Moses had a huge responsibility in leading the Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land. There were daily challenges and obstacles during this journey and the people complained and looked to him to solve their problems. It must have been emotionally draining and physically exhausting. In Exodus 33:3 the Lord says to Moses: ‘Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I destroy you on the way’.
It was after this, that Moses once again went into the tent of meeting where the Lord spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11). He poured his heart out to the Lord, stated his case and beseeched the Lord to go with Him and the people of Israel – God’s people. Moses knew that this task would be impossible without the Lord’s presence. It would determine the outcome of their journey. The Lord answers Moses then with a promise: ‘I will do this thing also that you have asked, for you have found favour, loving-kindness, and mercy in My sight and I know you personally and by name’ (Exodus 33:17).
We have one of two choices when faced with challenges and difficulties that come along our paths. We can choose to walk the road with the Lord’s presence, or we can try to do it in our own strength. Sometimes traumatic things happen to us and we go through phases of shock, rebellion, self-pity, anger and negativity. We even question the Lord and wonder why we have to go through such difficult times. Even within these emotions, we can hold on to the Lord and pour our hearts out to Him. He wants us to be real and open with Him. We too can have a relationship with the Lord like we would with a friend. He is closer than the best friend we could ever have. He understands exactly what we’re battling with and He has mercy with our weaknesses. When we share our hurts, fears and anxieties with Him, we open ourselves up to allow Him to bring direction, strength and healing.
The other option is to become stiff-necked, as the Israelites are described in the verse for today. We can openly refuse the Lord’s help, presence and advice. We can allow our anger and self-pity to push the Lord away from us and consequently fill our minds with lies about who God actually is. Sometimes pride also comes in the way of us seeking help and advice. This option will only end up postponing the Lord’s plan for our lives and cause us to become bitter and angry. Worship and praise will no longer have a place in our lives. It becomes a very lonely way of dealing with challenges.
By choosing to trust the Lord, we actually notice His daily encouragement as we battle through the challenge we’re facing. He’s closer than we’ll ever imagine when we’re hurting. He sends people along our paths to encourage and uplift us. He speaks to us in so many different ways; if only we choose to walk the road with His presence as our main focus. It’s a choice to focus on the Lord’s promises and presence. This brings His peace into our lives. Every time our situation becomes overwhelming, we can shift our focus on to His provision and care; not on to the details that seem to have no hope of an outcome. He’ll never let us down.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know the challenge I’m currently facing, and the fears I have. Sometimes it feels too hard to bear, and I don’t know how to get through the day. But I choose today to walk this road with You. Even when my emotions fail me I still choose to hold on to You. I trust You to bring me through this and to work all things for good. Your presence brings hope into my life and I thank You for that. Amen.