Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Exodus 33: 15
While the boys were with us, we took them to visit Granny, their great grandmother. While we were all sitting on her front porch talking, Miles and Cole remembered the last time they had been and how they had picked apples off a tree in her backyard. It was their first time for doing so, and they thought it was the grandest thing! They wanted to do it again!
Granny wasn’t sure there were any ripe ones, so she told them to go around back and check, and if there were, they could yell for us and we would come and help. As they looked at each other, they seemed apprehensive about going alone and finally said to me, “You are going with us, aren’t you? If not, then we don’t wanna go either!” Of course, I couldn’t deny their request!
Imagine saying these words to the God of the Universe! As we can see in this verse, Moses actually did! I am sure we have all felt the same way during those times when God was sending us on a path we were unsure of. This journey of life often takes us “places” that can fill us with uneasiness and fear of what is to come. Sometimes we even wonder if He is aware of what we are going through, or if He even cares. We want a sign that He knows, and we especially want His presence, assurance, and guidance along the way. We want to have confidence that He will be with us – every step of the way.
Moses needed the same assurance before leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. We know the story of God giving him the 10 commandments on Mt. Sinai to take down to His people. But when Moses returned, he discovered that they had pressed Aaron into making an idol to worship. God was so angry with them that He threatened to destroy them. Moses was angry, as well, but out of love, he petitioned God to spare them, and he even offered to sacrifice his own life. God gave directions to Moses to take his people into Canaan as He had promised – but without His divine presence.
Then Moses stood in the “tent of meeting”, heartbroken before God, and reminded Him that this nation was His people. He petitioned the Lord on their behalf as he said these words: “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 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?”
God heard Moses, and He made a covenant with him and the people of Israel, that if they did what He directed them to do, including building the Tabernacle, His faithfulness and promises to them would continue. (Moses, we remember, was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, but Joshua carried the people forward.)
How grateful we can be that we don’t have to ask God to go with us. We have His promise that He will always be with us wherever we go if we seek and trust Him. He will give us the strength, courage, and assurance to face whatever situation comes our way, and we will know that His love and grace will always follow. May the world see our trust in Him as we walk this journey of faith and may they know that we are His people, distinct and different from all others.
Our most gracious God, how grateful we are for your presence with us. May our faith and trust in you be a light to the rest of the world as others see our faith in you. Amen