Exodus 33:14 “The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:12-15 is by far my favorite passage in the Scriptures. This exchange between Moses and God is priceless, and reveals the whole point of God’s redemptive plan.
The tangible Presence of God had been seen as a cloud hovering over the tabernacle by day, and as a fire in the cloud by night, throughout Israel’s journey in the wilderness. In this exchange between Moses and God, Moses asks “who will you send with me?” God’s reply was “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
God kept His promise and traveled with His people the entire forty years in the wilderness. “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Exodus 13:21-22).
The Face of God
The Hebrew word for presence literally means “face.” It is reasonable to see that being in someone’s presence would enable you to see their face. When you are in the Presence of God you are literally before His face. This is where intimacy comes into play, with God or anyone else.
When you’re in the Presence of God you’re standing face to face with Him. This is exactly how Moses met with God throughout his life. God and Moses spoke face to face as a man does with his friend (see Exodus 33:11). God desires to be with you more than you desire to be with Him. From the times He would walk with Adam and Eve in Paradise, God’s desire has always been to fellowship with people.
To be with people is the reason behind the Tabernacle; “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). And; “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” (Deuteronomy 4:7). John was given a glimpse in his vision: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
You Are God’s Address
Think for a moment, you have more than Moses ever imagined. Moses had God with him, you have God in you, Moses met with God in the Tabernacle, you are now God’s Tabernacle! Paul said “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Corinthians 3:16), and “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
The Place of Intimacy
When you look into a person’s face you can see what they’re feeling deep within them by their expressions, and God is no different. The more alone you are with God the more you begin to discern His feelings about you, many times even before He says anything. In any long term intimate relationship one look can speak volumes; you instantly understand it because you know each other so well.
This is how it was with Moses, he intuitively knew God’s position on many things before speaking with Him. He had become so accustomed to intimacy with God for so many years that he had an insatiable hunger for God’s Presence. Only with the Face of God could Moses ever be content. God alone was the source of his security, His Presence was his greatest possession.
God’s Presence Sets You Apart
When God said His Presence would go with him Moses refused to take another step without Him saying, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Moses goes on to explain; “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:16).
God is Always with You
Just as He promised to go with Moses in the wilderness, God has promised to go with you. He made the same promise to Joshua in saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). This is also repeated in the New Testament to all God’s redeemed people: “…be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you;never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
You have already come into God’s Promised Land…the promise of restored intimacy with Him. Having Christ in your life is the heart of God’s desire for you; remember Jesus is Immanuel “God with us.” You are never alone, God has promised that His Presence goes with you, and He will give you rest. Brother Lawrence practiced being conscious of God’s Presence with him all the time remarked: “Sometimes I feel such an overflowing sense of God’s presence that I have to deliberately find a way to restrain and subdue myself when others are nearby.”
Settle it in your heart and mind that God is indeed with you whether you feel Him or not. His Spirit dwells with in you; you are always before His face the moment you speak to Him. Be conscious of Christ’s abiding Presence; Be aware that God is intimately aware of you twenty fours a day. Be at rest in His Presence, Be confident in His Love, Be courageous in Prayer, and Be Encouraged! -JSP