Ever thought, wow that person has such a presence about them!? A certain je ne sais quoi. Something largely indescribable. You just can’t put your finger on it. I have. In fact, I have encountered a few in my years, and I remember being amazed by how easily they commanded attention.
I haven’t really thought much about it. Not until recently with my makeshift tent pitched in the soil of the book of Exodus.
I keep going back to Moses’ words, for your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth |Exodus 33:16|. The GNT translation says, your presence with us will distinguish us from any other people on earth. I read this, and my annoyance with Adam and Eve was momentarily suspended. My heart actually ached for them. To be banished from the presence of the Lord is in my opinion the worst possible punishment I can think of. What a rude awakening it must have been, not knowing the true extent of your covering until you are met with the harsh realities of life outside Eden. Then there is Samson, who cuddled in the arms of lust made a decision that cost him everything; but he did not know that the Lord had left him |Judges 16:20|. Let’s not forget Saul, from whom the spirit of the Lord departed |1 Samuel 16:14|.
We can talk about the common thread of disobedience, amongst other things in another post. For now, I want to focus on God’s presence. What does it mean for you and I, and is it worth laying down all else, including self for?
First, the presence of the Lord encapsulates His glory and brilliance. His presence is direction. So even when we are not privy to the details, we are certain of progressive movement. His presence is light, ensuring that His own do not stumble around in darkness. His presence is wisdom, the tabernacle of all knowledge, understanding and revelation. His presence is rest, peace, favor and power. It is joy, fruitfulness, and hope. His presence purifies, renews and heals. It is comforting and uplifting. His presence is a fortress. It is provision. His presence is the absolute embodiment of good. It is everything the human mind can comprehend, and more. Heavy on the more. His presence is life, and are we really living if without the very source of life? So to answer the second question, a million times yes. His presence is worth laying down all else, including self for.
If ever a presence commanded attention, it should be His. So why do we gamble with it? Are we so foolish to think that God being himself mercy would condone sin? Are we so disillusioned by the compliments, applause and accolades that we think even for a moment that we are ourselves God? So enamored by the works of our hands, that we despise the authority of the One who is the King of kings? Are we so far gone, blinded by popular opinion and deceit that we are beyond saving?
I love that Moses literally presses God for His presence, if you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. Moses had the destination i.e., the big picture, the land flowing with milk and honey, but no clue about the routing details. He was smart enough to know he needed God for the journey. Thus, he put all his weight on his demand, for himself and the people of Israel.
Y’all, the world will always be chaotic. There will be many good days, and many bad days. The distinguishing difference between God’s children, and the world is His presence. That is the ‘it’ factor. It is how we can rest in the midst of, intercede in spite of, and count it all joy in troubled waters. This world is not our home. But while we are in it, home is found in His presence. We are to seek it with everything we’ve got, and when we find it, dwell in it.
I am praying for you, and yours. That in these trying times, the Lord will bless and keep you; make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace |Numbers 6:24-26|. I pray that (in a surrendered state of awestruck wonder) you and I like Moses can boldly say, then show me your glorious presence.