the Presence of the Lord

by Frank Jones


And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:14–16)

Israel has sinned. The golden calf has been ground into powder and the people made to drink. Moses knows that there is a much greater cause of concern for himself and Israel. What about the presence of the LORD? Will the LORD dwell in their midst? Will the LORD honor His people with His glory?

Moses knows that all is vain without the presence of the LORD. The machinery of ritualism and the order of future tabernacle service can be performed; sadly, in emptiness, without profit. Moses approaches the LORD upon the foundation of grace. Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ (33:12). What is the answer of the LORD? My presence shall go with you!

Brethren, this is what distinguishes us from the world - His Presence. Without it, we are impoverished. Without it, we are left to our own devices and the wisdom (that is, the foolishness) of the world. We become pragmatists instead of Biblicists. We reflect the rationalizations of society instead of being the oracle of God. It is the presence of the LORD that declares that there is a peculiar people set apart for His glory. How does the pagan world know that what we declare and live is the truth? The presence of the LORD! What is that which marks us as distinctive? The presence of the LORD!

In application we can ask ourselves this question concerning His presence, "Is there anything going on in our life that is supernatural?" "Is there anything going on in our church services that is supernatural?" Let us pause and reflect. The answer has eternal consequences. Is everything in our life or our church services explainable by the magicians of Egypt?

Moses greatest fear was the losing of the presence of the LORD. Our greatest fear should be the same. Brethren, let us confess our sin and plead for His presence. May the presence of the LORD be bright and blazing in our churches, the assembly of believers. Then it will be brought to pass the saying that is written, the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. (I Corinthians 14:25)