Ahead of the release of the fbn2 Presence Project next week, here are some potentially life-changing bullet points and excerpts for you from A W Tozer’s The Pursuit of God and the chapter The Universal Presence. I pray that they would whet your appetite and bless your relationship with God.
- Tozer talks about the fact that God is everywhere, all the time, and mentions David’s psalm (139) where he asks the question, ‘where can I go from Your presence?’. Answer: nowhere – God is everywhere all the time.
- But Tozer uses the term Divine Immanence, (a term that I love), to distinguish between God’s Universal Presence in this way and His manifest glory, His immediate presence – which is very different.
- Divine Immanence is Tozer’s way of describing what happens when God releases a sense of His nearness, His closeness, which is both part of His Universal Presence, but, at the same time, distinct from it. Think of the difference between a speaker addressing a ten thousand strong congregation. You are sat amongst it listening and feel the presence of the speaker. But then the speaker addresses you personally, by name, amidst the congregation – they hone in on you, lock eyes and start speaking very personally. This is what Tozer means by Divine Immanence, and what King Solomon meant by the kisses of your word (Songs 1).
- One last helpful bullet point is when Tozer talks about the gap between our theology of God’s presence and our experience – ie when we don’t experience what we say we believe – he points to our ‘receptivity’ as the issue when it comes to becoming more aware of Him. Tozer points to the varied ‘greats’ of both modern times and throughout ancient biblical history and makes the point that the common denominating factor when it came to those who had obviously ‘been with him’ was a receptivity and responsiveness to His presence – a seeking after Him in this intimate way, a dogged tenacity and a determined response.
I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward. Without attempting anything like a profound analysis I shall say simply that they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision. As David put it neatly, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”
The best I can say is please read the book yourself, and especially the chapter The Universal Presence – fbn2 The Presence Project will be here next week.