Stop and God
And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
O, how we take for granted our Savior’s presence!
In the Old Testament, we learn that the Holy Spirit would come and go from people (I Sam. 11:6, 16:14) unlike today under the New Covenant (Eph. 1:13). In Exodus 33, the Israelites had just been told by the Lord to enter their promised land “flowing with milk and honey” and that the Lord would send an angel before them to drive out the pagan inhabitants. (Ex. 33:2-3a). “And the people rejoiced and entered their rest!”… is not what it says. They mourned and put on no ornaments (v. 4), why? Even for their sin and rebellion, they understood one important fact: in order to have true rest, you must have the presence of God with you.
Right after the Lord told them to go into the land He also told them “I will not go with you because you are an obstinate people…”. What sad words. We must then ask ourselves, where have we missed having the presence of God go with us merely because we are obstinate? Perhaps with some overt sin that we know we must cut out, we have been head-strong in submitting, but more dangerously, might we be obstinate in not listening to the still small voice moment by moment every day that says “Here is the way, walk ye in it.” (Is. 30:21) Until we submit the smallest corner in us to Him, do we not still have an obstinate heart? Thus, can God go with us wherever we go?
But where are we going? Where was Israel going? Where they wanted or where God had led them? They had come to a land that God had shown them. So too, are we trying to drag God along for the ride or have we let Him lead in our hearts enough to where He has directed our path and our destination is His destination for us?
How do we know the difference? Simply put, to be lead, someone has to let the leader in front. In order to find rest, we have to end up where God wants us. And to end up there we have to be led by Him. Israel had to let the Pillar of Cloud or Fire lead them (Ex. 13:21), which meant stopping long enough to let God get in front. We must do the same.
Do you want rest? Then you must let God go with you where He leads you. And to lead you, you have to stop.
Stop today. Confess any obstinance in your heart. Sit with Him and find rest in where He takes you.
by Wesley Wilburn