The Manifest Presence of God - Part 11
Walter Beuttler

"And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it outside the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation."

"And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses."

"And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Exodus 33:7a,9,11a

The "omnipresence" of the Lord speaks of His presence "filling" both heaven and earth. He is everywhere at one and the same time. But within His omnipresence is His personally revealed, "manifest presence."

There are two aspects to His manifest presence. The first is the Lord appearing to us as a "person" in which He makes known to us, through one or more of our five physical senses, a measure of His thoughts or feelings.

The second is the feeling of His presence as an "inner glow" which comes deep within us. This is a "quickening presence " which causes us to become keenly aware of the spiritual realm.

"My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14

I usually travel alone, but not alone, because of the companionship of the presence of God. Last summer, I had meetings in Bangkok and changed planes in Singapore. We arrived at the Singapore airport early and a man said he would make sure my luggage was put on the right plane so I could be free to get something to eat.

When we arrived in Bangkok, several other large jets arrived around the same time. Passengers and luggage were everywhere, since the airport was small. All the other passengers from my plane had picked up their luggage, but my suitcases were not there. I went to the Tai-Airways desk and told them that apparently my luggage had been lost.

I decided to go to the hotel and wait for them to call when my luggage was found. Then I felt to go back to the conveyor one more time to see if it might have come while I was at the desk. I looked, but found nothing. Almost an hour and a half had passed and everyone was gone. I thought I must reconcile myself to the fact that my luggage was lost and buy replacements.

Just as I was about to turn away, I felt the Lord's quickening presence. It was so strong that it seemed as if the Lord was standing to my left, by the conveyor belt. I had an inner sense of calm as I felt the Lord had come to stand with me.

We stood there together, at the conveyor belt. I thought, if the Lord has come to stand here with me, I should not leave, so I kept looking at the conveyor belt. This lasted about fifteen minutes as I stood there, thanking the Lord for His presence.

Just then, my luggage appeared on the belt. It had been mixed with the luggage of another flight. I was so delighted because the Lord had come and stood with me so I would not leave. After I picked up my suitcases, I discovered that the Lord was no longer there. He came to help me because He knew my things would come. "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."

"Oh how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for them that fear You; which You have wrought for them that trust in You before the sons of men!

"You shall hide them in the secret of Your presence from the pride of man: You will keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues." Psalm 31:19-20

Here, the presence of the Lord is seen as being a shelter in which we are protected and vindicated, concerning that which others may say or do.

A teacher in the school where I taught was very critical of my overseas travels. She heard that I was planning to go to Liberia and asked when I planned to go. When I told her the first week of June, she responded that this was not the time to go, and said I should have heard from the Lord.

When I told her that I had heard from the Lord, she declared that I had not heard, and that I should have had better discernment. She told me that this was the worse time to go to Liberia as it rains so much that no one would be able to come to the meetings.

When I arrived in Liberia, there was sunshine each day and a full moon each night. They told me that they had never seen such beautiful weather during this season. When I returned home, I was able to tell her that we had a rainless week and that the presence of the Lord had been with me in an unusual way.

As a result, her criticism was silenced. When the Lord speaks to us in His " quickening presence," we can "depend" on what He tells us.

One time, the Lord told me to go to France. However, I did not want to go because the Germans and French were traditional enemies and my father had fought against France. I said, "Lord, I do not have money to go to France."

One evening during the summer camp meeting, the speaker said the Lord had told him to take up an offering for my travels. The amount of this offering was $580. The price of a return ticket to France was $552. Then I told the Lord my second excuse, "Even though I have the fare, I still cannot go, as I have no contact." A few days later, a pastor asked me to minister in his Church and told me that he would like me to meet his friend from France, who was visiting.

After I spoke, this man said, "Have you ever thought of coming to France?" Just then, a strong presence of the Lord came, and I knew that I was to go, and made the arrangements to do so.

When I arrived, I did not feel welcomed, as I was German. In fact, I overheard someone talking about me. Then I said, " Father, do you hear what they are saying about me?" When I said this, I felt a strong enveloping presence. It was the "shelter" of the presence of God. They still talked, and I still heard what they said, but now I had a fortress.

After the second morning meeting, I had come to know that they were not receptive to my ministry, and did not want me there. I felt very uneasy and told them I would like to go out for a walk. I had the feeling that they were relieved.

Although it was cold and raining, I went to a park and sat there shivering. I said, "Father, please let me go home as they do not want me or the message you gave me." There was such a presence, but I did not receive anything from the Lord. Then I went back to my cold hotel room.

Once in my room, I said, "Father, unless you do something I will find my ministerial grave in France." I thought of the tens of thousands of white crosses I had seen as I traveled through Normandy by train.

Early Sunday morning, the Lord woke me up and gave me a message that had to do with His personal visits to me. I said, "Lord, they will never receive this." After I spoke for about ten minutes, I stopped and asked my interpreter to tell the congregation that someone had an utterance from the Holy Spirit.

"Oh," she said, "We do not do this in France. This is not our custom ." I responded, "Please do it anyway." She said, "It just is not done like that." I said, "Sister, the Holy Spirit has an utterance somewhere in the audience ." We stood there arguing while they wondered what it was all about.

Finally she said, pointing a finger at me, "Brother says somebody has an utterance from the Spirit and should give it." A lady stood up and gave a beautiful utterance in tongues. A man stood up and gave the interpretation. In the interpretation, God confirmed that He had sent me to France, that He was giving them His word, that He was seeking to bring them into a new dimension of experience in God, and that they should receive the word.

With that, the Spirit of God fell, hands went up and this large crowd began to shout and praise the Lord. I heard a voice at the other end of the platform I thought I recognized. The pastor who had criticized and opposed me had his hands raised and was shouting praises in French as tears ran down his face.

He came over, threw his arms around me, asked for my forgiveness, and said " God has sent you to France, tomorrow we have a special outing for all the Churches, please stay and speak." This man was the leader of all my future visits, and opened many areas of France for my ministry. One year, they sent me to Japan, over the North Pole from Paris, and paid all the expenses.

It was the presence of the Lord that held me steady, a shelter to envelop me, protect me, and shield me from their words until God could break through and turn hostility into friendship to the glory of God. These experiences in His manifest presence are real and have a purpose.