“The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” – Exodus 33:14-16,
The background here in Exodus 33 is so important. Moses, the chosen leader of the Israelite people, was on Mount Sinai receiving the law when God told him it was time to go back down the mountain. Because the Israelites grew tired of waiting on him to return, they quickly turned away from God and what He had commanded them. Upon descending the mountain, Moses discovered that they had made themselves a golden calf to worship.
Although God was displeased, He was still giving them the Promised Land, but He would not be going with them. That is when Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.” Basically, we won’t go without you. God answers his prayer and says, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:17) Moses is a terrific role model here. He recognizes the importance of having God with him and acts accordingly. He knows the consequences and he is adamant about not going anywhere without God.
Consider this hypothetical question: If God said “I am prepared to give you everything your heart desires, make all your dreams come true. I will give you a great job, a successful spouse, and smart respectful children. You will have no more health problems or stress. But there is this one caveat: you get those things but you don’t get me” Would you take that deal? Would we be bothered if went into the personal promised land without God? Or is God’s presence in our life so important that like Moses we would say, “If you’re not with me, I’m not moving? Not without you.”
God didn’t take the Israelites out of Egypt so they could get to the promised land He took them out of Egypt so they could know Him. God didn’t rescue you and lead you to Christ so you could be more blessed, and happy, and see more positive results. He rescued you so you could know Him.
So how do we encounter the presence of God? How do we experience His nearness? The more you draw near to God, the more you will experience Him in your life. The more you pray, the more you realize He hears you. The more you read your Bible, the more you realize how true and unchanging He is. The more you choose to trust Him, the more you will miraculously witness His faithfulness.
In 2023, don’t move without Him.
- How do we ensure we don’t go without God in our daily lives this week?
- What can we do this week to better feel God’s presence?