The hardest thing about a long-distance relationship is that no matter how many times you talk on the phone or see each other on webcam, you can’t really be together.
Nothing can substitute for the person’s presence.
So when God told Moses, “I will send my Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 33:2,3), Moses and the people “mourned, and no one put on his ornaments” (v4).
It was not enough for them to possess the promised land and receive God’s blessings – they wanted His presence.
And God wanted to be with them as well. He quickly responds, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (v14). He just wanted to be wanted. (God has feelings, too, after all).
Do we crave His presence? Or do we merely ask for His blessings? “Lord, drive out the Canaanites and the Amorites in my life [whatever tempts and tries me] – solve the problem of the Hittites and the Perizzites [finances and academics] . . . remove the Hivites and the Jebusites [the stressors] . . . bring me to the land flowing with milk and honey [to those grades; to that school; to that person; to that blessing – to that perfect future ]…”
And the whole time, God is longing for us to plead like Moses, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (v15) – like Ruth, to say, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me” (v16,17).
So just for today, let’s not ask for blessings and conquests. Let’s just ask for Him. Let’s have no agenda but to enjoy His presence – to just be together. After all, that is why He came – Immanuel – God with us!
Into my heart – into my heart – come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, come in to stay, come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Amen.