Moses was either amazing or crazy; perhaps a little of both! The often lonely road he walked, the obstinate people he loved, his passion for righteousness—they all point toward one of the truly great figures of history. But there was something else about Moses, something upon which his entire character hinged: Moses walked with God. And not only did he walk with God, Moses refused to move forward without Him.
We’ve all heard of the Ten Commandments and most of us are familiar with the story of the golden calf from Exodus Chapter 32. While Moses was on Mount Sinai, in the very presence of God, receiving the Law, the people were plunging themselves into idolatry
by creating a golden god they could see and touch. Both God and Moses were furious, with our Creator declaring that the people were so obstinate He’d prefer to send an angel to lead them rather than go Himself. Moses would have none of that, however, and God eventually agreed (probably with a wink and a nod) to go along.
“And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then he said to Him, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.’” Exodus 33:14-15 (NASB)
In other words, Moses was saying, “I’m not going anywhere without You!”
When Joshua took the reins of leadership, God powerfully promised him the following:
“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses . . . 5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Joshua 1:2-6 (NASB)
I don’t think that our God makes these types of promises because it’s a nice thing to do. Joshua was facing daunting odds and the heavenly Father lovingly instilled confidence in his trembling heart, setting the tone for the days ahead.
Today The Promise of His Presence remains but in a dimension far greater than under the Old Covenant Law. Hear what Peter spoke to the general populace on the Day of Pentecost as they responded with deep regret over the crucifixion of Christ:
“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2:38-39 (NASB)
The promise of God’s indwelling presence in our lives is nothing short of amazing! Under the Law, only the Jewish High Priest could access God’s presence in the temple, and only one time per year on the Day of Atonement. But when Christ died on the cross, the thick veil of the temple was literally torn in two. This meant that the average person now had access to the very presence of God, but still more importantly, that the Holy Spirit, God Himself, now had access to the average person! In short, through the grace of the New (and better) Covenant, the Creator of the universe can now dwell in the hearts of previously fallen humans. Amazing!
When I take the time to think about these things, I realize that nothing else this world can offer compares with The Promise of His Presence. Many in the early church understood this. They rejoiced when persecuted, willingly accepted the confiscation of their property, and even died brutal deaths with rejoicing in their hearts. Without question, they knew the value of the Promise; and although it was by faith, it wasn’t without a tangible relationship.
How much do we value and experience The Promise of His Presence? Methinks some changes are in order!