The Gift of God’s Presence
“My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”
Introverts like me need and love times of solitude. After being around a large crowd my favorite thing to do is to find a quiet spot and sit in silence. But even the most introverted people can get too much alone time. Isolation is a completely different story. Every one wants to know they have people who love them, understand them, and will be there for them when they need them. This is true in human relationships, but even truer in our relationship with God. His presence is crucial for our success and our well-being.
Fire and Cloud Indicated God’s Presence
Moses had been given the huge privilege and the huge burden of leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the Arabian Desert. While encamped around Mount Sinai God called Moses to come to the top of the mountain to receive instructions for living and worship. A fire and cloud that had lead the people on their journey rested atop the mountain indicating God’s presence there.
The People Break God’s Commandments
But while Moses was gone the people paced impatiently. “When is our so-called leader coming back?” they griped. Finally they approached Aaron, who had been left in charge, and demanded he build them a god that they could see and worship. Aaron complied and crafted a golden calf. The people were ecstatic and soon got out of control in their feasting, drinking, and sport-making as they danced and worshiped around the shiny image. The whole camp fell into an uproar as the people broke all of God’s commandments they had only recently promised to obey.
All of this revelry was not unseen by the LORD Who burned with anger. Moses implored Him to relent and He finally agreed to allow the people to go forward toward the land flowing with milk and honey, but they would have to go on their own. He would send an angel before them, but remove His presence from their midst.
God’s Presence is a Gift of Grace
This announcement devastated everyone. Moses begged the LORD not to send them out alone. His presence made them different from the surrounding nations and gave them the protection and provision they needed. Finally God agreed with a beautiful promise, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” What a gift of grace this was for the children of Israel!
We have received an even greater gift. God does not abandon us in our sins, and leave us alone to fend for ourselves. Instead He has bestowed on us the blessing of His powerful presence manifested in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Christmas Blessing – Immanuel, God With Us
During the Christmas season we celebrate God’s promised Immanuel, God with Us! Jesus came and made it possible for us to experience God’s presence every day.
The Israelites were thrilled to see the cloud representing God’s presence hovering over their place of worship. How much more can we thrill at having God’s Spirit live in our hearts.
So whether you love crowds or enjoy your quiet spot of solitude, you can rest assured you are never alone. For Immanuel, “God with us”, is here to stay. Call upon Him this Christmas season and experience His precious promise, “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”
Read more about Moses and God’s Presence here.
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