When His Work Exceeds His Presence
"If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here" (Exodus 33:15).
One of the great dangers in Christian service is to move from a presence-based work to operate purely on our natural skill. Once we become established in something, the daily maintenance can lead us into complacency until a crisis arises that forces us back to our knees to appeal to the Lord for His presence to return.
Things were going well for Moses as he led the people out of Egypt. God was calling him to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God, to receive the Ten Commandments. While he was there, the people fell away from the Lord by returning to the ways of Egypt by building and worshipping a golden calf under Aaron's watch.
This revealed that the spiritual foundation of the people and the leadership of Aaron had not been grounded enough for the leader to have an extended absence. God's presence had left the people. If you are in management, you must know the condition of your team to know how long you can be away from hands-on leadership.
When Moses came back and saw what had happened, he recognized the solution as well. Having God's presence return was the only way they could proceed and have success. "How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Ex 33:16).
Moses also realized a weakness in his own ability to lead. He pleaded God to mentor him: "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you."