Andy Hollifield 6-14-18
Exodus 33:13-14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and give thee rest. (15) And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
In Jonah 2:8, Jonah tells us “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” That is words of wisdom from a man who had tried it. In mountain language what that means is: “Your kidding yourself if you think you can get by without God. You’re in for a world of hurt.” It took Jonah three days to figure out that his thoughts of going to Tarshish to escape the presence of the Lord was foolish thinking. Can you imagine the smell of a fish big enough to swallow a man? Furthermore, can you imagine how confined and sick he must have gotten smelling that fish from the inside and likely being in tight quarters in pitch black darkness with water and chewed up fish and other sea life coming in on top of you? That is likely to be a picture of the scene as it was. I am sure it was not the great big, huge, inside of a fish where Jonah is up walking around waiting for God to deliver him. Actually he called it “the belly of hell” and said the floods compassed him and waves passed over him and weeds wrapped around his neck. That sounds like a miserable experience to me all because he refused to do what God said to do.
I believe Moses had that figured out without having to learn the hard way. He had already made up his mind that he didn’t want to go anywhere without the presence of the Lord. Jonah tried to flee from it and Moses tried to cling to it. It seems a lot of times like I have to learn this over and over. Don’t be fooled into being confident in your own abilities without the leadership of the Lord. Moses had seen from all of the plagues in Egypt that in order to escape the perils of life, you have to be in fellowship with the Lord. Gods presence wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to see the glory of God with his own two eyes. God placed him in a cleft of a rock, covered him with his hand, and passed by and pulled his hand back so Moses could see his hinder parts. Moses was so impacted by this event that when he came off of the mountain and had to be covered with a veil. Quite a contrast from the inside of a fishes belly.
Now we get down to the heart of the matter; Which way are you walking and who is walking with you? Do you try to flee from God’s presence or like Moses, cling to it? Have you observed lying vanities and been led astray thinking that you could refuse the will of God in your life and have smooth sailing?” If that is you, I am sure it didn’t take long to figure out how wrong you were and repent. The trouble with that is that, like Jonah, there are still consequences that you have to face and some of them may last for a lifetime. The period in David’s life when he took Bathsheba and killed Uriah when he couldn’t cover his sin, is a good example of the consequences lasting a lifetime. God told David that the sword would never depart out of his house. One moment on the rooftop brought on a lifetime of suffering.
It would pay us all to be like Moses. He asked God to not carry them up before their enemies if his presence didn’t go with them. He even wanted to see the glory of God. Do we have a desire for God’s presence in our lives? Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Isn’t it good to know that we don’t just get to see his glory but we even get to have those times of communion with him where we share some quality time and fellowship like we’re his only child? We have to be the ones to open the door and invite him in. He doesn’t go where he isn’t wanted. If we want his presence, Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” The two qualifications to be filled with his presence is to be hungry and thirsty. Hebrews 13:5 says, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” When we seek after his righteousness, we can sup with him until we are filled and he still will never leave us. Which way are you going, seeking his presence or trying to hide from it? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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