During the Christmas season, we sing songs like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” and we read in Matthew 1:23 that Jesus was also called Emmanuel which means “God with us.” God is with us, but what does that mean? We can interpret it literally because Jesus was born as a man on Earth to be with us. I have also been reflecting on instances where Old Testament leaders like Moses and David sought God’s presence. It made me think of how yes, God is always with us, but He may not always be with us in the sense of supporting our plans if we are not also seeking to be with Him. A recent sermon from Grace Church inspired me to think more about looking for God’s presence when I look for direction rather than asking Him to follow me.
Recently, I have been coming up with ideas of career moves I could take. I could pursue more education and enter the technical world. I could stay in my current path, work toward becoming a professor, or I could tackle a major project and create something completely new. The idea with the most risk is the new project. The most comfortable would be to stay where I am. As I think about my decision, I have been considering how Moses and David made some of their decisions.
For example, in Exodus 33:15-17, Moses asked God if He would go with the Israelites as they continued to travel. Moses felt that the success of their journey was completely dependent on God’s presence. Moses did not want to go if He could not be sure that God was with Him and would continue to be with the people of Israel. When Moses set goals, He wanted to be sure that God would be in the midst of those aspirations. He knew he would get nowhere on his own.
David felt similarly in 2 Samuel 5:17-25. He asked God if He would deliver the Philistines into his hands. Notice that David did not ask God if He would make him successful. He knew that He needed God to go before him in order to have success. He credited God with defeating his enemies. David asked for specific instructions and followed God’s lead, knowing that God’s way was better than his own plans.
As I continue to think about what to do next, I look at what was important to Moses and David. They asked if God would be there before moving forward, and they gave God full credit and glory for what was accomplished rather than seeking praise for themselves. We can do the same in our own lives by looking and asking where God is and what He is doing. Plus, it relieves a ton of pressure when success doesn’t have to come from us, and we don’t carry the weight of making the circumstances of our lives fall into place.