Presence vs. Promise 1

This morning, in our Sunday Life Class (think Sunday School), we continue our series by John Bevere – Good or God.

The premised of the series is that things in life might seem good, but are they really good? Do they line of with God’s definition of good? And what is God’s definition of good anyway? It’s been an interesting series so far.

This morning we looked briefly at the life of Moses and specifically at the point where the God commands the Israelites to leave where they were to journey toward the Promised Land.

We’ll pick up in Exodus 33, verses 1-3.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angelbefore you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people…”

We’ll get back to this section in a minute.

Fast forward a couple verses to verse 15, Moses’ response to God.

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.

So, here we have a unique dialogue between God and Moses. God has commanded the Israelites to get moving and enter the Promised Land, but He won’t go with them. And then we have Moses (I would say “boldly but respectfully”) saying to God, “if you don’t go with us, I’m not taking these people anywhere.” [the JB version]

Was the Promised Land a good place? You bet. It’s often described as a land flowing with milk and honey. Joshua and Caleb found grapes so large that two men had to carry them.

This place was a pretty sweet promise. And it been promised to the Israelites for quite some time. It was good.

But Moses wanted something more. Guess where “here” was when he said “…do not send us up from here.”? “Here” was the middle of the desert they had been traveling in. “Here” wasn’t such a great place by our standards – certainly not compared to the Promised Land, but “here” was good enough for Moses if that’s where God was. And he wasn’t going anywhere without Him.

In verse 17, we see God agreeing to Moses’ request.

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

So, not only did Moses get God to go along with him and all the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land, but he even experience the back side of God’s glory – what an amazing thing.

So I’ll leave you with this challenge today – are you seeking first what seems to be good (and very well might be), or are you seeking first His Presence?

One comment on “Presence vs. Promise

  1. Reply L Feb 27,2016 8:19 pm

    I so want to do this series, Jared. Thanks for wetting my appetite even more than it already was!

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