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God’s Presence Gives Us Rest

Devotions for the storms of life

Today’s Bible study from the Standing on Faith in the Storms of Life series is all about how God supports and strengthens us when we feel overwhelmed. While I encourage you to grab a Bible and a notebook and pen for the Journaling and Reflection section, you may prefer to just think about the prompts, or skip them entirely.

Read: Exodus 33:12-23

Key Verse: Exodus 33:14

The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”

What Does It Mean?

In this passage, Moses acknowledges complete dependence upon God, and expresses confidence in God’s leading, not his own. We can learn important lessons from Moses’ humble declaration in verse 15.

The very human tendency towards pride can lead us to forge ahead in situations in our own strength, and then ask God to bless our plans – which often leads to frustration until we humbly acknowledge that we need God’s wisdom in our lives.

Moses understood that the security and future of the Israelites was dependant upon them following God’s leading – they would not succeed without God’s presence going with them, and therefore Moses decreed that unless God’s presence was with them (which would be dependent upon their obedience) he would not lead the people on.

We need to have this same attitude in our lives; in our case, as new creations through Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit, allowing the Spirit to guide us and prompt us and lead us, and therefore surrendering control to God and submitting to His plans for our lives instead of forging on ahead.

In verse 14, God promises that His presence will go with the Israelites and that His presence will give them rest. We can claim this promise through Jesus. The word translated rest has many potential meanings, but one of these is freedom.

When we receive the promise of God’s presence with us, we receive freedom as rest from striving and struggling to do things in our own strength. Surrendering to God’s will for our life frees us from having to come up with all the answers on our own, and means that we can depend on His strength and wisdom.

Bottom Line

Moses had complete confidence that if God’s presence was with the Israelites, they would be okay; he understood that they needed God’s presence to lead them and guide them. Likewise, we need to be mindful that we follow God’s leading in our lives and don’t try to forge ahead on our own strength.

As the Israelites knew that their success was dependant upon God going with them, we need to know that our success is dependant upon us listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and acting within God’s will. Our attitude should be the same as Moses’ in verse 15.

Journaling and Reflection

  • Re-read verses 18-23. Put yourself in Moses’ place. What would it mean to see God’s glory? How would it make you feel? Why?
  • We receive rest when we put our trust in God’s will and submit to following where His presence leads us. How easy or difficult do you find it to let go of your own will and surrender to God’s plan for your life?
  • What practical steps can you take to seek God’s presence and guidance as you go about your daily life?

Prayer Pointers

Thank God that He is with is and that His presence in our lives is a source of rest for us. Ask Him to help you submit more to His leading in your life.

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