“Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.’”
Exodus 33:15, ESV
If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Exodus 33:13-23, ESV
In this chapter, Moses is instructed to continue on with the Israelites and to keep going. God tells Moses that he will go ahead of them and make a way for them, but Moses in this instance just wants to walk with God. From this point on, God has affirmed Moses, letting him know that He is well pleased and that Moses is highly favored but Moses desires more, He wants to know for sure that God is with him and that he is not striving in vain. He refuses to settle for the bare minimum of anything with God.
Was there ever a time in your life when you just needed to know that you weren’t walking alone in the wilderness? Where you didn’t feel God one hundred percent and began to wonder if he was really there, if he really said what you thought he said? Sometimes trusting God at his word and believing that he is with us the whole way means refusing to settle for anything less than all of Him and all of His presence.
There have been times in my life where I have just wanted to settle; demanding the best of the best just didn’t seem worth the effort or the hassle. In the end, when I would settle, I was never one hundred percent satisfied because I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted or needed. It hasn’t been until recently that God has begun to challenge me and has shown me that good things are worth fighting for, waiting for, and even making sacrifices for, and that includes God.
What I love about this passage, particularly in verses 15 and 16 is that Moses refuses to go anywhere that God won’t step with him. He tells God “If you aren’t going, then I am not going.” Then he takes it a step further and says to him “If you don’t go with us, how will people know you are pleased with us, and how will people tell us apart from others in the world?”
“If you aren’t with us God, how do we look different? How are we any different from anyone else?”
I love his words because they are so true and so honest. Without God, we are like everyone else. If we aren’t walking with God and communing with God daily, we begin to look like everyone else. Want to see who you are without God? Don’t pray or read your bible for a while, soon you will start to notice yourself change and eventually you change into everyone else around you. You no longer look different. You are no longer set apart…
And that is the point. When we settle for the bare minimum of what we can get out of the word, of what we can get out of our church, out of the community, even out of our own relationship with God, we live out a faith poorly fueled—one that is labeled as “good enough.” We are like cars that run on a half a tank and no more or no less because it is just enough to get us from point A to point B.
It is easy to settle for that half a tank when times get hard. Sometimes it feels like that is all the energy you are able to muster up, and Moses felt that. He was leading a nation through a desert to a promise he could only guarantee if God was in it the whole time. Moses only had God to rely on. Knowing that, he wanted to know God more and be close to God, because without Him, Moses would just be a man blindly leading people in the desert. But with Him, he was a man leading people to hope, freedom, and salvation. He refused to settle for Gods mere words, he wanted all of God and wouldn’t go any further until he had it.
In our lives, there will be times when we will be called to go deeper, where we will be called to go harder, and push further. With those challenges, there will always be an option of “good enough”, “far enough”, and” this will do” but if you want to go all the way with God, if you want to go where he goes, you have to be willing to refuse to settle for anything less than all from God.
At the end of the chapter, Moses says, “Show me your glory.” To this, God says that he will put him in the cleft of the rock by his side, cover His eyes with His hand, and Moses will behold His back as He walks by. There is no hesitation or reserve in God’s response.
Requesting all of God and demanding all of God does not make God uncomfortable; he is not offended or guarded, He does not want to hold anything back. He created us to be in a relationship with Him—in full, deep, all-encompassing relationship with Him.
In Psalm 119:10-11 David declares, “With my whole heart I have sought you, oh let me not wander from your commandments. Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (ESV).
From the beginning of the Bible to the very end, God gave us all. He gave us life. He gave us provisions. He gave us devotion. In our fall into sin, He gave us direction and provision still. He poured out love and sought out reconciliation. Through his Son, he gave salvation and freedom. God never held back, He is always all in and wants us to be as well.
God, may you give us the hunger to desire more of you. May you create a passion in us that is not willing to go wherever you are not. We know God that you desire all of us, and we ask Lord that you would ignite our hearts to desire more of you and to settle for nothing less than all of who you are, for we know that you desire to hold nothing back from those who seek you with their whole hearts.
Devotional written by Courbyne Bufford. Graphic designed by Daniel Christy.