Presence Devotion #27

What is Your Response?

David Breen – General Manager of Training, Discovery Community Care

Scripture

Exodus 33: 7-17

The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend…My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Then Moses said to him, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here”.

Insight

I was on the phone the other day chatting away to someone and enjoying the conversation. They had some good things to say and I responded with great intensity, talking away for a few moments completely engaged in what I was saying, only to then discover there was no reply – there was silence at the other end – the phone connection had dropped out and I was talking to the air! Not getting a response from a friend is like talking to a brick wall … and it is nasty!

In our reading today we find Moses out in the desert having a conversation with God (Moses was the leader of a bunch of people who were rebellious, godless and whinging like 2 year olds). God had just given Moses the 10 Commandments, and the infamous golden calf had been made and then smashed to bits by Moses.

God then tells Moses to move to the Promised Land, to the place of abundance and plenty, and He would send His mighty angel with them to kill the bad guys so they could settle in and have a nice life!

However … “I will not be going with you!” says God. “What,” says Moses? “What do you mean not go – you brought us out here in the first place. It was your idea … you agreed to save us and get us out of the hands of the rotten Egyptian slave masters. Thanks, but now you want to send us off to a nice life in Canaan with lots of yummy stuff and you’re not coming”?! Moses is mystified.

Moses and God were best mates – they spoke face to face (this was pre- texting and SMS remember) and this frank conversation was about the next step Moses had to take in the journey.

What I find amazing is that Moses gets to ask some very blunt and direct questions to the Almighty like, “Hey, you told me over and over, “Go lead these people” yet know you are sending with me off with them by myself! What’s going on, God? Don’t leave me in the lurch here – keep showing me what to do – these are your people you know! I thought you said you were happy with me – now you are saying you will not come with us. I don’t get it!

Then, God seems to capitulate (to swing the other way) and change his mind! What is going on – He now says – “My presence will be with you! I will go with you”. Is God weak or confused or indecisive?

No! God is not playing tricks and this is not a mistake or error in history. But God did change his mind and he did it purposefully because He is the God of response. He is relational and he was looking for the invitation, for Moses to respond to the thought that they might be left alone. “Do you really want me?” is the question behind the statement, and Moses’ response is perfect; “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways”. God is delighted and says, “I will be with you!” His presence assured!

God is looking for our response – not silence at the end of the phone. He is delighted when we respond to Him and say, “Please teach me your ways, I want you to be with me. I’m not just interested in the good things you give me but in being with you and you with me!” His presence will be with you!

Reflective Questions

1. Are there any conversations you had with God that have gone cold?
2. What perceptions were challenged by God’s response to Moses?
3. How can you adjust your response to God to ensure He is with you?