In Exodus 33 we’re privy to a conversation between Moses and God.
As Moses had been on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, Aaron was down below helping the rebellious Israelites mold a calf from their jewelry. “This is the god who brought you out of slavery in Egypt” was his declaration. And the people worshipped in an orgy of disobedience to the One True God.
God appears to have had enough. He is rightfully ready to mete out judgment. But Moses pleads with God to spare the people and God says, “Go ahead and take the people to the land I promised them. I will have an angel go with you, but I am too angry with the people to make the trip with you.”
Here was Moses’ response: “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here… What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Exodus 33:15,16 NIV
Can I make an observation? The Church in the United States needs the manifest presence of God in our services more than we realize. It’s been harder and harder to distinguish God’s people from all the other peoples around us, just as Moses prophesied.
We are afraid of the same threats, we all watch the same movies, laugh at most of the same jokes. There is often little difference between the Christ-followers and everyone else.
It’s God’s presence which makes the Church and the believer relevant.
To put up with a god who cannot bring you peace, who has no power to heal your body or your heart, who is not around when things get tough, who has no ability to remove your guilt and sinful nature and make you a new creation… why bother?
What does the presence of God feel like? If you’ve ever experienced it, you know. When the Creator of the world shows up, it’s not like you won’t notice. Sometimes it’s felt by everyone in attendance, but sometimes it’s just for you. God will show up in the last line of a song and that’s where you and God will stop and He’ll minister to you.
You just need to ask Him for the pleasure of his company. Life is too short and too important to go it ‘presence-less.’ His invitation asking for the pleasure of your company has already been mailed…
“You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.”
Jeremiah 29:13 TLB