Drawing near to a Holy God
A. W. Tozer
This is a gem of a book on the manifest presence of God. Tozer believes and teaches that every Christian should be deeply involved in experiencing the manifest power and presence of God every day. Of the books I have read on the presence of God, this is high up on the list. The author forms most of the book on Moses’ experience of God in fire from the burning bush to other parts of Moses’ life. He also includes other Bible persons in the book.
Tozer begins with talking about Moses at the burning bush. He gives background on Moses before he experienced God’s presence at the burning bush. Moses probably thought his life was settled, but then he met God at the burning bush. When we experience God’s manifest presence in our lives, we will never be the same.
In chapter 2, the author focuses on Jesus, the Foundation for our experience with God through the Holy Spirit. He describes Jesus as our great high priest, and what all that entails. In chapter 3, Tozer talks about the implements of the temple and how they show the presence of God. He says the church needs to be a place people experience God’s presence.
In chapter 4, the author continues to talk about Moses. He gives more of Moses’ background, especially being a shepherd alone on the backside of the desert. In the stillness and silence of Moses’ life, he could understand himself and let God speak to him. We need to use those silent and still times in our lives experience God.
In chapter 5, the author talks about the crisis of encounter we experience along with Moses when we need God the most. We encounter God with the eyes of our heart. God is like fire. Out of the unusual fire of the Bush, God spoke to Moses. He further gives lessons from the Bush in chapter 6. God called him to a life of service at 80 years old. He focuses on the lessons Christians can learn from the Bush.
The author further talks about the fire in the Bush in chapter 7. He says the glory of the Bush in that fire is still talked about today. Sin cannot stand against the fire of God. He further says the fire protected the Bush from burning in chapter 8. He talks about how Christians are not safe by hiding from unbelievers. Instead, we must leave the walls of the church and go to where the people are.
In chapter 9, Tozer tells us that the fire of the Bush was beautiful. God’s presence is beautiful. God’s presence in us is beautiful. When God’s face turns toward us, we enjoy His presence. But in chapter 10, he describes the wall we put up so we don’t experience God’s presence. We must tear down the wall so God’s presence can dwell with us.
Chapter 11 talks about connecting with the burning bush. We must look on God’s presence with eyes of faith instead of our natural eyes. If we want to experience God’s glory, we must see Him with these eyes of faith. The author focuses on dwelling in God’s presence in chapter 12. God’s presence dwells within every believer. We dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. He elaborates on what that should mean for every believer in Christ.
In chapter 13, the author talks about the need to experience God’s presence for ourselves. In this chapter, he focuses on Joshua and the Israelites as they crossed over the Jordan River. They left a monument so they could never forget their experience with God. Chapter 13 talks about the Bush before which we should kneel. Every church must be full of people that kneel before God in prayer and communion. We must enjoy the presence of God as we partake in these graces.
In chapter 15, he talks about Isaiah in the temple in Isaiah 6. Isaiah was changed forever, realizing how sinful he was in God’s presence. But God commissioned him to be a prophet. When we are in God’s presence, we realize our wickedness, and we turn to God for cleansing so we can carry out His mission for us. In chapter 16, Tozer talks about the four faces of Ezekiel 1. He says that all these phases represented Jesus. His glory cannot be contained in just one image or face.
The author continues to talk about the God who manifests Himself before us in chapter 17. Here, he talks about how Moses hid his glowing face from fellow Israelites. We must not hide God’s glory and presence with us. He also talks about Elijah and how he ministered to the window, and how God took care of her and her family.
Chapter 18 follows up by talking about Elijah at Mount Carmel and how he asked God for his fire to fall to prove to the Israelites that He is their God. We need to seek God’s fire and presence in our lives. Chapter 19 focuses on the three Israelites in the fiery furnace when King Nebuchadnezzar put them in there for not worshiping his idol. God frees us in His presence and walks with us.
In chapter 20, the author sums up the blessings of walking in God’s presence every day. This is the gem of the book. We need to not just know about God’s presence, but experience in everyday in our lives. This was a wonderful book full of insights not just of Bible people and how they experienced God’s presence, but on how we can experience God’s presence in our lives. I highly recommend picking up this book by A. W. Tozer. It’s worth reading, and you will get a lot of little gems out of it.