The Manifest Presence of God - Part 6
Walter Beuttler

"Thus says the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says the LORD." Jeremiah 9:23-24

God is infinite, but we are finite. Therefore, we cannot fully know or comprehend God. But in many of His ways, the Lord desires to be both known and understood.

"The secret things belong to the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29

There are two areas of knowledge concerning God; the things which are " secret," which are known only to Him, and those things that are "revealed," which can be discovered only under certain conditions.

The Godhead is an example of the secret things, which belong to God. The Lord has never revealed how He can be three, yet only one at the same time. We may attempt illustrations, but none are satisfactory. Also, the fact that God has everlastingly existed without having a beginning is beyond our ability to comprehend.

The Lord placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and told them that they could freely eat the fruit of all the trees, except one particular tree. Man is spoken of as being a free-moral agent, able to do as he wills. However, the Word of God does not indicate the absolute freedom of man. Rather, man is limited, "Of all these things ye may freely eat, BUT."

In the original intention, the freedom of man as a free moral agent was circumscribed; he was not totally free, rather he was limited as he had been created to be dependent. You may go outside the circle of My will if you so choose, but if you do, such and such will take place. Therefore, man's freedom was relative rather than absolute.

Adam and Eve were under duress. If they went beyond the freedom given them, there was a resultant consequence. Also, the Lord has placed a limit on our knowledge of good. If we, with intellectual curiosity seek to go beyond the circle of Divine revelation, and attempt to press into things, which God has not revealed, we will get into trouble.

For instance, our pursuing the origin of sin- we may trace it back to Satan and find that there was pride in his heart. But what originated this pride? God must have created the capacity, or given consent that pride could develop in Satan's heart.

If we press this kind of rationale, we will find, before we become aware of it, that a question is raised concerning the holiness and integrity of God. We have placed the Lord in the position of being a defendant, with our being the prosecutor. This will result in infidelity, and in time, our rejection of God. All this may happen because we are pressing beyond the limits of that which belongs unto us.

In their curiosity, some Bible teachers have attempted to press beyond the limits of Divine restraint, and intrude into the things, which God has kept from man. For instance, how God deals with those who have never heard the Gospel. Many false and destructive doctrines have developed in this very way.

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die." Genesis 2:16-17

Some years ago, I visited a particular lady. I kept ringing the doorbell, as I knew she was always at home. Finally she answered and said, Please excuse me, as it took a long time for me to find the will of God as to whether I should open the door to you or not.

She said, I believe in being spiritual, and I do nothing without first asking God. I ask Him about all my personal affairs, and even about what I should wear. This goes beyond the intention of God, as He has given us latitude - of every tree ... you may freely eat, but...

We do not need to ask the Lord concerning which dress, suit, or shoes, we wear. There are many things in the area of our daily lives in which the Lord has given us the sense and wisdom to simply make our own choice, but there is a limit - But. Here, God established this limitation.

God can be adequately understood within the sphere of those things, which belong to us. We must learn to respect the silence of God, and when God does not wish to explain, we should be content.

God shares some of His secrets with some of His people, but not everything with everyone.

We tell certain secrets to our friends, but the older we become, the less we tell, because we have learned. God is very judicious, but He does share secrets with some.

"And the LORD said, shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do." Genesis 18:17

The Lord shared with Abraham the fact that He was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and he will show them His covenant." Psalm 25:14

One year, I was speaking to a group of ministers in an old castle in the Pyrenees Mountain area of France and mentioned this verse. One minister said to me, Do you know that in the French Bible, this reads, "the intimate communion of the Lord is with them that fear Him."

This fear speaks of a reverential respect. Thus, our attainment of an intimate knowledge of God involves our relationship to Him. In Matthew 11:25, the attitude, which will bring us into this intimate knowledge, is given.

"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes."

We must set aside our intellect and submit to the activity of the Holy Spirit in order to receive the understanding of His ways.

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

"And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power." Ephesians 1:17-19

To receive the knowledge of God involves our having esteem for, and placing great value upon the knowledge of God. For instance, in Proverbs 2:4,

"If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures."

Most all of the choicest things of God lie beneath the surface, and they must be searched out. These are not for the lukewarm, or the half-hearted, but for those who are earnest and have a heart appreciation of these things, and who demonstrate this by going after them with effort.

Some things are not obtainable without our contending to succeed, as in an obstacle course. For instance, Moses put the tent of the Tabernacle afar off.

"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, that every one which sought the Lord went out to the Tabernacle of the congregation, which was outside the camp." Exodus 33:7

Moses did not make it easy or convenient, rather, he put it "out-of-the-way" so it would take an effort to enter. Those who truly sought the Lord gladly made the effort. This was in fact a way of separating the wheat from the chaff, the earnest from the "indifferent." The Lord has a way of separating people.

One time I attended a service where the pastor understood the ways of God. When the altar service would begin, he would sit on the platform and do nothing for a considerable time, until many had left. Then he would begin to minister to those who were sincere in their seeking of the Lord, and, there were remarkable results.

Later, I asked him why he waited so long. He responded, I wait until I know that only those who are truly seeking the Lord are present. He knew that the earnest would stay, and the half-hearted would leave after a short time.

The Lord not only has a way of testing our earnestness, but He assesses us from the effort that we are willing to make. Only then will He begin to share the secrets of His presence.