Promise or Presence?
If one day my husband were to lay out a plan of all that he is going to do for us in our home - gifts he is going to give me, things he is going to build and buy me, places he is going to take me - and I have a choice to make between all of that without him and none of that with him, what do you think I would choose? Hands down, I want him.
The Lord had told Moses that He would send His Angel ahead of him and the people of Israel into the Promised Land, that He would not go with them - "lest I consume you on the way." They were a stiff-necked people whose consistent disobedience and complaining had gotten to the point that the Lord wanted to fulfill His promise to them, but knew that He may destroy them in the process. I love Moses' words to the Lord in the next chapter:
"If Your Presence does not go up with us, do not bring us up from here."
Do we become fixated on our lands flowing with milk and honey to the point that we don't even realize we have abandoned the desire for just Him? What if the Lord gave you everything you have ever prayed for, everything you have felt Him promise you, yet you no longer felt His nearness? Is it worth it?
I remember a few years ago being offered an opportunity for a job that would have more than doubled my salary and made me feel more established and respectable. After much prayer and seeking the Lord, I felt so strongly that it wasn't time for that change. I'm not gonna lie, it hurt...but I decided that I could not bear the thought of chasing bigger and better - milk and honey - and Him not go there with me.
I want Him. Whether or not He fulfills any promise He has ever made to me, I have to have Him. I cannot live without His Presence.
Let's cap this off with the Lord's words right before Moses said the statement above:
"My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Father, I don't want the promise without You. Nothing You could give us in this world compares to the greatness of knowing You. Please go before me and stay with me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Exodus 33:1-3, 14-15