Warner's TheoBlog

Thoughts from a disciple who writes

Obviously Transformed


How is it that we can tell if a person is close to God?

In my recent times with the Bible reading about Moses, I have found myself drawn, time and again, to the passages where he and the people of Israel encounter God. It blows my mind to think that every day of their journey through the wilderness, these men and women were able to see and experience the presence of God.

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterwards all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” (Exodus 34:29-35)

In this passage, we see Moses returning from the presence of God with the second set of stone tablets with the words of the law. There are a few remarkable things that I would like to point out.

  • Moses’ face was radiant. This is not to say that he had a particularly effective skincare regime. Moses’ actual face shone with the actual radiance of God’s glory and presence. He was reflecting God’s presence in such a way that it showed.
  • People noticed. The leaders and the people were frightened to come near to Moses, because of the radiance of his face. They recognise in him something overwhelming of the holiness and presence of God. The reality of the glory of God that showed in Moses’ face struck fear into them.
  • The radiance in Moses’ face was the evidence that he had been speaking to God. This was a physical and obvious manifestation of God’s reality. Moses did not need to tell the people where he had been… it was clear and obvious. God’s glory was shining from Moses face. His words had authority because Moses was displaying God.
  • Moses had to cover his face so that the people could function. The veil was not for the benefit of Moses, but for the people. Those who were far from the presence of God were simply unable to cope with the proof and evidence of God’s presence. Had Moses not have covered his face, he never would have got anything done.
  • Moses uncovered his face to prove his words. Moses was shining with the presence of God whether people wanted to see it or not. It is the presence of God that is important, not what people want to see. But when Moses wanted to tell the people about God’s will he ensured that the proof of the effect of God’s presence was plain for all to see.

As I think and pray, it seems to me that it is VITAL that the people who speak to us about the word of God need to display the presence of God. If I am to speak God’s Word, I must display God’s presence.

I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to come into the presence of God and not be changed by it. Therefore, the evidence of time spent in the presence of God should be clear in the lives of the people of God. If we do not display the glory of God’s presence then we are not going into His presence. We need to get into God’s presence.

This has some uncomfortable implications for Christians and their leaders. Does our time in the presence of God show in us?

Two things seem clear to me…

  1. As a Christian, I need to get into the presence of God.
  2. I need to be willing to let God confront me and change me

Huge implications for the way in which we approach prayer, scripture, fellowship and worship.

Author: nigelthewarner

Disciple, husband, father, writer and football fan.

3 thoughts on “Obviously Transformed

  1. I think we shine more than we know…

    I once set off for morning church by bus having spent time worshipping, praying in tongues and generally having a great time in God’s presence. I was singing and speaking in tongues all the way down the street too and at the bus stop happened to meet a local curate on his way to the Cof E around the corner.

    We knew each other by sight and exchanged greetings and I mentioned I was off to my church. He then asked which church? I told him Elim (Pentecostal) and he paused and said something rather surprising, “I can see that you go there… you have an “aura” around you”!! He also mentioned a lady I know who also goes to our Church and who sometimes got the same bus. He said he could see something around her as well!

    I’m sure he was seeing evidence the Holy Spirit’s presence a bit like Moses and although this was through Christian eyes , I bet non Christians frequently see something around us as well.. particularly when we’ve been in the presence of God.

    • I agree. I think Jesus shows in us if we are close to God. It is not by our effort, but simply a matter of proximity and a natural result.
      I think in older days it was called ‘saintliness’.
      Press in David, keep pressing in!

  2. Good article Nigel
    this is made me think about a few things that you mentioned in terms of noticing whether someone has been in the presence of God, Moses example is specific but how would we know what to look for as the presence/glory of God in people like Mother Teresa or someone who experiences God deeply in solitude. So I think we need to be careful about how we define how we would see the glory of God because we may be blind to it ourselves.
    I like your point about what as a Christians we need to do – spending time in the presence of God. Maybe it’s a case of understanding that we are always in the presence of God and we need to be aware/engage with God rather than seeking out just a special time to be in the presence of God.
    Or maybe it a case rather of and/both rather than either/or.
    But this article was a success either way as it’s provoked me to think – keep on trucking

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