Apples of Gold

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If thy presence go not with me

‘If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.’

Exodus Chapter 33 Verse 15

Without God we can do nothing. How often have I said that to people? Yet learning the truth and reality of that statement for myself and in my own life has been and is difficult.
Head strong, independent and stiff necked is how I may best describe myself. I am so keen to be in control of my own destiny that I think that I can work things out better than God can.

The Lord's Day can be a long day for me, especially when I am unable to attend the means of grace. I enjoy the time it gives me to study and to meditate, yet there are many hours when I allow my mind to wander.
I think and plan for the forthcoming week. By the time my head hits the pillow at night I have it all sussed out.

It is only when things go wrong that I recall the error of my way. It is pointless leaving God out of the equation! I commit my way to Him daily, yet I have the tendency to dictate the way in which my life will pan out. What then is the point of committing my way to God?
Oh! Wretched man that I am!

Moses knew that taking one single step without God's presence was pointless. He knew that should he go his own way then it would prove to be disastrous.
But God's way also seemed difficult enough, especially when the congregation moaned and groaned its way to the Promised Land.

He did however have the confidence and experience to believe that if God was with him then he could go through anything and this is a lesson that I also must learn. I must have a confidence in God that come what may in my life, as long as He is with me, then all will be well.

I do not mean that my life will suddenly become a bed of roses or that everything I touch will turn to gold - far from it. I must have the confidence that no matter what I have to go through in my life, whether it be further pain, illness, loss, shame or whatever else, I am happy to walk along this path because God is with me.

Reading this chapter I noted that the children of Israel all stood at the door of their tents as Moses went into the tabernacle. There was an air of expectancy among them. Would God accept Moses on their behalf? Could Moses plead their case for them?

Not until the cloudy pillar descended upon the tabernacle did they worship the Lord. "God spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." I love this verse - it thrills my soul. Can you picture the scene? The Creator God talking face to face with His creature!
You may wonder at the boldness of Moses. Well, wonder not my friends. We should have even greater boldness as we talk with our God.

If any of you are wondering about what makes the Christian religion different from any other then surely this is one aspect. When questioned by a Hindu or Moslem ask him this simple question: "Does your God talk to you?
Mine does!"

I too can stand at my door and look not to Moses, but to the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf. He bore God's wrath and curse that was due to me for my sins.
He nailed the ordinances that were against me to the cross. Through His death and the shedding of His blood sinners now have access to God.

I can now approach God in the holy of holies and speak to Him face to face as a man speaks to his friend. Of course I can only do this if I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
This is God's own way of salvation, and today I readily and heartily accept it. I believe today with all my heart and soul that Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross for me.

Life is not about standing still. We would like to be like Joshua who departed not from the tabernacle. But we are on a journey, and the rest of our life begins today. Yesterday with all its cares and worries is behind us.
God has seen fit to allow us the dawning of another day, and we have the choice either to go our own way or to follow in His footsteps.

The way He chooses for us may be difficult with many obstacles. Hardship, loneliness and pain may be our portion for much of our journey, however I have said this before and I will say it again: I would rather be with Jesus in the middle of a storm than to be standing alone on the shore.

There may be some today who dread what they may have to face in the coming days. Left to ourselves we would faint and fail.
Today our request should echo that of Moses. 'If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.' Through Christ we can do all things. Without Him we can do nothing.

I want the company of the God in whom Moses trusted all the days of my life. Whose company do want on life's journey?

Author : Iain Mackenzie   Edited by : Pastor Al Moak