There was a time that I was a bit perplexed when I would hear someone say, "Oh, the presence of the Lord is in this place!" I would think to myself, "Duh, the Lord is certainly in this place. He's always in this place. How can He not be in this place if He lives in the believer?! Recently I've begun to understand the different aspects of God's presence. I want to take a moment in this post to break down the three that I see in the Bible.
Scripture first teaches about God's omnipresence. This is the idea that God is present everywhere. God asked the prophet Jeremiah, "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth?" (Jeremiah 23:24) And David realized the omnipresence of God when he said, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" (Psalm 139:7)
Secondly, the Bible teaches God's abiding presence. When we enter a relationship with Jesus and surrender to His Lordship, the omnipresence of God comes to dwell in us. The Spirit of the living God comes into our hearts, unpacks His bags and makes Himself at home:) He abides in us and hopefully we abide in Him. Jesus said, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." (John 15:4)
Thirdly, the Scriptures teach God's manifest presence. And I think this was the one that so often threw me for a loop. To manifest something means to show or demonstrate plainly, to reveal. When it comes to God's presence, He at times chooses to make his 'omnipresence' known to someone or a group of people, thus manifesting His presence. The thing about His manifest presence is that it doesn't always look, sound or feel the same but it's always undeniably God. An example of this manifest presence would be when God appeared to Moses in the midst of a burning bush or perhaps Abraham as he sat at the entrance of his tent and God strolled up in the form of a visitor. A New Testament example would be when the disciples prayed in Acts 4 and God literally shook the place where they were meeting. Each situation was unique but all were an encounter with God. He was choosing to reveal Himself!
There's nothing like God's presence! I'd rather have five seconds in God presence then a lifetime without it.