Do we dare move if the Presence doesn’t move with us?
We know the story.
Yahweh rescues the Israelites from Egyptian slavery in a way that alerts the world to His protection and ravishing love for His people.
Then the LORD escorts His people safely across the Red Sea and provides water from a rock in the desert. He woos His people to come away with Him, to experience what no other nation experienced before (or since)—to hear the Father’s audible voice, to see with their own eyes His raw Presence, and encounter His almighty passion.
But while Moses speaks with Yahweh on the mountain about the consequences of idolatry, below in the valley, God’s people make an idol.
Angry about their disloyalty, Yahweh tells Moses He doesn’t want to remain with them. He’ll send an angel to guide them instead. He’ll start over with Moses, and grow a new people to call His own.
But Moses, with the integrity of his humble character, refused.
“If Your Presence does not go up with us,” he told Yahweh, “don’t take us up from here.”
Moses also posed a rhetorical question:
“If Your Presence isn’t with us, then how would we be different than any other nation on the face of the earth?”
Moses understood that their distinction resulted from Yahweh’s Presence lavished on them.
Let’s bring it home and consider our own lives, our own leadership. What makes Christian leaders distinct? Certainly we’re not better than others, or more worthy, perfect, knowledgeable or benevolent.
Jesus explained very clearly the difference between those who follow Him and those who choose not to. The difference is HIM, our submission to and fellowship with His Presence—the precious gift of The Spirit abiding in us:
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing…” (John 6:63)
“… the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive…but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you…” (John 14:17)
And Paul emphasised:
“…for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)
“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Roman 8:9)“
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
It’s The Presence–following the Spirit of God–that makes us distinct.
Moses knew that the only way to be distinct from any other heathen nation was to abide and move only with The Presence. In the same way, the only thing that makes Christian leaders distinct is to abide and move only with The Spirit of Christ.
Prayerfully consider these challenging questions in your own life and leadership:
- In what ways do I discern direction for my sphere of influence from a place of abiding in the Lord’s Presence?
- How often do I spend time cultivating my fellowship in His Spirit:
- in prayer,
- in meditating on and walking according to God’s word,
- in exchanging the life of Christ through transparent relationships with other believers?
- How often do I pause to focus on the Spirit in my inner being, to sense how He impresses me to speak or act–even if just a moment?
Jesus, increase our sensitivity to Your Presence in our life and leadership. Teach us to lead as You led, by the Spirit of God as a son of God.
Exodus 33-34; John 14-16; Romans 8:1-17
– Patricia Tillman