Masks

Exodus 33:15 “Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here’” (NIV).

Observation: Moses had come off Mt. Sinai to the devastating scene of Hebrews worshiping a golden calf. In fury, God told Moses to lead the people away from Mt. Sinai, to continue toward the land He had promised them. God Himself would no longer journey with them, but He would provide an angel to clear the land of enemies before the Hebrews’ advance. God’s decision to remain distant was for their own benefit, He explained, because “you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way” (Ex. 33:3). To this, Moses begged for God’s continued presence, saying, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”

Application: What an astonishing change had been wrought in Moses’s heart. When he had first encountered God at the burning bush, Moses had been terrified; now he would rather risk death than lose God’s presence. Not even the promise of an angelic escort could satisfy the desperate longing of Moses’s heart for God to remain near. In fact, his longing was so deep, so heart-felt, that God relented, saying, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (v. 17).

Moses had become a bold, confident lover. He had gone deep into God’s heart and refused to find satisfaction in anything less, even though in this instance the “anything less” was an angel commissioned personally by the God of the universe. Moses got it. He had moved beyond the fear and obedience of his earlier years, and had developed a heart that burned for the presence of God.

Sadly, the fire of God’s heart is a stark contrast with what I have too often settled for: something far less than an angel. I have been callously contented with scant crumbs from beneath His table when His heart’s desire is for me to enjoy His full banquet. I have been contented with so much less than the fulness of His presence, believing that I “had it all” simply because I had walked an aisle in all sincerity. I have too often been content with “church,” rather than committed to press in to His manifest presence. I was glad He masked enough major expressions of my rebellious heart for me to be acceptable to a larger company of believers who also wear masks, all the while knowing that I was dry and lifeless inside. With a massive, purposeful heave, all such pretense and shallowness can be pushed aside; God’s whole intent has been to transform my heart, not just my behavior; to show Himself as so lovely, so beautiful, so desirable that I will be devastated by anything less.

Prayer: O Lord Jesus, You have radically transformed my heart. I am ravished by Your glances in my direction. Cause me to throw off literally every thing that gets in my way of responding to You.

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