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If God Did Not Go With You

“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.” Exodus 33:15–17

God told Moses that he would deliver the people of God to the Promised Land as he had promised — but he would not go with them. Moses responded quickly and clearly, “If you don’t go with us, we don’t want to go.”

What is your greatest dream? What does victory look like for you? What is your promised land? What if God told you in no uncertain terms that he was giving that very thing to you, right now, that your dream would finally be realized? What if he told you that he would not go there with you? Would you still want to go?

Don’t answer that question too quickly. Take the time to ponder it. Think on it. If you say “Yes, I would still want to go,” know that there are many, many people who would answer the same way. We live in a world where we are bombarded by messages that the arrival at our destination will make us happy — the perfect car, the perfect love, the perfect kid, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect retirement, the perfect destination, the promised land.

The problem is that there is no there, there. The joy is not in the destination but in the journey, the now, the here. Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full, more and better life than you ever imagined,” in this life, in these bodies, now, and forever when you die. (John 10:10). Jesus described eternal life not as a quantity of life but as a quality of life; “this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

Now that is good news! God calls us to do things, to make a difference, to be salt and light, to be agents of restoration. But our success or failure is not measured in mere outcomes or arrivals at these destinations. Rather, it is measured in the present, in faithfulness, in the reality that God is with us as we go. Moses knew that his people were fickle, that life was uncertain, that joys were fleeting and victories were transient, but he also knew that God was constant, true, merciful and good. Without his presence with them, it did not matter how good the destination looked; when they got there, it would be worthless.

Peace, hope and love


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