Thursday, May 23, 2013

God Is Here

Exodus 33:14  "And [God] said, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'"

Moses was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. By the time they reached the 33rd chapter of Exodus, I think Moses might have wanted to take them back to Egypt. They were a bunch of complaining, idolatrous, ungrateful people that God labeled "stiff-necked". What nerve! Look how blessed they were. Released from slavery. Going to the land of milk and honey. God personally leading them with a visible sign by day and night. I would never do such a thing....and, yet...

How blessed I am everyday. I have been released from spiritual captivity. I am going to a Promised Land greater than the one ever offered to the Israelites. I live in the Land of the Free that all of the world wants to come to, now. I have milk and honey... and meat and potatoes... and a supermarket full of goodness. And I complain. And I am ungrateful. And, yes, I suspect I am even fairly idolatrous at times. I can be so "stiff necked' sometimes, that it literally makes my neck stiff. What nerve!

Moses had to be stressed out. And then God told him to take the people and go, but God wouldn't go with them. I guess He had just had it. But Moses knew what we need to learn. He could handle the stress and deal with the difficult people around him, if only God would go with him. 

He didn't pray for God to punish the people. He prayed for God to forgive them. He didn't ask for riches or material blessings from God. He didn't ask for comfort. He asked for His presence.

At the end of chapter 33, Moses prayed again. He didn't just want to know God's presence. Verse 18 says "Moses said, 'PLEASE show me Your glory.'" And God said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name 'The LORD'." Can you even stand it?

I am on a journey through this life. I will go through seasons. Some will be good and others difficult. Through them all, I want God's presence to go with me. I want God to show me His glory. I want to see His goodness. 

Throughout life, there are times when we overwhelmingly sense God's presence. A wonderful worship service, a moment in nature, milestones like weddings, births, even deaths. But God wants to show us His glory everyday. His presence "never leaves us or forsakes us". What about the ray of sunshine that breaks through the clouds after the rain? The unexpected rainbow? That first time your new grandchild smiles at you? What about the moment we are so hurt it is painful? When we are wound so tight we might break if someone says one. more. word. We have to be aware and watchful. That still, small voice whispers to us constantly, "I am here. I've got you." 

When I am stiff necked from stress, I need to seek Him. I need to rest in His presence. I need to look for His glory all around me - because it is there. 

There is a song by Martha Munizzi and Israel and Maleesa Houghton called "God Is Here". It goes like this:
"There is a sweet anointing in this sanctuary. There is a stillness in the atmosphere. O, come lay down the burdens you have carried, for in this sanctuary, God Is Here."
I am the sanctuary (1 Cor 3:16). Am I still? Have I laid my burdens down? (1 Pet 5:7) Do I feel His presence in MY sanctuary? He is Immanuel...God With Us. He is here. His presence goes with me and He will give me rest.

It's a long song, but worth the watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S27luprE2a8



4 comments:

  1. Judie, I feel every word of this, friend. Maybe, most of all, that feeling that despite the variety of bounty and choice I am provided with - I still find reason to complain. Sigh... Thank God for His eternal grace for this stiff-necked child of His. Your questions at the end? Fantastic encouragements to remember that God is our Provider and the Lover of our Souls. Loved this post!

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    1. Thank you for YOUR encouraging words! I struggle with these reminders, too, and have to keep reminding myself of His grace. I am about as stiff-necked as they come some days!

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  2. I love this post. Thoughtful and gently convicting. We are indeed blessed children of God!

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    1. Thank you so much! We are blessed indeed.

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