What We Find Where there is the Consciousness of the Lord's Presence

Psalm 114.

Notes of an address.

I think that we have two remarkable illustrations of what we find where there is the sense of the Lord's presence, in the Word. The first is when the Lord took His place in the midst of the redeemed earthly people. The second is when He took His place in the midst of the ransomed heavenly company; and both are full of interest. I refer you for the first to this Psalm 114, which I have read. For the other I would ask you to read John 20 from verse 19.

The first thing I draw your attention to in the psalm is that the Lord's presence subdues all natural restlessness, and the second is that it causes to flee all merely natural greatness and strength; and both of these must be effected first in us before we can get the good of THE LORD'S PRESENCE.

We read that when Israel came out of Egypt "Judah was His sanctuary, and Israel His dominion." God took His place among them; that is, when Israel went, out, God went in. Here we see that to get the good of God's presence at any time (mind, I do not say His presence, but the good of His presence) there must be separation from the world, of which Egypt is the type. God never took up His place with them until then, and if not, He did not make His presence felt. Now He does. Let me ask, "Have we all turned our backs to the world?"

The first thing then you realize, beloved friends, when you have the consciousness that you are in His presence, is that human restlessness and strength are nowhere. These, so natural to man, are both subdued. "The sea saw it, and fled." The sea was conscious of the presence of its Creator. But I must press that these things are to be known by us individually. It is the necessary consequence of entering into His presence. Then the strength and stability of nature is also touched. "The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills as lambs." He subdues and refuses everything in us which is not of His Spirit. If this is not so in us we shall be of little use to others, and then, if there is activity, we shall be great hinderers of the saints and of the Spirit.

Moses made everything of the Lord's presence, and so should we. It works individually first - it subdues me. It works also in the assembly, and it puts the first man in his right place there, that is, OUTSIDE. Moses said, "If Thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence." But you may say the Lord's presence is always with us, both individually and collectively. Yes, my friend, this is true in one sense, but many a time it is also true of saints that "their eyes were holden that they did not know Him." You are very much like your forerunners in this matter. I will tell you that if there is no subduing power known to you, You do not know Him at that moment, nor are you at all in the good of His presence, because this is its first effect - it subdues.

Now the fact that the Lord is there is POWER; I mean when the fact is made a living substance in my soul. Tell me what can resist it. His presence? That is God Himself. The most restless it subdues; the mountains' strength is as nothing, though "they cannot be moved" - it removes them. Nothing can stand before it. The wilderness becomes for His people "a standing water," and the dry ground becomes water-springs. It meets all the needs of the saints.

But it also works for the saints. It subdues the enemy. I see that when the people are in the hands of God and all human power and strength gone, then the enemy must flee. He shows his back and not his face. Why is this? Ah, it is because there is nothing left that he can work upon. There is nothing left but God, and then, of course, he must flee. If there were more of the effect of the Lord's presence seen in US, we should see far more of the back of the enemy than we see of his face. He cannot stand before GOD, and whenever God can He puts Himself to meet the foe. Alas! there is oftentimes something that He has to correct in us, and then He may, as He did with Job, use the enemy to do it. But what a wonderful thing that the Lord's presence may be so good to me that the enemy has to flee. Oh, the joy of living in such a day as this! Individually it is what we have in 1 John - "He keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not"; and collectively it is the assembly - "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The blessed Lord Himself illustrates the saint when alone. He is with God (tempted in the wilderness). And he illustrates the saint in the company - i.e., in the assembly, where He is occupied with the Father. (Heb. 2.) Remember it, and may I ever remember it. The enemy will flee from the LORD'S presence, but not from me! If I confront him I shall find that he is more than a match for me. There is only one way to be strong - "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might." Allow yourself to disappear, and allow the LORD to come to the front, and you will be astonished at what you will see.

Now then, if the first man is gone out, is refused, and if in the energy of the Holy Spirit he is thus continuously dealt with, I am free for the Lord to occupy me. With what do you think the LORD desires to occupy the saints - the sanctified - His own - the new creation company? He desires to occupy them with what He - blessed and exalted MAN - Head of the new race - knows as MAN, of the Father now, so that they may be led also into it! They are His brethren, and HE has made them what they are. He is not ashamed of them. "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren; in the midst of the assembly will I sing praise unto Thee." What name will He declare? Read the last verse of John 17, and you have the answer. He declared the Father's name as He knew it when with them a Man on earth. He now declares the Father's name as He knows it now - as HE knows it - a Man in the glory of God!

Beloved friends, is it not important that we should listen to Him? Who could make this known but Himself? for there is no other man there. I feel that I could not presume to unfold to you what you can only learn in the Lord's presence; namely, what we find there. You must be there yourself to know what it is. But I have not the least bit of doubt that you will find that it is, first; exclusive. I think that then you will find that it is also inclusive; namely, that, in the grace of God, you are included in all that belongs to Christ, as the risen and exalted MAN, and that "as He is, so are we in this world." And what is included in God's present thought of Him as the One who glorified God? If you can put a limit to that, and only then, the finite could measure the Infinite. Though I cannot unfold then what we find when consciously in the presence of Christ, I think saints can say with Dr. Watts (though not in the way he applied it) -

"I have been there, and still would go,

'Tis like a heaven below."

May we all know more of what it is, both as individuals and in the assembly, so that we may say with Him, in spite of all our earthly distractions, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage." May this be our experience yet more and more! H. C. Anstey.