Read Exodus 33
When I was in the 4th grade, I had to have surgery on my abdominal area. I remember walking into Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY with my parents. I was more curious than afraid. There was a sense of nervousness, but I was excited that this event was outside of the norm. After all, I was having surgery...not my brothers or my mother...but me. In a way, I didn’t mind the attention I was getting from my parents or from the doctors. I had my very own hospital room that I did not have to share with my brothers. I had a cool gown (that I found out later was being worn backwards). At first, this experience was like a really cool field trip...until the doctor explained what surgery was. Now, I was scared. I did not want to be in this strange place anymore. I wanted to go home. I think my dad must have seen the expression on my face when the doctor was speaking to us. He must have seen the anxiety and fear in my eyes, because as soon as the doctor left the room, my father put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Don’t worry about it. It will be fine. I will be right here.” hose were the words that I needed to hear. “Don’t worry about it. I will be right here.”
The surgery was scheduled in the morning, so I had to spend the night in the hospital room. My dad, who kept his promise, stayed in the room with me the entire night. There was no extra bed, so he slept on the chair right next to my bed. I wouldn’t fall asleep unless he was holding my hand. I don’t know how long he held it. I don’t know how uncomfortable he must have been in that position, but I fell asleep. When I woke up, my dad was still there. When the time came to prep me for surgery, he was holding my hand. When I woke up in pain in the recovery room, my dad’s face was the one I recognized first. He was there. His presence mattered to me.
In Exodus 33, Moses is having a serious conversation with God. Leading the children of Israel to the “Promised Land” is a task to great for him to do by himself. He desires to have the favor of God with him, so he is looking for assurances from the Lord. In verse 14, the Lord says, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Moses replies to the Lord, “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?” There are two things that we learn from Moses’ conversation with the Lord.
Moses was willing to do whatever he had to do to ensure that God’s presence would be with him. The presence of God was important to him.
The presence of God is what distinguishes his people from all other people.
My father is not a surgeon or a doctor, but I needed his presence in that hospital room. The surgery still occurred. The pain was still real. The recovery was still life changing, but my dad’s presence made a huge difference. I was his child, and I needed his presence. I would not have been willing to move forward without him. I needed him. So...here is the question: Based on our actions, do we long for the presence of God in our lives? Do we really need him? Are we humble enough to confess that we are not willing to move forward without his presence in our lives? Are you willing to take that job promotion without his presence? Are you willing to move forward in that relationship without his presence? Are you willing to buy that house or move out of state without his presence? His presence is what distinguishes us from everyone else, and we need to be willing to do whatever we need to do to ensure that God’s presence is with us. Don’t move forward without Him.
Now that’s Good Word!