The Israelites response to God and God’s frustration and anger shows us two things. First, it shows us that nothing can replace the presence of God! The fact that God was sending an angel with them was not enough. Even though it was a heavenly being, assigned from God, it still did not even come close to comparing with God’s presence. They knew, without a doubt, that the only reason they came out of Egypt and the only reason they had survived out in the dessert was because God had been with them and protected them. It is important that in our own relationships with God, we don’t settle for anything less than God’s presence because there are no substitutes.
Second, it shows us that God’s presence needs to be the first and only thing that we truly seek. The Israelites got tired of waiting for God and Moses so they created another god, being the golden calf. When they realized this angered God and he threatened to not go with them they went into mourning. In our culture there are so many things that we worship and spend our time with other than God. We look for happiness and comfort in the presence of money, friends and family, school, or even in a sense of religion. Those things in themselves are not bad to spend time with and definitely can make us happy, but when they take the place of God’s presence in our lives they become idols and begin to pull us away from our relationships with God.
Moses did not want to go anywhere without God’s presence. He knew there were no substitutes and that nothing compared with God. He was not willing at all to settle for anything else! Moses truly understood just how important God’s presence in our lives really is.
Nothing is more important than seeking God’s presence and there is no substitute that can even come close to what God has for us. Christ’s death on the cross tore down the veil that divided man and God. We all are welcome to enter His courts with praise and come before His presence in the Holy of Holies with thanksgiving. It is as simple as praying and telling God that you want to begin a relationship with him. When we have a relationship with God we can enter his presence no matter where we are because he promises to be with us. We can worship him and draw nearer to him as we bask in His presence. God’s presence and a relationship with him are better than anything else that we can have on the face of this planet!
Pastors Ben and Wanda Anderson