This year, I don’t want to step into anything God is not leading me in. At the beginning of this new year, I’m reminded of a passage that I was first taught in preparation for a mission trip, Exodus 33:12-20:
Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
The Lord replied, “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. 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?”
And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
In this passage, we see Moses have a conversation with God. Which is super exciting, since Moses had one of the most intimate walks with God out of anyone from the Bible. We see in this conversation, Moses does not want to go any further in leading Israel, unless he knew God’s presence was going with him.
Even though that is a big request, God is glad to grant it. Moses received promises from God assuring that God’s presence will go with them and give them rest. So, are we supposed to ask the same of God? Can any person just ask to have God’s presence go with them? The answer is “yes” and “no”. One line of Moses’ dialogue gives a great explanation for us: “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”
Before God promises His presence, Moses is asking to know God’s ways so that He may better know God. At the end there, Moses credits this as the reason he finds favor with God. The answer is, anyone who desires to knows God’s ways for the purpose of having a deeper relationship with God, that person can ask and receive God’s presence with them. It takes having a desire to know God’s Word more, obeying it, and knowing God. The third step is important because outwardly anyone can be doing the right religious acts but have no desire to actually know God better. Anyone can put their faith in Jesus, repent, and then seek God in this way.
So going into this new year, let’s follow those three steps and be praying that God will go with us. At the beginning of a new year, most of us make goals and resolutions, some that will yield results and some that will yield very little to no results. Therefore, it makes sense we should prioritize what God is calling us to and will promise His presence in. Not everything we set out to do this year will have lasting results, but everything God leads us in will.
Moses knew he did not want to move forward if God was not leading and helping him. He knew he needed this, because he knew God’s presence is the only thing that made him and Israel completely different from the rest of the world. Like Israel, that is our purpose as Christians: to be set apart from the world so that we can be representatives sent from God to the world. God is abundantly good and gracious that He is willing to offer His presence to us. He also promises rest when we come to Him. Rest for our hearts is also very needed as we work at everything set before us, going into 2022. God, go with us.
“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
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