Hungry for the Gift and the Giver

If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us from here…. And now, Lord, show me Your glory. (Ex. 33:15,18)

Moses has heard God call him from a burning bush, give him specific directions for shepherding His people out of Egypt, direct the miracles that led to the people’s release, and chisel the Commandments in his very presence. Verse after verse notes what Moses “said to the Lord.” God Himself speaks to Moses “face to face” (Ex.33:11). What an intimate relationship they have.

We all have at least one close friend, a relationship we treasure, someone we speak with frequently. We hunger for that friend’s company when she’s absent. Texts are insufficient; we hunger for him to be with us. So when God, angry with His “stick-necked people” who've been worshiping a golden calf, tells Moses to head to the Promised Land without Him, Moses balks at losing the intimacy he’s cherished: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Ex.33:15)

What good are God’s gifts without His presence? Surrounding nations have seen the pillar of fire by night and smoke by day marking the Israelites as God’s people. Without God in their midst, who are they?

When the people hear God’s decision, they mourn (v.6). We don’t see them beseeching God, but we do see Moses hungry enough for God’s presence to challenge Him: “You’ve been telling me to lead these people,” so let me find favor with You, and teach me how. And, by the way, “remember this nation is Your people” (vs.12-13). God relents…a little: “My Presence will go with you” (the singular “you,” v.14). Isn’t this what Moses wants? Yes, but…he wants God’s presence to go with all of them (vs.15,16). Moses’ personal hunger for God extends to his mission. Hungry to see God’s people go where they’re supposed to go, Moses wants the One who engineered their deliverance leading the way.

Sometimes what we get depends on what we ask for, how we ask for it, and how hungry we are for it. God tells Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked because I am pleased with you” (v.17). 

Sometimes we get more than we ask for. “I will do wonders never before done in any nation in the world. The people will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you” (v.10). 

Has your hunger been satisfied, Moses? No; it’s grown deeper still. Not satisfied with face to face communication with God, Moses demands a fuller experience. “Now show me Your glory” (v.18). Not, um, Lord, could I see…?” Not, “do You think You could show me…?” But a command!! And you know what? God agrees! “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my Name, the LORD, in your presence” (v.19). All that’s left to say here is… WOW, our God satisfies. 

Lord, give me more of You. That was Moses’ request. May it be our hunger-driven prayer, too.

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