God is Near
By Luann Prater
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.” Exodus 33:14-16
This verse implies, without You Lord, we don't want to go!
When I was 5 my family went to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. I was fascinated with the baby elephant but my family had moved on. They left that building without me and panic hit when I realized, I was lost.
When my children were small we went to Disney World and because of my experience, I devised a way to keep track of them as we wandered through the sea of people. Hats. Not just any hat, bucket golf hats. As people pressed in, one quick glance let me know my children were near. Why? Because no other little people were wearing them! And this mama was watching.
Sometimes I feel like I'm 5 again, lost, struggling and feeling alone. Maybe, like me, you've been there, feeling like God lost track of you on His GPS? Have you ever asked, how did I get here and does God even care?
God put this passage here for us, in those moments when we feel all alone.
The Israelites had messed up. When Moses was on the mountain they thought he wasn't coming back, so they took matters into their own hands and created an idol. Big mistake.
Our idols aren't golden calves but we are still tempted to build them when life doesn't 'feel' right. Maybe your family is broken. Maybe your health is weakened. Maybe your leaders are distant.
Moses understood a solid fact: God is essential to life. He remembered he was rescued in a basket as a baby, in a field as a fugitive and when God delivered them from everything rotten in Egypt. He chose to stay close to God. He talked to Him daily.
God was not pleased with the Israelites but He didn't leave them alone. God was near. He showed up every day in a pillar of cloud. And even though He was telling them to go somewhere new, He promised His presence would go with them.
God didn't make them wear bucket hats so He could spot them in a crowd. He promised His presence would distinguish them from all others.
His Presence is in us, so why do we feel distant at times? Remember how Moses activated the relationship with God? He chose to stay close to Him. He chose to talk to Him daily. He treated Him like a friend. He expected Him to show up every day.
When we ask God to forgive us of our sin and come into our life as Lord, He inhabits us. He sends His Holy Spirit to live in us, to work through us and to counsel us daily. We don't have to sit at the entrance of our tent watching someone else have the relationship with God. The same promise He gave Moses, He gives to us. God is near.
Lord, we often forget that You are right here with us. The distance between us happens when we step away, don’t pray and refuse to listen. Forgive us. Today I choose to spend time with You and embrace the fact that You are near. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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© 2019 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Monday, 05 December 2022.