“And Jacob awakened out of his sleep and he said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not’” (Genesis 28:16).
This is an experience common to most; they know God but they don’t know that He is here; Jacob’s trouble is ours. We understand from the scriptures that God is omnipresent and Jesus tells us that when we are discreetly charitable, or when we pray in the privacy of our prayer closet, the Father is watching in secret.
But there is a difference between the presence and the manifestation of that presence; God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. The presence is everywhere and always; the manifestation of that presence is not something that is in the experience of many Christians today; that is why there is little power in the Church, because it is only the presence of God that lends power to the works of men. What a difference it would make if men only knew the presence of God!
We can have the presence without the manifestation of the presence; indeed, this is the common condition of Christianity. God’s presence is only manifest where man is surrendered utterly to the Spirit of God, whose work it is to reveal to us the Lord Himself.
The manifestation of the presence of God is the difference between a faith that produces a nominal Christian life and a faith that reflects the radiance of His Shekinah glory.
Some carry about with them that holy presence and others don’t, but since “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), all that He has done for one He will do for all. The difference lies not with God but with us; only absolute surrender will release the manifestation of God’s presence to the believer. It is one thing to say “Lord, Lord” and quite another to obey the commandments of the Lord; when obedience is added to our belief in Christ the Saviour, then we have biblical faith and we will know the thrilling joy of His holy presence.