Exodus 33 describes a conversation between God and Moses. Moses boldly asks God to reveal His glory. Can you imagine such a request? Our first reaction may be shocked amazement. Then we might condemn Moses for his audacity. We would never do anything as presumptuous as that, would we? Wrong! We often do the same thing. So did Job. So did the scribes and Pharisees. Mankind has always made demands of God. “God, just zap me with a divine bolt of lightning and make me instantly pure and holy so that I will never think evil thoughts or say bad words again.” How strong our faith would be if we could just catch a glimpse of God now and then and know that He is real.

When Moses made his bold request of God, the Lord replied: (Read Exodus 33: 19, 20). These texts suggest the ways God reveals Himself even today. At times God passes so near one can feel His presence. We feel sure He is there. Although there is a dimension to God that we will never be able to see or comprehend with our puny, finite minds, there are times when God reaches us in special ways. Let me share five areas where I think we can sense the nearness of God.


We can see God’s handiwork in the nature that surrounds us (Ps. 8:3). The psalmist, staring up at the sky on a moonlit night, experienced the serenity of the evening and realized that it was God who made the heavens and put the moon and stars in their places.

Psalm 19:1, 2 presents a similar thought. The psalmist reminds us that when we look into the heavens, we see the glory of God’s creative power. The sky itself proclaims the work of His hand. Day after day, God speaks to us. Night after night He reveals His glory to us. (Read also Job 12:7-10.)

The book of Romans suggests that we all have reason to know God. Even if we have never heard a sermon about God, we are without excuse because nature shows us what God is like and what God has done. Maybe we can’t see His face. Maybe we can’t comprehend His vastness, but He is there nonetheless. Look around. Open your eyes. Learn from nature and feel the presence of God. 


Like it or not, rules and regulations govern our lives. They have been and will always be there. For example, God says, “Whatever you sow, that’s what you’ll reap.” God says again, “Be sure your sins will find you out.”

God has ordained certain rules and regulations to govern the way we live. But the world today stands in defiance of God’s rules and regulations. The world says, “We’ll live life our way. We don’t believe in God, so there is no need to listen to His Word.” But God’s moral order stays in its place, and man is powerless to change it. You will still reap what you sow.

The opposite is also true. If you sow good seed, you will harvest a good crop. God formed you and knows you inside and out. Since He created you, you will receive His blessings if you follow His instructions. God says, “Live life the way I have designed it to be lived and you will find that everything goes better for you.” Moral order exists and is a testimony to the nearness of God. He is always close to us.


We ought to experience God all the time when we come together for worship. He promised that He would be with us, saying, “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be.”

What a blessing it can be week after week to enjoy one another’s company and fellowship, to enjoy the food that comes from God’s Word, to enjoy times of praise and worship together, and to experience the honor of the Lord’s presence.

Sometimes God comes so close in moments of worship that you can almost reach out and touch Him. You may not see His face, but you know He is there, and you can feel the wind of His presence as He passes by.


Sometimes we experience the presence of God when we see the church operating as the body of Christ, when it functions as it was designed to function. You feel the presence of the Lord in the fellowship of the saints. I have seen this many times throughout my ministry as people pray for and encourage others, being sensitive to their needs, helping when people are sick or hurting. How beautiful it is to see the church operate as it should. This is a visible demonstration of the presence of God.


We can also see God in the lives of people who have lived faithfully for Him. Looking into their faces, you can see God’s radiance. You know God has been part of their lives and that He is near.

Our scripture text tells us that God is close yet distant. It’s a paradox, isn’t it? You and I will never understand everything about God, but this is an aspect that we can experience.

God is so near that we can’t help but hear and see Him. It is like stepping into the sea and feeling the refreshing sensation of water rushing over your toes. It is like the sea is saying, “Come on in, there is more. Take another step and see how good it feels.” That is the way it is with God. He says to us, “There is part of me that is close to you, but there is more. Step out and experience more and more of my presence.”

Jesus stood before a lonely world. The people of His day looked at Him and asked the same thing that Moses asked: “We want to see the Father.” In response, Jesus said, “When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” As we study the gospel, we see God. We read about God becoming flesh, breathing our air, eating our food, experiencing our temptations; we learn of His concern for the lost, ill, hungry, and poor. And as you see more of Jesus, you will see more of God.

Jesus shows us what God is like. While Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock, God’s hand covered him as His glory passed by. What a place of safety— to be covered by God’s hand. When we are covered by the hand of God, there is nothing in this world that can harm us.


Today we stand in the presence of God, and we’re privileged to comprehend just a little of His glory. We can’t see His face yet, but one day we will look into His eyes and see Him in all His glory.

Right now we listen and watch and wait. We hear and sense and know that God is near. He is in the sounds of voices lifted in praise to Him. He is in the moral order. He is in the church as it works together as a functioning body. He is in the people who have lived faithfully for Him. Look and see. Listen and hear.

General Conference Ministerial Association