December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, You say to me, “Bring up this people.” But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.” Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.’”—Exodus 33:12–13 (NKJV)
The song “Nothing Else,” written and performed by Cody Carnes, elaborates on the simple joy of being caught up in the presence of God—that “nothing else will do.” The writer laments any brokenness that has occurred between himself and Jesus and only wants to return to that place where love first began.
For Cody, nothing else but His presence will do.
In grief for the sin King David committed, he experienced an emptiness inside. Among the many words he used to describe his sorrow, he included, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11 NKJV).
For David, nothing but God’s company would do.
When Satan took Jesus up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, he said to Jesus, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Jesus wanted none of it and said, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:9–10 NKJV).
For Jesus, His Father was enough and nothing else would do.
And in today’s Scripture, we see Moses’ heart is the same. He didn’t want a mere angel to guide them into the Promised Land; he wanted the presence of God to be with them. There was nothing in an angel to worship, but all his worship was for the Lord. He wasn’t interested in blessings but to be in the constant companionship of God, to know His way, and to experience His grace so sweetly bestowed. Because, as Martyn Lloyd Jones also knew and professed, “To be given every other blessing is of no value if God is not with you. . . . The realization of the presence of God, having this fellowship and company, [is] infinitely more important than everything else.”
What Moses perhaps didn’t realize at the time was that his decision to reason with God and his desire to fight for Him to accompany him and the nation of Israel was precisely the point of reference God was pulling him toward—a oneness with Him. And with this frame of mind, Moses found himself on the cusp of discovering even greater dimensions of God’s character—names of God he never knew before and attributes that came alive in view of his friendship with God.
The presence of God is even more available now because Jesus (Immanuel) is God with us. We have a oneness with the Father through Christ (John 17:21), and He calls us friends (John 15:15). And if we truly want to have that closeness with Him and feel His presence . . . when nothing else will do . . . He is only a breath away. I wonder what we will discover about Him for ourselves when we’re in the presence of God.
Pause: What do I value most? The presents of the Lord or the presence of the Lord?
Practice: Take time and spend it with God, bringing Him into each part of our day. If you like to read, Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach is a phenomenal work of Christian literature.
Pray: Lord God, You ask me to seek You, so I seek You. I want the act of being in Your presence to become second nature to me. “Better is one day in Your court than a thousand elsewhere.” I want to know Your way and find grace in Your sight. Forgive my failings in doing this. Please meet me in my seeking and show me more of who You are. Amen.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.