Scriptures for Today
Genesis 31-33 Mark 3: 1-19
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 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?”
These words come from a man who has learned well that leading the people of God requires more than human leadership skills. Dislodging God’s people from the clutches of Egypt required strong intervention. Now that the people of God were free, Moses was not going to settle for less that the Presence of the Lord. He understood that God’s people must possess some distinguishing qualities. The big difference between an Israelite and one who was not was the Presence of God.
Not many people understood in Jesus’s day that He represented the Presence of God on earth. In Mark 3, Jesus encounters a man with a withered hand. I doubt that there was much available in the medical community of Jesus’s day for withered hands. Such crisis situations for Jesus provided opportunity to heal the man. Standing at the edge of the crowd as always were the Pharisees checking whether or not Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. Jesus argued, “is it good or is it evil to do good on the sabbath?” He healed the man with the withered hand.
The Bible is replete with stories of great men and women who have experienced the living Presence of God in their lives. I think of Isaiah’s vivid encounter with God in the year that King Uzziah died. David, in spite of his obvious humanness, knew a one on one relationship with God. The Apostle Paul’s Damascus road experience made a powerful impact on his life, and the lives of the many churches he founded.
These biblical examples can be intimidating to us “every day” Christ followers. The title of a book that I read many years ago, Does God Still Guide? poses the question that many have asked. Is our “walk of faith” sterile in comparison to the towering experiences of our spiritual forebearers? Does God really have time to busy Himself with the mundane issues of our experience? What distinguishes us from the rest of society. Moses’s question to God becomes our own.
In 1901, Frank Graeff penned these lyrics.
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deep for myrth or song,
As the burdens press and the cares distress
And the way grows weary and long?
No doubt every Christ follower has had days when he/she could pen such lyrics. Gratefully, there is a refrain to these lyrics which became a hymn.
O yes He cares, I know He cares
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
I no longer wonder about the distinctive of God’s Presence in these days. When I gave my life to Christ as a young teenager, something remarkable happened. My decision that day became a seed that fell into the ground which not only changed my life, but it has affected the life of everyone that I would influence in the future. God had much more to do with my conversion than I did. It was His goodness that drew me.
No doubt, the same has been true in your life. The change God made in you has brought about change in those you have influenced.
“What else will distinguish me and your people from anyone else on the face of the earth?” Moses asked. The answer for Moses and the answer for all of us is the evident Presence of God in our life and experience.