03/26/Th – God’s Presence and Favor

Exodus 32:31-33:23; Matthew 27:1-14; Psalms 33:12-19; Proverbs 11:29-31

OT: “Moses said to the Lord, “Look, you have told me, ‘Lead this people up,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor with me.’ Now if I have indeed found favor with you, please teach me your ways, and I will know you, so that I may find favor with you. Now consider that this nation is your people.” And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” “If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here. How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.” The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and I know you by name.”” (‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:12-17‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Earlier, after the golden calf incident, God said that He would have Moses lead the people, but would send an angel to lead the way. After a time, Moses asks God to let him know who will be sent with him, and also asks God to teach him His ways, that he may lead the people well. God’s response: “My Presence will go with you… and I will give you rest.” How comforting that must have been. Moses didn’t want to go anywhere without God’s presence, and it was probably a huge burden on him to think he would have to lead the nation without God’s presence. Moses had found favor with God, and for Moses’ sake, God would accompany him with His presence. Then Moses said something key: “I and your people will be distinguished by Your presence and favor from all the other people of the earth.” That should still be true of us today – that we are distinguished from the rest of the world by the favor and presence of God on us and in us. Have we accepted the work of Jesus the Son of God and received His salvation for us? Have we allowed God’s favor to rest on us by abiding in The Son? Have we allowed God’s presence to ever abide in us by accepting and continuing in the fullness of His Holy Spirit? If so, we should be people at rest – not a people wrought up with worry, strife, and fear – and that should differentiate us from the rest of the world.

NT: “When daybreak came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put him to death. After tying him up, they led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor… Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus answered, “You say so.” While he was being accused by the chief priests and elders, he didn’t answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how much they are testifying against you?” But he didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:1-2, 11-14‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Here we see the prophecy from Isaiah 53:7 fulfilled: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth.” All He did was affirm His identity when asked. He did nothing to defend Himself, nor did He resist the affliction – He allowed sin and evil to be fully unleashed and poured out on Him to save us from the fullness of God’s justice and wrath.

Psalms: “Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord — the people he has chosen to be his own possession! The Lord looks down from heaven; he observes everyone. He gazes on all the inhabitants of the earth from his dwelling place. He forms the hearts of them all; he considers all their works. A king is not saved by a large army; a warrior will not be rescued by great strength. The horse is a false hope for safety; it provides no escape by its great power. But look, the Lord keeps his eye on those who fear him — those who depend on his faithful love to rescue them from death and to keep them alive in famine.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭33:12-19‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Peace and rest are not ultimately found in large armies, abundant resources, and economic strength. Ultimate peace and rest is found when the Lord’s favor is on us and His presence is with us. Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord, who depend on Him for protection and provision.

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