In this way the Lord used to speak to Moses face-to-face, like two people talking to each other. Then Moses would come back to the camp. But his young assistant Joshua, Nun’s son, wouldn’t leave the tent. – Exodus 33:11
I grew up in a Christian home. I was surrounded by music, stories, and events that focused on God. I asked God to forgive me and be my savior and Lord when I was 5. So, my first encounter with God was very plain, it was child-like, it was simple. It carried no deep theological understanding or radical spiritual transformation—it was natural and easy.
Even at that young age I wanted to get into His presence. I remember praying for God’s forgiveness and for Him to take charge of my life (be my savior and Lord) every night. I didn’t realize that I just wanted to get on His lap and stay there. I didn’t know how to articulate that, and my parents didn’t know how to explain it to me. They just knew that I only had to be saved once, but, without understanding it then, I knew I needed to be saved—I needed to snuggle on Daddy’s lap—every day, all the time. I needed His presence then, and I need His presence every day now.
When you encounter God, you enter His very presence. The Bible teaches that you must seek His face first (relationship and encounter), not His hand (the things He does in our lives and the world). When you seek His face though, you see the working of His hand, and your faith grows! It is this place of encounter with God that you learn to see, hear, and feel His presence.
Seek His Face
Just as there is a place for encounter, and a response to God’s calling into encounter, God’s tangible presence is also there in your encounters with Him. He is calling you to be with Him, to hang out with Him, and to know who He is and what He is like.
Exodus 33:12-23 – Moses Pleads with God
The Israelites had just been caught worshiping the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain talking with God. Moses was frustrated and concerned that God would forsake them for breaking the promise already, so he pleads with God to give them a second chance. God agrees out of His infinite mercy and grants Moses a request.
So, Moses asks for something audaciously—at least for a human asking the Almighty God. He asks to see God’s face, to behold His glorious presence. God reveals Himself to Moses because he asked first for God—God above and before any other consideration. He spent so much time in God’s presence that the Israelites asked him to cover his face because it glowed as it reflected God’s glory. He sought God’s presence regularly and experienced the power of God’s hand at work in his life and in the fledgling nation of Israel.
YOU EXPERIENCE THE POWER OF GOD’S HAND WHEN YOU SEEK HIS FACE—YOU ENCOUNTER HIS VERY PRESENCE.
God Works in Community During Encounter
God’s presence is many faceted—He is a triune God, three-in-one. And that is what makes experiencing His presence so unique. There are many ways to experience His presence. He is the Almighty Father, Comforter, Counselor, Friend, and Brother (to name a few)—experiencing any one of those aspects, let alone all of them, can be an overwhelming experience. Regardless of these many facets, God always works in community with Himself and with you for your good.
Matthew 3:11-17 – Baptism of Jesus
John knew that God’s presence was coming in a new way on earth. He baptized as a symbol, a precursor, for what God wanted to do through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He preached the imminent appearance of God’s Kingdom on earth that would be carried and made real through Jesus’ collaborative ministry (He did what he saw the father doing by the power of the Holy Spirit).
In the baptism of Jesus, you can see a demonstration of God’s manifest presence. Jesus, God in the flesh, was anointed by the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove while the Father spoke a blessing of love and joy over Jesus. All three persons of the godhead were present and active to launch the manifestation of God’s Kingdom on earth.
1 Peter 1:2-5 & 2 Corinthians 13:13 – A New Birth, a Living Hope
God the Father, through the work of the Holy Spirit and the sacrifice of Jesus, brings you into relationship with Him. He collaborates with you to make you into something new. An encounter with Him is life changing and results in a bond of fellowship between you all.
When you encounter God, it is an opportunity for you to be remade. His loving presence can be experienced through fear and trembling, extravagant joy and laughter, quiet introspection, weeping, and many other means. It will not leave you unimpacted, but for it to truly bring change you must choose to participate. Allow yourself to experience what He reveals and be remade into a new creation with an intimate fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
JESUS IS THE WAY. THE FATHER IS THE DESTINATION. (JOHN 14:6)
Choose Your Destination
You choose. You participate. You are the seeker. Just like Moses, seek God’s face—ask audaciously for His presence. Be like I was as a child, and climb in Daddy’s lap every day, no matter what it takes. Seek His presence above any other consideration. Just be—be in His presence!