Christianity 201

November 21, 2012

God’s Promised Presence

Cindy Holbrook blogs at Living Inside Hope, where this appeared under the title Finding Grace in God’s Sight. You’re encouraged to click through to read this and more at her blog.

Finding grace in God’s sight has very little to do with comfort and ease. Finding grace in God’s sight may very well be the answer to our problems and the beginning of new and hair raising adventures. All at the same time!

“Safety does not consist in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.” ~ Believer’s Bible Commentary

More and more we are hearing a call. It is a call to move out of what we consider a comfort zone, and move into a different place that God wants us to move in. Oh, and it will involve effort on our part.

Some of us may very well feel that we have lost God’s grace and favor at this particular season. When in fact, we may indeed HAVE His favor and the only thing is that we cannot recognize it.

Let us look at Moses and a spectacular prayer he made while he was talking to God about what was going to be the next step in his and Israel’s journey. A journey, mind you, that had almost culminated with Israel’s utter destruction. Mose’ intercession and God’s grace stopped that event. It could not be one without the other. If there was no compassion and grace in the nature of God, no matter how Moses had interceded, God would not have granted him favor.

Yet, that is another story. This is the story of Mose’s prayer about finding favor with God and what was to come.  Read this prayer and exchange between Moses and God:

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:11-17 NKJV)

Believer’s Bible Commentary came to this conclusion:   Moses asked for God’s presence to lead His people to Canaan. Then the Lord graciously promised that His Presence would go with them. Moses insisted that nothing short of this would do. Like Noah, Moses had found grace in the Lord’s sight and received his request. “Safety does not consist in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.”

God’s grace may not be remaining in the place where we’ve been. It may very well be on the move and He is telling us that He will be the one going with us on this next ‘leg’ of our journey. Yet in and through Jesus Christ, we have been given grace. Here, in these verses, God let’s us know what His grace includes.  His presence. His rest.

God didn’t say, kick back Moses, and sit a bit. Smell the roses. Buy that new television set and charge it to Me because I’m pouring out my prosperity on you. Yes there are seasons like that, but this isn’t one of those seasons. There is too great of challenge for that.

God promised His presence. God promised His rest.

Moses in turn, knew what he himself needed to continue to find grace in God’s sight and he knew enough to ask for it. God’s grace is divine. It only comes from Him so even as He gifts it to us, we should indeed be asking for it. No other person or thing can bestow on us the grace of God. Only God can do this. In the very asking of it is the acknowledgement that it is His alone.

Moses asked God to show him “HIS WAY” that he many KNOW GOD and receive grace and favor from God.

Moses then asked “and consider that this nation is Your people.”

Moses first looked to his personal relationship with God. That mattered first and foremost. He didn’t try and separate God from God’s ways. Rather, he wanted God to show him His WAYS so that he could learn to KNOW GOD. We cannot split God’s ways from God himself. We must learn His ways. We study His Word not to learn more stuff. We study His Word to learn His Ways that will cause us to know Him.

And then Moses asked a particular thing for those to whom the LORD had made him responsible. He wanted them to be considered by God as His people.

Surely we are asking God many of the same questions. Where are we going and how are we to fulfill His call? Who is He going to send to us in this work?

Nor can we ignore the call about helping others. There are more catastrophes happening than ever now. We are connected globally now and we see human need at every longitude and latitude.

The nations we live in are facing great turmoil. Our churches are facing great turmoil. Our families and friends are facing great turmoil.

The great commission is becoming the great pressure for all of us. God is ‘forcing’ out His laborers into the harvest field and we are it!

This time we are facing can bring about calamity to us and our children. Or this time can be a divine and glorious moment where God brings us out and into a new place He has planned for us.

This is a time when His presence must go with us. This is a time where we must have His rest. We must have His power and grace to work with Him in faith and trust. For that is a portion of His rest. Only a portion to be sure, yet a portion not to be overlooked. The final rest He gives us will be a successful and triumphant outcome, if not in this world, then in His heavenly Kingdom where our true inheritance lies.

We have found grace in God’s sight for we have received and accepted the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24)

Even though we can’t see all of God’s ways right now for us. Even though we may not see every twist and turn ahead and God isn’t giving us a clue about it. Even though it seems we have more burdens and responsibilities that the LORD is placing upon us.

His presence now goes with us. He will give us His rest.

This is what we can count upon. This is where we meet with God.

 

We find grace in God’s sight, if we find grace in our hearts to guide and quicken us in the way of our duty.  ~ Mathew Henry

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