“Then he said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here…’” (Ex. 33:15).
The Israelites were in the desert. God told Moses to lead His people up from there and go to the land which He had promised, the land flowing with milk and honey.
But just prior to this, they had made a golden calf and worshiped it, forgetting that it was God who brought them out of captivity. The Lord saw this, and He burned with anger and called them a “stiff-necked” people.
In Exodus 33:3, God tells Moses, “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” In other words, He was still telling them to go into the Promised Land, but He would not be going with them.
And Moses pleaded, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here…” (vs. 15).
This wrecked me as I read it. I love that about God’s Word, that it’s living and active. Here they were, in the desert, with God calling them into the Promised Land. But Moses essentially says, “Well, if You aren’t going with us, Lord, then let us stay here.” Stay here…in the desert.
Does that hit you like it does me? Moses would rather be among the thorns and thistles than in a land flowing with milk and honey as long as God’s presence was there. Nothing else mattered to him. He just wanted God.
In Beth Moore’s Bible study called “The Quest”, she states, “This is the God whose very presence is in your presence. This same presence reflected in your life…is your most distinguishing mark on this earth. Talent can’t match it. Beauty can’t match it. Celebrity can’t match it…All the milk and honey on the planet can’t match it. No mansion. No marriage. No van full of car seats. No platform or position. Nothing compares.”
Nothing compares to God’s presence. Why spend our lives seeking after these things when they pale in comparison to the presence of God? “If Your presence stays, I don’t want to go. If Your presence goes, I don’t want to stay” (Without You, Shane & Shane).
Lord, I want to be where you are. If that means I am in a season that doesn’t look exactly the way I want it to, but You are there, then let me be there. If You are going forward, may I go too. Cause me to be present in Your presence. You are with me. Make me aware. If Your presence does not go with me, do not bring me up from here.