What Makes Us Different?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
“How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
It has often been said that Christians should be different from those who don’t follow Jesus. And rightly so. You could compile a list of dozens of ways in which the people of God should be different from the world: in our love, in our servanthood, in our financial commitments, in our relational commitments, and so forth.
In Moses’ conversation with the Lord in Exodus 33, he identifies another key area of difference, one that explains and fosters other dimensions of our distinctiveness. In context, Moses is trying to talk God into remaining present with the Israelites, even though they have egregiously broken his covenant with them by worshiping the golden calf. One of Moses’ arguments comes in verse 16: “How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” What did Israel have that the Gentiles lacked? The presence of God. God was journeying with them, leading them to the Promised Land. God had revealed his plans to dwell among his people in the Tabernacle in a unique way. God’s presence with his people made them distinct from other nations and was the basis of all other differences.
So it is with us. Jesus promised always to be with his disciples (Matt. 28:20). He makes his presence known to us through the Holy Spirit who dwells in and among us (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 12:12-13). No matter where we find ourselves, God is with us, to empower us and to use us for his purposes.
This wonderful truth, I might add, does not give us grounds for pride or boasting. God’s presence is an expression of his grace, not our worthiness. In fact, our confidence in God’s presence with us gives us a strong conviction of our high calling to serve him in every capacity of life. Moreover, it gives us courage to live according to his kingdom and to serve others in his name. After all, if God is with us, if God is on our side, what do we have to fear?
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When in your life have you experienced the presence of God in a powerful way? What reassures you of God’s presence? If you really believed that God was with you at all times, how might this truth change your life?
PRAYER: O Lord, sometimes I can so take for granted your presence in my life that I forget what a wonder it is. How thankful I am that you have chosen to go with me through this life!
May the fact of your presence remain in my consciousness as I live my life each day. May I be attentive to the still, small voice of your Spirit. May I seize opportunities to share your love and grace with others as I go about my business. Because you are with me, may I have courage to live my life guided by your truth, serving others in your name.
All praise be to you, Lord God, for your presence in my life! Amen.