“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Exodus 33:15
After the Israelites built a golden calf in an act of idol worship, God told Moses to enter into the Promised Land. The fulfillment of his long-awaited call and destiny was now within his reach. God told Moses that He would drive out the enemies occupying the land. In other words, everything would be placed on a silver platter for Moses. This meant no more wandering in the hot desert, no more manna, and no more complaining Israelites (possibly). There was only one condition: God would not be going with Moses.
Moses’ next response spoke volumes about his relationship with God and his core values. Moses had an open door right in front of him, a shortcut to success. However, Moses responded that he would rather stay in the wilderness with God than go to the Promised Land without Him.
I’ve lived most of my life making my own plans and became fairly successful in the business world. However, my life felt so empty and trivial. Since then, I’ve surrendered my life to Jesus and made Him Lord of my life. As part of following His presence in my life, I’ve given it all up to go to ministry school. After graduating, I knew that I could make something happen and become successful again. But I knew that following success and not His Presence was meaningless and ultimately unfulfilling. I would not make that mistake again. I’ve firmly resolved to take each step with His Presence in mind. I knew that it was better to stay in a desert with God than to go to a land flowing with milk and honey without Him.
In the world’s eyes, Moses’ life could have been viewed as a complete failure. Almost everyone he originally led into the wilderness and out of Egypt had died, including himself! He didn’t even make it into the Promised Land, but could only gaze at it from its borders. His goal was in reach, yet he was in peace with not fulfilling part of his objective in life. He knew that His relationship with God meant way more than any earthly success. Moses is a friend of God and one of the most revered men of faith in history. I’d say his life was a massive success!
Sometimes we can be so eager to chase after our dreams and ambitions that we start to lose sight of Him. We can unknowingly elevate our dreams and our timeline above Jesus. Ironically, as we yield our lives fully to God, He gives it back to us. And the life we live with Him is bigger than we could ever have imagined.