A Devotion Based on Exodus 32.1-33.23

“You know what, Moses? I will give you the land I promised your ancestors. I will make sure that my angel armies will protect you from the powerful nations in the surrounding area. You will be prosperous and protected. I will keep my promise.”

“But I’m not coming with you because you guys are too stubborn and ungrateful. I have delivered you from Egypt. I have given you their riches and I have destroyed their powerful army. When you’re thirsty, I gave you clean water. When you’re hungry, I gave you bread from heaven. I even gave you meat falling from the sky.”

“And yet you still don’t believe. You still complain. You still do whatever it is you want to do even though I have told you how I want things to be done according to my Law. So I’m done. Worship whoever you want to worship. Live the way you want to live. I’m done with you but I will keep my promise to take care of you. Deal?”

I’m sure every Israelite listening to this conversation between the Lord their God and Moses breathed a heavy sigh of relief when Moses declined God’s offer. These guys may have been as stupid, stubborn, and unfaithful as they come. But they sure do understand that these promises are meaningless without the presence of the Promise Giver.

The Israelites want to enter the Promised Land. These former slaves need the heavenly armies to protect them from the armies surrounding them. They want divine providence so that they will be prosperous in this ‘land of milk and honey’ they are about to enter. They want all these things that God has promised them and their ancestors.

But they all understand that these wonderful things will be meaningless unless the God who has made these promises go with them. The Promise Giver, the Covenant Maker, is more important to the people than the the fulfillment of all the wonderful promises he has made to them.

The next time you pray to God, ask yourself this question: have I been focusing on the gifts or on the presence of the Giver? It is so easy to fall into the habit of making the God of heaven and earth your personal ATM machine.

Instead of asking for these gifts over and over, we need to ask for the presence of the Giver of gifts himself. “What do you want God? What are you saying? Please tell me the plans do you have in mind for me today. Whatever it is, I’m willing to listen and obey. I will go wherever you want me to go. As long as you will go with me.”

When you develop the habit to seek God and His will above all else, when you are willing to go where He tells you to go, you will see that He will bless you with everything you need. Seek first God, His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will added unto you. Always.