What is it you long for? We all have something deep inside us. The roadmap of our hearts leads us there, to the place where our treasure is found—the place where our hope, wonder, and worship reside.
God had promised to rescue the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and bring them to a new home, a land of freedom and abundance. But His bigger promise was this: He would bring them back into relationship with Him, back into His presence. He would dwell among the Israelites and be their God (Exodus 29:45–46).
But God’s people put all of that in jeopardy by building the golden calf and inciting God’s anger with their idol worship. They were set to experience separation from Him again. Yes, He would still bring them into the promised land, but He would not accompany them there (Exodus 33:1–3).
Because of their sin, Israel could not be in God’s presence—but Moses could. The Lord spoke to Moses “face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend” (v.11). And so on behalf of the Israelites, Moses pleaded with God to reconsider:
“If your presence does not go…don’t make us go up from here. How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth” (vv.15–16).
Moses knew what was really at stake for the Israelites: the true promised land, God Himself. Moses knew that God was not merely a means to an end, not just the path to blessing. God is the blessing. God’s presence was the very identity of His people. If He wasn’t in the new land, then there was no point in going. Without Him, there would be no real blessing, no peace, no rest.
So what does your promised land look like?
Mine looks like a land of abundant provision, free from shame and fear, melancholy, sickness, and loneliness. Scripture tells me all of these needs and more are met now, in Jesus Christ, though He is far more than a means to an end. He is Alpha and Omega, beginning and end—and everything in between (Revelation 22:13).
He doesn’t just provide. He is our provision (Genesis 22:14).
He doesn’t just make us righteous. He is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6).
He doesn’t just give us peace. He is our peace (Judges 6:24, Hebrews 13:20).
He doesn’t just heal us. He is our healing (Exodus 15:26).
And if we know Jesus, we are never truly alone. He is always with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). His promise to each of us is this: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).
In His attributes God reveals Himself to us—His character, His nature, and His heart. Like Moses, we can boldly ask to know more of God, to see more of His glory. This is why God delivered the Israelites, and it’s why He sent His Son to deliver us. God came near so we could truly know Him and never be separated from His presence again.