Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Importance of His Presence”
Exodus 33:15-16 (NASB)
Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
When my daughter started walking, the most endearing thing to me was when she would turn to me, reach out her hand and say, “Hold hand.” Even when we walked to the playground, she didn’t need me to hold her hand. In fact, since the playground was so fun and exciting for her, I wouldn’t blame her for running to the playground leaving me behind— yet, she would rather walk slowly with me. Though I don’t quite know why she does it, but every time she does my heart just melts. I think this is a prime example of Moses’ response to God. If you remember from Monday, God had gotten so tired of the stubbornness of Israel that He told them to go on into the Promised Land, but under one caveat: He wouldn’t enter there with them—they were on their own. Moses responds by turning to God and saying “Hold our hand.” Essentially, Moses is saying that they will not go unless He goes. He realizes that it’s not worth going if God’s presence does not go with them.
Moses desired the presence of God more than His blessings. So often we get that mixed up, wanting the blessings of God and not necessarily the presence of God. But do you know how much God’s heart is moved when you actually desire His presence? Do you know how much joy God feels when you reach out your hand towards Him and say, “Hold hand?” We must be people who desire His presence over just His blessings.
However, not only did God’s presence represent His continual favor over them, but it also represented the protection of God. If you recall, the nation of Israel was still in the embryonic phases of becoming a nation, and they were very vulnerable to the attacks of the superpowers in the Ancient Near East. Many nations were fearful of Israel because of what they had heard of the exodus of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. Without the presence of God, Moses knew they would be sitting ducks if they were to engage in any warfare. We too must not underestimate the protection of God in our lives. When we are in the presence of God, we are protected from so many things, even things that we are unaware of.
As we spend time reflecting on the presence of God, may our hearts resonate with Moses’ heart – that we would desire His presence above all else. It’s not just His provision, blessing, or even protection that we are after—ultimately, it’s Him that we desire. Let’s orient ourselves to desire Him above all else.
Prayer: Father God, Your presence is more important to me than Your blessing. Sometimes I don’t feel that way, but I know that is the truth. Help me to believe in that truth even more, and to earnestly desire Your presence above all things. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 27
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 27:4 (ESV): “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”
Question to Consider
- What is the context of this Psalm?
- What does David focus on in this Psalm?
- How does this psalm resonate with your prayers for His presence?
- This was a Psalm of David, most likely in a time of trouble, and yet the tone is one of confidence in the presence of God as well as a desire to be in His presence.
- Most likely, David was on the run, fleeing from the many people that were against him in his lifetime – and yet, his focus was on the presence of God. Twice he references the house of the Lord (which actually had not yet been constructed), but the essence of his request was one of deep desire to be in the presence of God.
- Personal response.
Take a moment to take an inventory of your heart. Are there things in your heart that you value more than the presence of God? Oftentimes, we associate the blessings of God with God Himself, and although there is nothing wrong with blessings, it becomes an issue when we have it backwards. We must learn to desire the presence of God over the blessings of God. Let’s be people who want the gift-giver more than the gift itself.