The Presence Of The Lord
by Julie Ogg
“But I will not go with you”… (v3) The LORD speaks these words to Moses after the Israelites have sinned by worshiping the golden calf in his absence. We were created to live in the presence of God. After all, Adam and Eve walked in the garden of Eden and talked with the Lord.
We serve a God who embodies relationship, as the Trinity, in a way we can hardly comprehend. He created us to be in relationship with himself. Imagine the horror Moses felt when he heard God say, “But I will not go with you."
It is interesting to note that God had just assured Moses that he would fulfill his promises to Israel. He would prepare the way before them by sending an angel and driving out their enemies (v2). He would still give them the land flowing with milk and honey (v3). There’s just one small change. He would not go with them. Would Moses, the Israelites, or those of us today be content with this arrangement?
How often do we live our lives this way? We are content with the gift but don’t have time to spend in the presence and company of the giver. We want outcomes without relationship. You may have experienced this in a relationship with someone you only hear from when they need something or when their life is crumbling. Perhaps they’ve just made a big mistake, and they need rescued. How deep is that relationship?
Yet this is what the Israelites had just done in their impatience and sin and this is what you and I do when we launch into our day or meeting or conversation without acknowledging and seeking the presence of the Lord. Our attempts to love, serve, forgive, guide, and obey are worthless and empty without the presence of God.
In Psalm 51:10-12 David cries out to God,
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
The next verse, Psalm 51:13, begins with “Then." Your presence, then. That needs to be the defining order of each of our lives. Time in God’s presence…then. Our God is gracious and compassionate and in Exodus 33:14 he reassures Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." How I need the sustaining rest of God. This is what we, as Christ followers, bring to the world. We carry the very presence of God to lost and hurting people.
Take time to spend in your Father’s presence today. Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)