BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.’ And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then he said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.’ So the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name’” (Exodus 33:12-17 NKJV).
As shown in the opening Bible passage, Moses recognized his inadequacy or limitation. He knew he alone couldn’t lead the people. He wanted to know whom God would send with him. When God assured him that His presence would go with him, Moses reiterated his demand, saying that he was ready to go only if God’s presence would go with them. Moses knew that God’s presence was enough to make him successful and prosper his mission.
Do you care at all about the presence of God or are you confident that you can do it alone? Unless someone appreciates the importance of the presence of God, he won’t cultivate it and seek it; he won’t do everything possible not to lose His presence.
God is everywhere, He is omnipresent, but you can personally enjoy His presence in your life and around you. It will make all the difference in your life. If you’re born again, you’re a child of God, and God is committed to His covenant presence with you. In Isaiah 43:2, God promises, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (NKJV).
But it is one thing for God to make a covenant of His presence with you, and another thing for you to know it, believe it, and walk in the consciousness of the reality of His presence. The covenant of His presence will mean nothing unless you consciously appropriate it and enjoy the benefits accruing from it.
David was conversant with the presence of God with him and enjoyed the benefits. Therefore, he could say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV). Did you see that? He knew the covenant and he declared it to enjoy the benefit.
You must declare with your mouth the covenant of His presence with you if you truly believe and you have the assurance that His presence is with you. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (NKJV). It is not enough that God has said it. You must say exactly what God has said. He says He’s with you, and you must say the same thing. If you say something contrary to that, you can’t enjoy His presence. Do you have the assurance of God’s presence with you? If you believe, declare it boldly even in the face of evil and danger. “Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, for God is with us” (Isaiah 8:10 NKJV).
Beloved, without His presence, you’re just on your own. You need His presence. You must come to a place where you say. “It is either the presence of God or nothing.” That’s another way to express the determination of Moses said. Moses was under the Old Covenant yet he enjoyed the presence of God. You have a better covenant, the new Covenant, established on better promises. You should not enjoy His presence less.
Those who enjoyed His Presence
All through the Bible, we see those who enjoyed the presence of God and the difference it made in their lives. You can’t enjoy the presence of God and remain the same. No, it makes a significant impact in your life as we shall see in this message.
1.God’s presence with Joseph. Joseph enjoyed the presence of God. Though he was sold into slavery and found himself in prison, he didn’t lose the presence of God. Genesis 39:3 says, “And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand” (NKJV). Did you see that? God’s presence with him made all he did prosper. So his prosperity was beyond his labour. I pray that God’s presence will make a similar difference in your life
Later, Joseph found himself in prison as an inmate, and Genesis 39:23 says, “The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper” (NKJV). Did you see that again? Because of God’s presence with him in prison, the prison keeper handed over to him and God made all Joseph did even in prison to prosper. Wherever you go, may God, because of His presence with you, make all you do prosper. God’s presence doesn’t leave you the same.
2. God’s presence with Samuel. Samuel is another Bible character that the Bible specifically mentions God’s presence was with. 1 Samuel 3:19 says, “So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (NKJV). Did you notice the impact of Gods’ presence in Samuel’s life as mentioned in that scripture? The LORD didn’t allow any of his words fall to the ground – no word he spoke went unfulfilled. I pray that the Lord will open your own ears to hear Him clearly and put His words in your mouth that He will confirm. Isaiah 50:4-5 says, “The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I do not rebel or turn away” (NLT). That shall be your testimony in Jesus’ name.
3. God’s presence with David. 1 Samuel 18:12 says, “Now Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, but had departed from Saul” (NKJV). Verse 14 of the same scripture says, “David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the LORD was with him” (NLT).
It is impossible for someone to achieve David’s military exploits without the presence of God. His presence with David was the reason Saul couldn’t kill him. Whereas David had opportunities to kill Saul, he didn’t because he considered him as the LORD’s anointed, even though God had already rejected him. It was God’s presence that enabled him to kill the lion and the bear and also Goliath (1 Samuel 17:36, 49-51). When God is with you, you’ll do great exploits. “But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11:32 NKJV).
4. God’s presence with Hezekiah. As king of Judah, Hezekiah enjoyed the presence of God. 2 Kings 18:6-8 says, “The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. He subdued the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city” (NKJV). Again, notice the effect of God’s presence with Hezekiah – he prospered wherever he went. This shall be your personal experience, in Jesus’ name. This is why you should cherish the presence of God. Moses understood this, as shown in the opening Bible passage. He knew that he wouldn’t prosper if God didn’t go with him. Don’t go forward without the assurance and consciousness of the presence of God.
5. God’s presence with Phinehas. 1 Chronicles 9:20 says, “And Phinehas the son of Eleazar had been the officer over them in time past; the LORD was with him” (NKJV). What a description! He had been in charge of the gatekeepers in earlier times, and the LORD had been with him.
This same Phinehas, a son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron (Exodus 6:25) during the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness, had, with a javelin, killed a fellow Israelite, Zimri, with his Midianite woman, Cozbi. Zimri brought Cozbi into the camp at a time the Israelites were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting over the plague God had brought upon them for committing harlotry with the women of Moab. Twenty-four thousand Israelites died in that plague (Numbers 25).
But Phinehas’ zeal for the LORD in killing Zimri and his Midianite woman stopped the plague. God was pleased with him and gave to him a covenant of peace, a covenant of an everlasting priesthood. “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel’” (Numbers 25:11-13 NKJV). There are two other people in the Bible bearing the name Phinehas. But the Bible says of this particular Phinehas that God was with him.
6. God’s presence with the people of Judah. The people of Judah under Abijah enjoyed God’s presence in their war against Israel under Jeroboam. “Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the LORD God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” (2 Chronicles 13:12 NKJV). Because of the presence of God with Judah, she defeated Israel. Verses 19-20 say, “And Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages, Jeshanah with its villages, and Ephrain with its villages. So Jeroboam did not recover strength again in the days of Abijah; and the LORD struck him, and he died” (NKJV).
When God is with you, victory is yours. When God is with you, your enemy is not facing you but God, and who is that enemy that will defeat God? If God is with you, it makes no difference who is against you (Romans 8:31). You have a guaranteed victory.
7. God’s presence with Jesus. I’ve decided to put this one last. Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30 NKJV). Jesus is the Son of God but He is also God. This is a mystery that non-believers find difficult to understand – the mystery of Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was on earth, He did His ministry with the presence of God the Father and did his ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:37-38 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (NKJV). Jesus was not alone – He enjoyed the presence of God the Father and the Holy Spirit was upon Him hence the miracles that accompanied His ministry.
The presence of God is something no minister of God who wants to walk in the miraculous can afford to do without. God’s presence creates an atmosphere for the supernatural. Without His presence, every minister of God is an ordinary person. Every minister walking in the assurance of God’s presence acts in faith trusting God to move to heal the sick, set the captives free, deliver the oppressed and do all kinds of miracles.
How to walk in the assurance of God’s presence
1. Come into a personal relationship with Him. This happens when you give your life to Jesus, accepting Him as your Lord and Saviour. In other words, when you are born again. Jesus said except a man be born again or born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Romans 10:10 says with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.
One of the names of Jesus is Emmanuel or Immanuel, which means God with us (Matthew 1:23). When you give your life to Jesus, He comes and resides in you. Because Jesus and God are one (John 10:30), it means God comes to dwell in you. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says that the believer is the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in him. Therefore, the believer should live conscious of the fact that he is a God-carrier! God is living on the inside of Him. He should live aware of His presence anywhere he goes.
2. Know the promises of His presence and put your trust in them. In whom is your trust? In what do you trust? David says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright” (Psalm 20:7-8 NKJV). God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 5:9; 6:15; Joshua 24:19; Nahum 1:2). Whatever or whoever you put your trust in other than God may work for some time, but you can be sure that such trust will ultimately fail. But God never fails; His promises are sure-fire. He has all the resources to bring them to come to pass.
Are you conversant with the promises of His presence? Do you know them? Do you believe them? Have you put your trust in these promises? At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon prayed, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven or earth. You keep your promises and show unfailing love to all who obey you and are eager to do your will” (1 Kings 8:23 NLT). The same prayer is recorded in 2 Chronicles 6:14. The New King James Version uses the word covenant in place of the word promises. Locate, in the Bible, the promises of God’s presence with His people, meditate upon them, and put your trust in God and in these promises.
3. Renew your mind constantly in the promises of His presence. Regularly read and confess the promises of God’s presence with His children to renew your mind in view of contrary and contradictory information the world is assaulting people’s minds with. Information about insecurity, danger, evil, death, etc. You need to constantly assure yourself of the presence of God with you amid diverse negative happenings. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 NKJV).
There are threats to the promises of God. If you don’t overcome those threats, they’ll render the promises of no effect in your life. You must constantly weed your heart. “For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns” (Jeremiah 4:3 KJV).
From the parable of the sower that Jesus told, we understand that any seed sown among thorns will be choked by the thorns even if they manage to spring up (Matthew 13:7). You must ensure that your heart is a good ground by getting rid of threats to the growth and fruitfulness of the promises of God in your life. “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13: 23 NKJV).
4. Don’t walk by your feelings and sight; walk by faith. It is true that there is the manifest presence of God when He decides to make His presence evidently clear. God may or may not make His presence manifest. It doesn’t mean He is not present. That you don’t feel or see anything unusual or spectacular does not necessarily mean God is not present. The presence of God is not limited to your feelings or what you see.
The promises of God are more dependable than your feelings. Feelings change from time to time; they are fickle. That you don’t feel or see the presence of God doesn’t invalidate His Word. Hold on to His Word. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV). Don’t be ruled by what you feel or see. The Word of God is superior to both. Walking with God is not based on truths – what you know, not what you feel or see. That’s why you may never find “We feel” in the Bible but “We know.” You won’t read, “That I may feel Him” but “That I may know Him.”
5. Avoid speaking words that feed your fears. Starve your fears; feed your faith. Proverbs 6:2 says, “You are snared by the words of your mouth. You are taken by the words of your mouth” (NKJV). David didn’t entertain fears because of the danger he faced. Instead, He chose to depend on and confess the promise of God’s presence with him. He declared boldly, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV). If you’re facing any danger and you start describing the situation and talking about it, you’re feeding your fear; it will grow fat, and faith will disappear.
Hear David again: “Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident” (Psalm 27:3 NKJV). That’s the right attitude to maintain. Refuse to talk about the negative circumstance or fearful reality staring you in the face. Whenever you’re afraid, don’t talk about the negatives; talk about the positives – the promises of God. Confess God’s presence with you. Negative words will create the devil’s presence and increase your fear. David says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4 NKJV).
6. Keep seeking God. This means fellowshipping with Him. Don’t forsake Him; don’t disconnect from Him. Seek Him in prayer, thanksgiving, worship, and Bible study. Hear what the Bible says about Hezekiah: “He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses” (2 Kings 18:5-6 NKJV).
You’re nobody without God; don’t trust in your strength, your intelligence, etc. – you can’t go far with whatever assets you have without the consciousness of the presence of God. Keep seeking God; hold fast to Him. “Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore” (Psalm 105:4 KJV). The New Living Translation says, “Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching” (NLT).
If you seek the Lord, you’ll certainly find Him. He doesn’t hide Himself from the faithful, sincere seekers. This was what Azariah the son of Oded told King Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin when the spirit of the Lord came upon him: “The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them” (2 Chronicles 15:2-4 NKJV).
Seeking the Lord will give you understanding. He is not far from you. He is with you, in you, and for you. “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things” (Proverbs 28:5 KJV). As you seek the Lord, He will speak to you; He will show you things you know not. “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn” (Isaiah 51:1 NKJV). He says “listen” because He wants to tell you something. He says “look” because He wants to show you something. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him’” (NKJV).
Seeking the Lord will give you life. “Seek the LORD and live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, with no one to quench it in Bethel” (Amos 5:6 NKJV).
7. Don’t practise sin. A sinful lifestyle will disconnect you from the presence of God. A lifestyle of sin will take you away from the presence of God because God abhors sin. His eyes cannot behold sin though He loves the sinner. Sin will cause a separation between you and His presence. Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (NKJV).
That’s why God has called His children to live a holy life. He says we should be holy because He is holy (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16). No sinner is a saint, and no saint is a sinner! 1 John 3:8 says, “He who sins is of the devil …” (NKJV). The New Living Translation says, “But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning” (1 John 3:8 NLT). 1John 5:18-19 says, “We know that those who have become part of God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot get his hands on them” (NLT). Sin and His presence don’t go together.
If you keep His commands, you’ll keep enjoying His presence. Habitual disobedience will cut you off from God’s presence as it will affect your fellowship with Him. After Saul had sinned and God rejected him, He withdrew His presence from Him, and an evil spirit took over. “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him” (1 Samuel 16:14 KJV). 1 Samuel 18:12 says Saul was afraid of David and was jealous of him “because the LORD had left him and was now with David” (NLT). But the truth is Saul first left the LORD by disobeying Him and there was no way the LORD could continue to be with him. Anyone who has enjoyed the presence of the Lord before knows what it is to be without it. That was what happened to Saul.
If you keep practising sin, you will be separating yourself from His presence. You will not find Him until you genuinely repent. “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them. They have dealt treacherously with the LORD, for they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage” (Hosea 5:6-7 NKJV). May you not separate yourself from His presence, which will seem as if He has withdrawn His presence. But if you return to Him, he will return to you (Zechariah 1:3; Malachi 3:7).
Conclusion: Do you value His presence? God has promised, and He is committed to fulfilling His promise. Daniel said the Lord would always fulfill His promises of unfailing love to those who love Him and keep His commands (Daniel 9:4). You’ll enjoy His presence if you’ll love the Lord, seek Him and obey His Word. God will never leave you or forsake you as he has promised (Hebrews 13:5). But it is possible for His children to separate from Him. By doing this, they will lose His presence, not that He has actually left them. Seek and keep His presence; walk in the assurance and consciousness of His presence. There is nothing like His presence.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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