Then Moses said to him, “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?” Exodus 33:15-16
The Israelites had sinned by creating a golden calf and worshiping it. After a night of God disciplining His people, the Lord told Moses to continue on to Canaan, but with one condition: He wasn’t going to be with them anymore “because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” (Exodus 33:3b)
Moses was not going to be content with such a proposition. For him, it was God’s Presence or nothing. There was an inheritance for them to take, a land of promise, amazing provision on the way to the promise and in the promise… yet, if God wasn’t in the picture, Moses would have none of it!
“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?” He cried out. And this cry ought to be the cry of the people of God amidst the promises and blessings He gives us.
We have a loving God who knows everything we need. He desires to bless us with amazing days and provision and gifts. As a dad, He believes in inheritance, in land where His children can create a home and bring impact to others, showing them His love. And yet, in all these things, we should ask ourselves: Is God’s Presence the ultimate thing in the world to us? Or are our blessings and provisions from Him making us forget Him?
Moses’ identity was rooted in God alone (“What else will distinguish me?”); approval in his life could only be “real approval” if given by God Himself. The identity he had, and the identity of the people of Israel were wrapped up in the PRESENCE of God. God OR Nothing.
As we go through our week, let’s be intentional when it comes to lingering in the Presence of God. Do we quicken our time with Him because we think it’s a waste of time? Do we set aside a moment where we simply enjoy time with God, speaking with God the way we do to a friend? Like Moses, we should be firm about this in our lives: God OR Nothing.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.