Exodus 34-35

Lord, go with us!

“O Lord, then please go with us. Yes, this is an unruly and stubborn people, but please pardon our iniquity and our sins. Accept us as your own special possession. Exodus 34:9 NLT

Moses knew something we all need to learn. He knew that this journey through the wilderness was going to be impossible without the constant presence of the Lord. A Tabernacle wasn’t going to be enough – if the Lord was not in it. Tablets of stone would not be adequate, if the living God was not there to remind them of His holiness. Moses knew he was going to have his hands full trying to lead “an unruly and stubborn people.”  They were hard-headed and even more hard-hearted. Moses understood that he was going to need God to get these people to their final destination. God had just told Moses, “I am the LORD, I am the LORD, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so I do not leave sin unpunished, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations” (Exodus 34:6-7 NLT). He reminded Moses of His boundless grace and mercy. He reminded Moses that He was long-suffering, loving, and faithful. But He was also holy and just, and willing to deal with sin. This was the God who Moses pleaded with that He would go with them. He wanted this God on the trip with him. He wanted all of God. He knew he needed all of God.

Yet how often do I attempt to live my life, to go on my journey, without the presence of God. I can go through entire days and not ask God to be a part of them. I can do all the things I think I need to do – many of them for God – and not even include Him in the process. Moses knew better. He knew his own inadequacies. He knew the challenges that were out there. He knew he couldn’t do this without help from God. And his greatest fear was the thought of having to make this journey without God. But he also knew that God had already threatened to let them make their journey alone. “Theirs is a land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not travel along with you, for you are a stubborn, unruly people. If I did, I would be tempted to destroy you along the way” (Exodus 33:3 NLT). That idea was unacceptable to Moses, and he told God so. “If you don’t go with us personally, don’t let us move a step from this place” (Exodus 33:15 NLT). No, Moses wanted God present every step of the way. And so should we. Why wouldn’t we? The idea of trying to live this life without the constant presence of God should send chills up our spines and send us to our knees where we cry out “O Lord, then please go with us!”

God’s presence is what sets us apart from all other people. Without Him we are nothing. That’s why Moses said, “How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?” (Exodus 33:16 MSG). God with us. That is what Emmanuel means – the very name given to Jesus at His birth. He is God with us. He is with us and walks beside us every step of the way. We cannot live this life without Him. And we only enter into eternal life because of Him.

Father, thank You that You are always with me. Your Spirit lives within me. Your Son intercedes daily on my behalf. I have daily access into Your presence. I do not have to walk this journey alone. I sometimes try, but You always lovingly remind me just how much I need You. And for that I am grateful.  Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men