I'll Take the Gifts, Not the Giver
And [Moses] said to [the LORD], “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here." (Exodus 33:15)
It’s a sobering thing to see Moses’ imploring petitions in this chapter. God has promised the land. He has promised an angel to guide. But as for his dwelling among his people, he has told Moses he will not be present. And so Moses says, “Without that, I will not move from here.” Moses is not willing to have God’s blessings without God’s presence.
Alec Motyer writes, Here "we can feel the spiritual heartbeat of a real man of God, who deem[s] it better to remain permanently in a desert place than to get into a land flowing with milk and honey and find the Lord [is] not there with him." This should hit us full-on. How often do we crave God’s gifts and not God? How often are we content with the byproducts of Christianity without knowing Christ?
I was having lunch with a friend last week who was sharing a story of a family member who grew up in the church and is now an older adult. And recently, this family member was approached at a restaurant and asked if she knew Jesus. And it grieved him to learn that her responses were all positive… yet they all had to do with her doing things, her actions, her behaviors. There seemed to be no sign of a relationship, of affection, of love for Christ. Oh, how easy it is in our culture especially, where Christianity has been so widely respected for so long, to love the gifts God gives and neglect the Giver of those gifts.
Moses was not willing to have God’s blessings without God. Are you? Would you be ok if you had peace in your family and success in work and health in your body and even heaven for eternity but no relationship with your Savior? John Piper says, "The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?"
True knowledge of Christ will always lead to true love for Christ.