top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1084. Do not accept second best (24/6/24)

Welcome to our Summer Inspiration series when our devotionals will be based on different texts of scripture that I hope you will find faith-inspiring. Today we reflect upon Exodus 33:15-16  and how we are to value God’s presence. 

To watch this devotional follow the link below:

‘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?”’ (Exodus 33:15-16) 

How dependent are we upon God’s presence? I’m reminded of the challenging words of J. I. Packer:

‘Christians are aware of the difference it would make if, after all, it transpired that there had never been an incarnation or an atonement. They know that then they would be lost, for they would have no Saviour.  But many Christians have really no idea what difference it would make if there were no Holy Spirit in the world.  Whether in that case they, or the church, would suffer in any way they just do not know.’ (J I Packer, knowing God)

Moses, having fled from Egypt is stripped of all self-sufficiency as he now takes care of sheep for forty years in the desert; here, as a broken man, he met with the presence of God in the burning bush. Following this, in his weakness, and by God’s power, he had been enabled to lead the people out of slavery in Egypt. Having lost it all, he had come to understand his need of God’s empowering presence. Moses truly knew the difference that having or not having God’s presence makes!

Moses will not accept second best. As we step back and look at the context of this text, we see that it comes as God threatens to remove His presence and send an angel to lead them in His stead. Early we read:

‘“I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.  Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”’ (Exodus 33:2-3)

For Moses, second best, even an angel to lead them, was not acceptable. He wanted to be led by God. He loved God’s presence. Moses’ love for God’s presence was revealed in the way that he spent time with Him: 

‘Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting”… As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses… The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.’ (Exodus 33: 7, 9, 11)

Will we settle for second best? Good teaching, good singing, good fellowship, good projects, good planning… are never to usurp our seeking and honouring the presence of God. Do we love worship? and is our worship done in an awareness that God is present? Do we love prayer? and is our praying done in an awareness that God is present? Are we and our churches being led by good planning? or planning that comes out of the place of prayer? May we, each of us, imitate Moses, as did Joshua, of whom it was said, ‘but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.’



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday was entitled, Don’t Settle for Second Best; the theme, from Exodus, was on how we are to prize the presence of God and not settle for second best in our lives. 

Please read Exodus 33:1-3, 15-16; 34:19 and discuss: 

  • What would you say is the main message and application of these readings?

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • Why was Moses so keen that God’s presence rather than an ‘angel’ (messenger of God) go with them? 

  • In what ways can we ‘practice the presence of God’ in our lives? 

  • Take a moment  to watch the devotional on this message together by following the link below:

  • SIV - They needed God’s presence; why will the theme of today’s devotional ensure that we also are effective in God’s mission? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

32 views0 comments


bottom of page