My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
Moses was at a turning-point both in the history of the people of God and in his personal life, which cannot be separated from their history. He had just brought his heartfelt feelings for the people to bear on God, as it were, after they had sinned so grievously. “Now, if you will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of your book which you have written” (Exodus 32:32). Thereupon God showed mercy and confirmed His promise that He would bring the people into the promised land, as He had sworn to their fathers.
Moses, however, would not rest until God had also once again assured him of His personal presence with the words: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Moses, that man “whom the LORD knew from face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10, could be satisfied with nothing less. So he reiterated his request expressly: “If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (ch.33:v.15).
How often might Moses have wondered in those difficult days, “How are things to go on?” And is this not the question that often troubles us? Much that happens in the midst of God’s heavenly people fills us with worry, while the conditions in the world around us frighten us. How we must rely on the presence of the Lord going with us! For this reason the attitude of a man like Moses is instructive. Let us therefore not forego intimate personal fellowship with God; it is the starting-point for the blessing of the entire people of God!