where His Spirit is; God’s presence is fiery (cp. Hebrews 12:29). No wonder the mountains melted and smoked when God’s presence came down on Sinai (Exodus 19:18; Psalms 97:5). The meaning of seraphims (fiery creatures/angels), who carry God’s presence tells you how fiery God is. It also explains why when anointing oil is poured on you, you feel fire burning.
Also, angels are the only ones capable of standing in the presence of God forever (cp. Luke 1:19). Fallen angels cannot stand in God’s presence for long because it’s tormenting (rf. Matthew 8:29). For some people, they cannot stand in God’s presence because it is too hot for them, as though they’re in hell. That is because they may be experiencing God’s wrath against their sin or maybe, they are being purged/ refined (cp. Malachi 3:2-3).
So these are the few things I wanted to share with you about God’s presence. God bless you.