If Thy Presence Go Not With Me

stone-trustConsider the following passage – paying close attention to Moses’ outright refusal to go any further without the LORD’s presence…

Exodus 33:12-23

12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Taking that Next Step

Occasionally, I find myself in situations that push me beyond my comfort zone. Situations I personally feel inadequate to handle. Certainly, I understand the Lord is always with me, but the situations I’m describing are situations that will require a supernatural confirmation and reassurance. In reading the scripture above I learned I am not alone in feeling this way. Even after the mighty things God accomplished through Moses, he still needed the reassurance that the next step he was to take would be accompanied by the LORD. Moses realized early on, that there was not enough talent, skill, ability, charisma, or clout that could make up for not having the presence of God with him. Wouldn’t you think that past experience would have built up a certain level of confidence? Try as we may we can’t placate that feeling of being overwhelmed. The feeling that the next step we take is going require an extra level of certainty from the only ONE that can give it…God himself!

Dare I say, this present generation is at that junction. Our faith is being challenged. Our loved ones are under attack by sicknesses, some unto death. Our finances are in turmoil. Our economy, our way of life, our government, and dare I say our freedoms, are on the endangered list, if not experiencing outright extinction. If ever we needed that reassurance we need it now.

What About Trust?

But, all of this begs the question, “where does trust come in?” Surely Moses could have based his trust on past performance with God. He could have even based his trust on the Word of God. God continuously spoke to Moses, as a man speaks to his friend, face to face. How much more reassurance would you need? Perhaps this wasn’t about trust at all – maybe it was more about Moses’ willingness to stay put until he knew that God had called him to the next level.

Exodus 14:13-14 – And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

You see Moses learned, as we all should, that there are times that we must stand still! We mistake activity for productivity. Movement for progress. Busyness for business. Not so with God. If ever there was a time we need to stand still and see the hand of the LORD fight for HIS people it is today!

That’s not to say we should leave ourselves vulnerable or unprotected. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus, 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:(Ephesians 6:12-14)

The Great Shaking

Hebrews 12:26-29Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

There appears to be a shaking of sorts happening now! Globally our financial systems are in dire straits! Globally we are not only financially bankrupt, we are morally bankrupt! And as this world is shaking and reeling from the calamities it faces, this truly will be the time that the chaff will be separated from the wheat!

As Christians, we should echo the opening chorus in Psalms – 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree plantedby the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

In Closing

And he (Moses) said unto him, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Moses’ remarks were far from being rooted in distrust, uncertainty, and disbelief. They were essential to the direction of the nation of Israel – God’s chosen people. We should mirror this pattern in our lives as God’s Elect! Wherever I go the Presence of the LORD must be a pre-requisite! I never want to GO where the presence of the LORD hasn’t led me. I never want to BE where the presence of the LORD hasn’t directed me. I never want to know what it’s like not to have the presence of the LORD, not just WITH me, but INSIDE of me!

James bluntly states in chapter 4 verses 13-15:  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

We are such a blessed people to have a God that cares about our future. In fact He not only cares about it…He’s creating it as you read this posting! Prayerfully consider your next step. It could be that God doesn’t want you to step at all – He may want you to stay!

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