Presence

There’s an interesting tension in the Exodus account between Moses’ relationship with Yahweh and the peoples’ relationship with Yahweh.

Moses is falling more and more in love with God. He’s made a practice out of meeting with Him. That’s the only place he wants to be.

The Israelites, on the other hand, keep testing God’s patience. Until finally, He’s like, “I’m gonna kill em. I’m gonna kill em. I’m gonna kill em.”

Exodus 33: The Lord said to Moses, “Get going… to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I did, I would surely destroy you along the way.”

God is breaking up with them.

Notice Moses’ response: “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here” (Exodus 33:13).

Moses hears God say this, and says, “I don’t want it.”

What do you mean you don’t want it?

If You don’t go with us, I don’t want to go. I don’t want it. I don’t care about any of that other stuff –milk or honey or riches or wealth or status or anything, I don’t want it. All I want is You. If you’re telling me I don’t get You, I don’t want any of that other stuff.

If You take away You, if You take away your presence, my vitality, my strength, my being, my everything is so wrapped up in who You are that even if I got all that other stuff, if You took away You, the thought of that is too unbearable and I would rather die than not have You.

If I don’t get You.

 

If only we were that addicted, reliant, captivated, dependent upon His presence today.

A recent survey suggests that over 48% of practicing adult self-identified Christians who regularly attend church say they have not experienced God’s presence at any time in the past twelve months.

 

If God were to remove His presence from your life, how long would it take you to notice?

If God were to remove His presence from your life, are you so reliant and fixated on Him that you would immediately notice, and immediately die or want to die, or be so unimpressed with all the best trappings of materialism that you would rather die so you could be with Him,

or could you kind of coast a while without noticing because you’ve kind of been coasting a while anyway?

 

What’s crazier still is that most of us, if we had to choose, if we were put in the same position Moses was put in, if we had to choose between being with God or having the milk and the honey, if we were honest with ourselves, we would choose the milk and the honey.

Because we choose those things over His presence every day.

But Paul makes a radical claim: “What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, then who can be against us” (Romans 8:31).

The God of the universe offers us His presence to go with us. A presence that is for us. An unlimited, unstoppable, inexhaustible resource.

Why would we ever be fearful of anything?

Mostly because we haven’t spent any time in His presence. So we’ve forgotten what a powerful force He is.

As the old song says, when we turn our eyes upon Him, the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

 

Worried? Panicking? Stressed?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Fall in love with His presence. Let it so intoxicate you and change you that given the opportunity to have all the milk and the honey in the world, you’d decline the offer if it meant having to be away from Him.

Amen.

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