In Exodus when the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, God’s response to them was to withdraw His presence from them. This was is what the Lord said:
The Lord said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”[i] Exodus 33: 1-3
God was saying I will send you to the Promise Land, but I will not be with you. He was removing His presence from them which they had had since the beginning. They would still have the land flowing with milk and honey; but they would not have God’s presence. Moses and the Israelites understood the ramifications of God’s pronouncement. They were devastated.
Moses interceded for the people and God showed Moses favor. “And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”… “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.’” Ex 33:14, 17
How would you and I react? Would we be satisfied with the land flowing with milk and honey even if God would not be there?
“Would you be satisfied to go to heaven—have everybody there in your family that you want there have all the health and restoration of your prime, everything you disliked about yourself fixed, have every recreation you’ve ever dreamed available to you, and have infinite resources of money to spend—would you be satisfied…?”[ii]
“If you were completely free from the urge to [overeat or overspend, free of the sense of not fitting in and the fear of rejection; free of feeling like you’ve made a fool of yourself, totally free of concern of what others thought[iii]] and you were totally fulfilled emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and sexually, would you be satisfied…?”[iv]
What would it take for you to be fully, totally and completely satisfied? All of those things sound wonderful, don’t they? As I pondered this quote, in my imagination I could feel the joy of all those things – total freedom and complete satisfaction then I finished reading…
“Would you be satisfied to go to heaven—have everybody there in your family that you want there have all the health and restoration of your prime, everything you disliked about yourself fixed, have every recreation you’ve ever dreamed available to you, and have infinite resources of money to spend—would you be satisfied… if God weren’t there?”[v] “Would you be satisfied without Jesus?”[vi] YOUCH. I think my heart stopped for a moment.
I was thinking… Yes! Yes! Until I saw … if God weren’t there…without Jesus. Would I? Is it God I long for or all the unimaginably wonderful things He promises in heaven? What/Who truly satisfies or soul? What do we long for? Is it heaven or is it Jesus?
As John Piper says, “God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him”[vii]
Lord, if I long for all the things heaven holds more than I long for YOUR presence, please, please change me.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “Grace is greater than all of the sin we’re grappling with.” ―