It always astounds me to read of how quickly the Israelites turned their back on the One True God to worship a golden calf of their own making. We are told that Moses was on the mountain for 40 days. It took only forty days for the Israelites to lose faith in Yahweh. Wow! That has got to be some kind of record doesn’t it? I am perhaps most shocked by Aaron’s behavior. Boy was that guy passive. Like Adam, when faced with sin he acquiesced rather than stand in opposition. I wonder how long it would take you and me to wander from God in the absence of regular proof of His presence. Have you ever been there? Have you ever asked “where are you God”? Asking the question isn’t wrong; turning your back on God because He doesn’t do what you want in your timing is wrong.
Believe it or not, the focus of this post is not about turning our backs on God; at least not directly. The focus of this post is about drinking fully of the River of Life. It is about desiring and pursuing right relationship with God. Because of the sin of idolatry God told the Israelites that He would not travel with them to Canaan lest He consume them along the way. Sinners in the presence of Holy God will always be destroyed. Anti-matter cannot reside in the same place as matter. Cataclysmic explosion is the result of attempting to place the two in the same place. Sin cannot reside in the presence of God. For us to be in God’s presence we must be covered with sacrificial blood; either our own, that of sacrificial beasts – and then on a regular basis, or that of Jesus Christ – once and for all.
The Christian has been covered in the blood of Christ and therefore can come in to the presence of God. I do not expect a true follower of Christ to turn his back on God, but I know that we Christians sure do get distracted from doing that which will draw us in to ever greater and deeper relationship with God. Moses was distressed at the prospect of proceeding on his journey without the presence of Yahweh. Look at his plea to God.
Exodus 33:12-16 ESV
“ Moses said to the LORD, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’  Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”  And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”  And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.  For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
First notice this truth about those who belong to God; He knows you by name and you have found favor in His sight. Secondly, the desire of the one who has found favor in the sight of God desires to know God’s ways; to know God and to please Him. Finally, notice what purpose is served by such a desire and presence. Those that belong to Him are distinct; different from every other people on the face of the Earth. You and I brother, are ambassadors for Christ. The world will first know Him by how you and I represent Him. Are we representing Him well? Do people know you are a Christian? Would they know you are a Christian without you telling them? Are you clearly different from others because of your relationship with God?
Do you desire God to walk with you through this life? Do you desire to know His ways and to please Him? If so, you will be obedient to His call on your life. If so, you will live in such a way that you are clearly different from others. If so, you will be a beacon of light, drawing those lost in the darkness to salvation in Christ Jesus. You are different. Be different.