Exodus 33:13-15 (NIV) 13If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people." 14The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." 15Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
Moses had set up a tent where he would go and meet with the Lord. The cloud that led them would come over the tent when Moses went to commune with God. He had a special place he would go. It is a good example for us. We should commune with God throughout the day, but a special place to really hear from God can be helpful.
After Moses saw the devastation that sin brought on the camp and was reminded about the fallen nature of man, he asked God to teach him His ways so that he would stay in God's favor. Moses was asking to learn to walk in righteousness. He wanted to forsake the ways of man and live in the ways of God, that he might please God. How can he lead if he does not know God's ways? His reminder that the nation is God's people enforces the need to know God's ways. He had already received the Law, but Moses knew it was more than just rules for living.
Instead of giving Moses more rules or a book to study called The Ways of God, He gave Himself. Presence is rightly capitalized here. This is the Prince of the Countenance. It is Jesus going with Moses. That is who is in the cloud as the angel of the Lord. He is the One who meets with Moses in the tent. He is the Way of God. Moses rightly says, "If your Presence does not go with us we don't want to move." I hope you have come to the same conclusion. Sin is devastating. You need to know the ways of God. You need His Presence with you in all you do and everywhere you go.
Consider: If Jesus doesn't go with you, stay put! In Him we find rest.
Matthew 10:37-39 (NIV) 37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The word of God tells us to love one another. It also tells us to honor our father and mother. What is Jesus saying here? Our mother and father and children and even our very life are all gifts from God. Our primary love and allegiance is to be to the Giver of all good things. If we love what He has given us, more than the One who gave it, we have entered into the realm of idolatry. This all surpassing love can only come through a revelation of His great love for us. Love produces love.
Jesus goes on to say that if we do not take up our cross and follow, we are not worthy of Him. When a criminal was sentenced to crucifixion, the judge ordered the cross beam to be secured to the victims arms and back. He had to carry it to his place of execution. Once that beam was on your back, you were as good as dead. They then followed the soldiers to the place of execution. Do you see the implications when Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me"? We must ask ourselves whether or not we have that mind set. Is your life over and His life in you begun, or do you still go where you please?
If you find your life you will lose it. If we go where we please and find satisfaction in things of the world, our life will be lost. That is Jesus explanation of reality. The only way to really find life is to lose it for Jesus' sake. The listeners had not yet seen the final display of His love for them. Perhaps it was His compassion and the miracles that helped them look beyond themselves. We can look at His display of love on the cross and see that He was literally willing to do that for us.
Consider: Should we respond with any less willingness to do so for Him?