Does God withdraw His presence from us? (2023)

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Is God withdrawing his presence from us?

One of our small group members said, “God does not withdraw his presence from us; we have withdrawn from the presence of God.” There is truth in what you say. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they hid from God's presence when they heard him walking in the garden (Genesis 3:8). They were scared, guilty and ashamed.

Jesus said, "...everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come to the light, lest his deeds be discovered" (John 3:20). Yes, many of us have learned the truth in this verse that when we have sinned, we avoid situations (e.g., not attending church and/or small group meetings) that would remind us of our fellowship with God. We avoid the light that would shine in our darkness.

We often quote Heb. 13:5b..."Never will I forsake you nor forsake" God's promise of His presence with us. Reading the entire verse we are told to keep our lives free from the love of money and content with what we have, knowing that God will not forsake us. Many of us can probably remember when our quest for money drove God out of our minds and lives and we were no longer aware of his presence. In fact, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will cherish the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

How important is the presence of God?

Moses said that the nation of Israel was distinguished from all other nations by the nearness or presence of God in their midst (Deuteronomy 4:7). He explained his uniqueness in Deut. 4:32-40. I believe that the church is similarly different from all other people. The following is my repeat of Deut. 4:32-40 to apply to us.

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Now ask yourself... since the beginning of time, from one end of heaven to the other, has something this great been done or heard of?

Has a god tried to redeem a people for himself by dying for them as Christ did for us on the cross? We were shown the mercy of God that we would know that the Lord is God; there is no other outside of himself. Because he loved you, he chose to suffer and die for you.

Has there ever been a people who can confidently approach the Lord God, who dwells in unapproachable light, to receive mercy and grace in times of need? Has any people had the Word of God as readily available as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path?

Therefore know today and take it to heart that Jehovah is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other.

So when you think about what He has done for you, is it too much to ask that you offer your body as a living sacrifice to God and follow Him all the days of your life?

The presence of God not only distinguishes us; Your presence also guarantees us success in everything we do. Whether he was a slave or chief steward in Potiphar's household, a prisoner in prison, or a prisoner in charge or acting in command over all the land of Egypt, Joseph prospered because the Lord was with him (Genesis 39:2-4, 21 -2.3).

God's presence with his people

Before we pursue the question, "Is God withdrawing His presence from us?" Let's also look at God's presence with His people.

(Video) John Owen - God's Withdrawing His Presence / The Correction of His Church
  • God instructed Moses to builda tabernacleso that he may dwell among the Israelites (Ex. 25:8). The tabernacle served as God's dwelling that God might be present with His people.
  • years later,Solomon's Templeit replaced the tabernacle as the dwelling place of God (1 Kings 8:10-11).
  • Then God became flesh and dwelt among us on earth in the person ofthe Son of God, Jesus Christ(Juan 1:14).
  • When Christ ascended, he sentthe Holy Spiritdwell with and in those who believe in him (John 14:16-17; 1 Corinthians 3:16).

Has God ever withdrawn his presence?

There were two instances in the Bible where God announced His impending retirement.

  1. After the incident with the golden calf (Ex. 32)
    in Ex. 33:2-3 God declared: “I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up to you, lest I devour you on the way, for you are a stubborn people.”

    Why did God choose not to see people on their way to the Promised Land? One of our small group members commented, "Because of the incompatibility..." Yes, because God is holy and humans are sinful and sin cannot be in the presence of the holy God. He would punish sin and destroy people.

    But God repented, and Moses received a second set of tablets, a sign that God had forgiven his people (Exodus 34:1, 28).

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  2. Before the fall of Judah, the southern kingdom
    "Why did Judah fall?" A likely answer would be the geopolitical realities of the ancient Middle East at the time and the rise of Babylon as a superpower. But that wasn't the real reason.

    The Lord did not turn away from the intensity of the great anger with which his anger was kindled against Judah because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him. And the Lord said: I will also remove Judah from me, as I removed Israel, and I will reject this city which I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there. (2 Kings 23:26-27).

    The real cause of Judah's fall is his sins, particularly those of King Manasseh. Just as He removed the northern kingdom of Israel, God would remove the southern kingdom of Judah from His sight. 2 Kilo 23:27 deals with the details...from the nation of Judah to the city of Jerusalem to the temple, the dwelling place of God. In other words, God declared the withdrawal of His presence from His dwelling place, the temple.

departure of the glory of the Lord

Unlike the previous case (the golden calf incident), God actually performed His removal from the temple. In the following verses we see the withdrawal of the glory of the Lord (the manifestation of God's presence) from the Temple to the Mount of Olives.

4And the glory of the Lord rose from the(dorado)Cherub athe threshold of the house (the entrance between the two bronze columns), and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord.
18Then the glory of the Lord came from the threshold of the house and stood over it(Life)Wells19And the cherubim lifted up their wings and rose up from the ground before my eyes as they went out, with the wheels by their side. And they stoppedthe entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord, and the glory of the God of Israel was upon them. (Ezekiel 10:4, 18-19;Italic mine)
22Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels at their sides, and the glory of the God of Israel was upon them.23And the glory of the Lord ascendedin the middle of the city and stood on the mountain east of the city. (Ezekiel 11)

Has God Rejected Israel?

The withdrawal of God's presence from the southern kingdom of Judah did not mean that God had rejected or forsaken the nation of Israel (see Jeremiah 31:35–37). Daniel, Mordecai, and Esther in exile continued to experience God's presence and protection. Ezra, Nehemiah, and those who returned received God's help in answer to their prayers. And the prophets Haggai, Zacharias and Malachi received God's revelation for the people.

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Good to get closer to God

God is omnipresent, but our experience of His presence is often not always consistent. The psalmist explains in Psalm 73:28 that it is good to draw near to God. How do we get closer to him? How do we look for it? The answer is found in the answer to another question: "How has God revealed himself to us?"

Although we cannot see God, He has revealed Himself and His power through His creation (Romans 1:20). One of our small group members shared his experiences on the shore… he saw the waves crashing on the rocks and felt the strong sea winds caressing his body and in that moment he couldn't help but experience the presence and embrace of God. . . He praised God and hummed the hymn How Great You Are. (1) In this way we can approach God through his creation.

In the Old Testament, God revealed himself to man through the prophets; In these last days, God has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Many of these revelations are preserved in the written scriptures. (2) Therefore, we can seek God through the Bible, the written Word of God. (3) Finally, we seek God through prayer. Talking to God acknowledges His existence and presence.

Are you going through a difficult phase in your life right now? Do you feel that God is not?Woclose to you? Read Psalm 40:1-3. The Psalmist exhorts us to wait patiently, keep praying, and trust in God. God is nowHerewith you.

© Mai 2019 von Alan S.L. Wong


Does God get mad at us? ›

So while God is not human, he does get angry. And he has good reason for reacting to human behavior with anger. In fact, God wouldn't be good if he didn't have strong reactions to evil and injustice.

What separates us from the presence of God? ›

Because of God's holiness and man's sinfulness, there lies a vast separation from one another. However; there is a solution: forgiveness. Just as sin separates us from one another, it also separates us from God. And God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, created a plan for man to be restored in relationship with Him.

Did God turn his face away? ›

The Father, who loves him, turns his face away and all the comforts of the Father's love are beyond the Savior's reach. In the depths of his agony, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

What does God presence feel like? ›

God's presence can be felt in different ways. If you've ever been in a group of people who are praying, sometimes it feels like there is a large, comforting, presence in the room, other than that of the people you are with. Sometimes you sense that same presence in church, as I said above.

Who is the most angry God? ›

In Hinduism, Kali (Devanāgari: कलि, IAST: kali, with both vowels short; from a root kad, 'suffer, hurt, startle, confuse') is the being who reigns during the age of the Kali Yuga and acts as the nemesis of Kalki, the tenth and final avatar of the Hindu preserver deity, Vishnu. This article contains Indic text.

What causes anger at God? ›

People can become enraged at God if they think God should have protected them in the way that they think He should have, if He didn't answer their prayers in the time frame that they specified, or if they no longer feel His presence.

What is God's presence called? ›

Divine presence, presence of God, Inner God, or simply presence is a concept in religion, spirituality, and theology that deals with the ability of God to be "present" with human beings.

What is the purpose of God's presence? ›

- Without Him in our lives, nothing is worthwhile, but with Him, everything can have meaning, purpose and effectiveness. 3. WITH THE PRESENCE OF GOD CAME THE MIRACLE. - Jesus and His presence in any particular situation almost always leads to a miracle or many miracles.

What is God's presence according to the Bible? ›

It means God is everywhere. King David explained this in Psalms 139:6-12, that he cannot flee from God's presence; that if he hides himself in heaven or hell, or even darkness, God will still be there. God's presence is felt everywhere. Secondly, there is the manifest presence of God.

Why is God hiding from us? ›

God is hiding to prevent us from finding him on our own terms. Instead, God invites all people to come out of their hiding places, to seek him in the person of Jesus, so that he will find us.

Does God distance himself? ›

God distances himself because he loves. Jüngel, Moltmann and others have argued for God's self-limitation before creation because of his love; it is therefore worthwhile reflecting if this divine self-contraction (or Zimzum) is not analogous to a kind of self-distancing of God from his creation.

What does it mean when God is hiding you? ›

God can take you to Cherith by removing you from a position. God can take you to Cherith through a prolonged sickness that limits what you are able to do. Cherith is the place where God hides you and holds back what you most want to do.

What is the symbol of God's presence? ›

A Cloud. The Holy Spirit is the mysterious and abiding presence of God, and clouds appear frequently throughout both the Old and New Testaments to signify God's presence.

How do you feel when the Holy Spirit is in you? ›

For some people, the Holy Ghost may cause them to feel overwhelmed with emotion and moved to tears. For others, tears rarely or never come. And that's okay. For them, the Holy Ghost may produce a subtle feeling of gratitude, peace, reverence, or love (see Galatians 5:22–23).

Where in the Bible does it say God gets angry? ›

God's wrath is revealed now.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18).

When was God mad in the Bible? ›

God becomes angry a second time in the poetic retelling of the parting of the Red Sea found in Exodus 15. Pharaoh aroused God's anger after oppressing Israel and refusing to listen ten times. God's anger was an act of judgment on Pharaoh and his armies.

What do haughty eyes look like? ›

The word haughty comes from an old Anglo-French word, haut, which means “high,” and which comes from the Latin word altus, from which we get our word altitude. Putting all that together, we find that haughty eyes are the kind of eyes that look down at other people, as if the one looking down is “higher up” than others.

What are some examples of God's wrath? ›

6:16-17). Cataclysmic Wrath: This is the wrath of God unleashed through natural disasters, hurricanes, tornados, mudslides, forest fires, sink holes, and various other disasters like that of tsunamis. The rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16:31-35 is an example of this type of wrath.


1. From Surviving to Thriving
(Potters Wheel Church)
2. The LORD Will Withdraw Himself
(Prophecies And Their Chronologies)
3. God's Withdrawing His Presence, The Correction Of His Church, by John Owen.
(Take Up The Cross)
4. Resurrender - Hillsong Worship
(Hillsong Worship)
(JR Cofer)
(The Believers Avenue)
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