Two Types of People
Humanity is divided into two groups: those who experience God’s intimate presence and those who do not. This is the world’s clearest distinction.
Look at the men and women of great biblical renown: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, Esther, Elijah, Elisha, Mary, Peter, James, John, the apostle Paul. What made them extraordinary?
What made them distinct from others? What brought heaven to men on earth and took men from earth to heaven through their ministries?
It was God’s presence … for everything flows from the presence of the Lord.
Moses’ greatest fear was the prospect of leading God’s people without God’s presence. In a moment of desperate intercession, he pleaded with God:
“If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16 NASB).
It had taken 80 years of training and brokenness, but Moses knew well that he had nothing with which to lead these people, if he didn’t have God. No leadership skill, persuasive words, clever wisdom, sophisticated marketing, or strategic planning could accomplish what needed to be done.
Moses needed God—and God alone. He knew this so deeply, it led to desperate prayer and full surrender. He would do anything to gain and maintain God’s active presence.
The greatest earthly king who ever ruled Israel lived for the presence of God. When David was attacked, he realized that God was his only secure place of refuge.
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues (Psalm 31:20).
He understood that God’s presence was the source of “fullness of joy,” and at God’s right hand he would find “pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).
When David’s soul languished, overwhelmed with the demands of life, he ran to God’s presence. He knew it was his only source of help.
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence (Psalm 42:5).
David was a great king because he was humble and dependent. He knew where power and deliverance originated. His first and foremost principle of leadership was to rely on the presence.
By their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them (Psalm 44:3).
David also knew he could never flee from God’s presence (Psalm 139:7) and that the nearness of God was his greatest good (Psalm 73:28).
Why were Moses and David such remarkable leaders? They understood the indispensable nature of God. They lived to experience Him and to help His people do the same. These seasons under Moses and David were the greatest times in Israel’s history because of God’s presence as both leaders and people cooperated with Him.
Longing for More
Souls who have tasted God’s presence understand this and long for more. They know the difference of an environment filled with God. They are overwhelmed when God seems to manifest Himself in a worship service, while giving counsel to a friend, or personally in the early morning hours.
They have grasped that more can happen in five minutes of God’s manifest presence than in fifty years of our best human efforts. They know that the purpose of their lives, and of every common day, is to live and move and respond to the presence of the King!
Excerpt from The Presence-Centered Church by Bill Elliff