Exodus 33:12-17- Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet, You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in Your sight, please show me now Your ways, that I may know You…” And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he (Moses) said unto Him, “If Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in Your sight; I and Your people? Is it not in Your going with us that makes us distinct, I and Your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken, I will do, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”
Moses has had quite the ride by this point in his life, no doubt. And, as we have previously read, he was getting up there in age. This is probably my own interpretation of this passage of Scripture, but when I read it, I see a very tired man, just ready to stay put for awhile. You know, take a break… bask in God’s blessing. But, then his whole world is rocked again. God’s commanding him to take the people of Israel and move on from Sinai. I imagine Moses thinking, “What? Another long and hard journey with this mumbling, grumbling bunch of people? Do I really have to do this again? Will any other nation try to destroy us? We’re unsettled and have no place to call our own… easy targets. Will I have protection?”
But, God, understanding and caring about his concerns, assures Moses that He will be accompanying them on this trip. (My presence will go with you…)
With those words, I see (a still very much exhausted) Moses, take a deep breath- full of surrender- (maybe even chuckle a bit as he has learned by this time that God’s way is best) as he relents his argument and says, “Ok… but only because You’re coming with us. If Your presence won’t be coming with me… just let us stay here… because YOU are what makes our journeying different than everyone else’s!”
I love that. It reminds me that just because I’m a Christian and have the favor of God overshadowing my life, doesn’t mean I get to find a comfort zone and stay put the rest of my life. It means the exact opposite. God has a plan for my life- a specific plan- and it’s going to require me packing things back up and hitting the road, so to speak, over and over again. And, there may be times I find myself surrounded by a bunch of “Debbie Downers!” Still, His plan is always going to be the one that is greatest for my life. (He already knows how my story ends!)
There may be hardships along the way; times of disappointment and confusion, hurt and betrayal, fear and sorrow… An “easy” life is not what separates a believer from a non-believer. It rains on the just and the unjust. His presence. That’s the difference maker. Seeing His plan unfold in our lives, the evidence of His hand working on our behalf, and having peace during the most heartbreaking and chaotic moments- yeah… that’s what makes us distinct.
Take a moment to reflect on your life. Do you remember specific times God moved in a way that didn’t make sense, but somehow it happened and you were more than okay? Can you recall a moment of heartbreak, partnered with a grief so heavy you could hardly breathe, and yet, somehow, you managed to smile and put one foot in front of the other? Any frightening moments that were soon surpassed by an unexplainable, unspeakable joy? Unexpected blessings? Promotion? Dreamed of opportunities? Answered prayers?
That’s His favor… made possible by His presence in your life.
The Creator of all things sees you. He hears you. You matter to Him. He knows your name! As a child of God, this life- even at its worst- is incredible… because you will always overcome. He is with you on this journey. He fights for you, comforts and holds you… How blessed we are to dwell in His presence!
Prayer: Thank You, God, for this life You’ve given me. Thank You for walking right beside me each step of the way! Help me to never forget that Your presence is the most important thing in my life. It’s the very source of all my strength, rest, comfort, and joy. It is what sets apart a Christian’s life from everything else. I love You, Lord… more than I could ever say. Continue to walk close to me, and draw me closer to You. In Your precious name, amen.