“And he said, ‘If your face is not going, do not lead us from this place. And in what way will it be known, then, that I have found favor in your eyes―I and your people? Is it not in your going with us and that we have been treated specially―I and your people―from all the people who are on the face of the earth?’”
Moses now reiterates his plea that God be with them as they leave Sinai, but now he adds reasons for the request. When God’s people stray from God’s presence, there is nothing but grief and trouble for those people. And oh, this world has enough troubles in it as a result of sin–even when we walk in God’s presence–how is it that so often the church thinks that they can go on alone. Moses rightly understands, though, that what makes Israel separate, blessed, and unique from all the other people of the earth is the presence of God with them. Without God’s presence, there can be no true blessings. Solomon sought to explore this idea further in the book entitled Ecclesiastes. His conclusion is that anything done or gained apart from God is empty and vain. This statement of Moses’ is a statement that should be found upon the wall of every pastor’s office and should be part of the prayer of every leadership meeting that Christ’s church has. Oh, how often we stray from this truth.
It is also worth noting that some of the last words of Pharaoh to Moses were that the next time Moses saw the face of Pharaoh, he would die. Yet, Moses understands clearly that it is not the presence of Pharaoh that insures peace, but the presence of Yahweh alone. The sad thing is that so many Christians seek to find their “place” in this world on their own strengths rather than seeking their place in Christ. We chase after fame and we chase after recognition, but what do these things gain us in the eyes of an almighty God? No, loved ones, let us seek our place in Christ—all else is vanity.