Sometimes we close the door on God’s presence. We feel the need to go our own ways for a while. Israel begged for God’s presence because without him they didn’t stand a chance. We push the Spirit to the side because we think we have a better chance on our own…
12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
God had told Moses and the Israelites that because of the Golden Calf idolatry incident, he would not go with them to the Promised Land. Moses went back to the Lord to advocate for Israel, because frankly, if God is not with them, they have no chance.
Notice that Moses’ reasons teach us two important lessons about our relationship with God: God’s presence communicates his favour over us and his presence sets us apart from the rest of the world. Moses said to God, “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
Back in Moses’ day, it was the Law and specific practices such as circumcision which set Israel apart. For us today, the indwelling presence of God in the Holy Spirit provides a seal on our lives and our future. God’s presence, for us, is very real and important.
Sometimes I close the door on God’s presence. Do you ever do that? God is there, yet we need to go our own ways for a while. There is something really important to do that is focused on us and not God’s plan for us. And so we flip from Spirit-centric into self-centred mode.
Israel begged for God to be present because they knew without him they didn’t stand a chance. We push the indwelling Spirit to the side at times because we think (wrongfully and arrogantly) that we have a better chance on our own.
Stand in God’s presence.
Beg for God’s presence.
Never deny God’s presence.