Then Moses said to Him, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” — Exodus 33:15
By American standards, Moses had it made. To protect him from being murdered, his mother placed him in a basket and put him in the Nile River when he was just a baby. He literally got found by the richest household on the planet. He had access to the nicest and best of everything that the world had to offer. One would think that he would have taken full advantage of his wealth and simply ate, drank, and just been merry.
By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. – Hebrews 11:24
Moses rejected what most Americans wish for. He rejected financial security. He rejected the safe life. He rejected the comfortable life. Had he not done this, we would not even know who he is. As it stands, over 3,000 years after his death, almost everyone on the planet knows his name.
I have been thinking about the life of Moses so much lately. He fled Egypt and ran off to Midian where he settled down and got married. I imagine it was a nice, comfortable simple life. One day, Moses ran into the presence of the Lord in the form of a burning bush. From that point on, Moses would follow the instructions of the Lord. The Lord would place Moses on a path that seems on the surface to be a rip off. He went back to Egypt and lived among the slaves. When God’s plan didn’t produce instant gratification, the people rejected Moses and despised him and his leadership. When God led them to the Red Sea, Moses looked like the biggest idiot and the worst leader ever. The Israelites and the Egyptians thought he was so foolish, but when that Red Sea parted, they knew Moses led them to the exact right place at the exact right time.
Here is where this gets crazy: God had Moses lead them to a desert. Moses could have lived in Egypt simply requesting the best food and drink money could buy. Now, he does not know how in the world God will supply the basic needs of a multitude of people out in the wilderness. This is the life he willingly chose. Who in their right mind forsakes a life of ease for a life of difficulty?
Answer: Someone who has experienced the authentic presence of The Lord.
I remember my first real taste of the Presence of God. It only lasted for a few seconds. I literally asked Him to turn it off because I couldn’t take it. Ever since that moment, I have chased Him. There is nothing like His Presence. There is nothing like following Him where He leads. I speak to young people who can’t believe that I’ve been married for almost 20 years. They think that is the most boring existence to be with the same person for that long. They don’t know that God’s Presence is all over my marriage. When I became a teacher, people told me it was the dumbest profession I could have gone into, but that is where I feel that He is with me. I would hate to do any other job without Him. When God led me to pastor for 6 years, I may not have received the approval of man, but I did have His Presence and I learned things I could have never learned otherwise. Even now, who in their right mind volunteers to preach services in the wilderness where there is no guarantee that anyone will come at all? I did . . . simply because I believed that He was asking me to. There is no way that I would understand just how faithful He is if I had rejected that invitation. He is absolutely the best thing that this planet offers. He is always on time. He is always faithful.
At this very moment, I have so many difficult decisions to make about the days ahead that could certainly affect the rest of my life and the life of my family. But also at this moment, I am typing this at 4:39 a.m. just soaking in the Presence of the Lord. When He is right here and I’m ever so aware of it, those decisions don’t seem so hard. They don’t seem hard because I just know that He will lead me to a place where I will find more of His Presence. He will go before me.
Lord, with all my heart I want to follow You. I just want to be where You are. I love these moments of just knowing You are right here with me. Who am I that you are the least bit mindful of me? I love You, and even saying those words I know that You gave me that love. Every good and perfect thing in my life has come from You. When I’m on the mountaintop, You are there with me. When I’m in the lowest valley, You are there with me. At every place in between, You have been there with me. Thank You so much for being the God that you are. Let my feet never wander where You do not lead. Amen