And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
Kings, princes, heads of state, sought the advice and prayers of the late Billy Graham. He was like a modern-day Moses, a man of God. God’s presence in his life caused him to reach millions with the saving knowledge of Jesus. The nation of Israel was chosen and given God’s presence to show all the other nations their God was more than an idol of wood or stone. His presence gave them identity and a purpose. It gave them distinction. They were different than all the other nations around them (Exodus 19:6).
As the leader of God’s chosen people, Moses’ desire was to go forward only if God was with them. His direction came from God. His purpose became God’s purpose, his will God’s will. Moses learned it was more important who he went with than where he went. And the nations noticed.
As followers of Jesus spent time with him, his presence gave them identity as his disciples. Their direction came from knowing the way of Jesus and having a heart changed by Jesus. And the people noticed (Acts 4:13).
God’s plan includes nations, tribes, tongues and peoples knowing him by seeing his presence displayed in the lives of those who follow him. The apostle John tells in his letters that God’s presence (John 8:31), love (John 13:35), and fruit in our lives (John 15:8) will show we are his disciples. Spending time in his presence motivates us to bring his presence to others. Being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and doing as Jesus did is our goal as his distinct people.
Ask God to give you a renewed sense of devotion to spend time in his presence. Is there someone you can affirm today for the distinction they have of spending time in the presence of the Lord? Say this prayer of blessing for his presence in your life and others.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
By Donna Burns