I’ve been considering Moses the past several weeks. The more I read about him, the more I see his heart for God. There is one section in particular that keeps drawing me in, “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth” Exodus 33:16.
You probably know the background, Aaron and the Israelites created a golden idol in the image of a calf and fell down and worshipped it (they grew impatient during Moses’ absence). As a result of their rebellion, God smote about three thousand men, and determined He would not travel with them any longer (calling them obstinate), lest His anger burn against them and He’d destroy all of them. God promised to send an angel to lead them the rest of the way. Upon hearing this news, the people went into mourning. They couldn’t believe their ears. Either could Moses, so he prayed and waited for God’s final verdict.
Moses refused to go on toward the promise land without God. No angel would do; it had to be God or nothing. “Is it not by Your going with us…” What set them apart was the Lord God Jehovah. Without God they were just like all the other idol worshippers (which they proved).
What’s so amazing about this story is that Moses, and perhaps a few thousand Israelites, realized that a land flowing with milk and honey, no matter how glorious that might be, without God it was nothing. It was God who made it great.
Every once in awhile someone will say to me, “I can’t imagine doing life without God.” And my response is always the same, “Isn’t that the truth!” For so many years I did my own thing, pursuing my dreams and desires. After getting less than ideal results, I realized life without God is empty. We can fool ourselves into believing it’s really good, but it’s not. We can try and make it better, but life will still fall short. The idols (affection for things) don’t pay off; instead they suck us dry.
May our prayer be similar to Moses prayer, “Not without You, God!”
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