“No matter where the people traveled, the LORD was with them.” This last verse of Exodus perfectly summarizes not only the message of this biblical book but of the entire Bible. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and formed man and woman as the apex of his creative work. Humans alone bear the stamp of God’s image and likeness. People were created to be with God. But humanity took their own path apart from God and fell into sin and disobedience. From that point forward God has been on a massive mission to restore, reconcile, and reclaim his lost humanity so that they can be together again.
God chose Abraham and set apart his descendants, the Hebrews, to be his people and be a kingdom of priests in order to reverse the curse. God gave laws and commandments to communicate his presence with his people. For the Jews, God was like a pillar of cloud, a sentinel watching over them. In the fullness of time, when it was ripe for the promised Savior to come, God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus who is called “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”
Jesus lived a holy life, died a cruel death on our behalf to bring forgiveness of sins, rose from death, ascended to heaven, and now watches over us, interceding for us. But that is not all; until he comes again God’s Holy Spirit has been sent to be the continuing presence of Jesus on this earth. The Spirit is with God’s people.
No matter where the Christian goes, no matter what happens, no matter the place or the situation, God is with him/her. Nothing can separate God from his people. There are no guarantees in life that things will turn out well, or that all will go our way. But we have the abiding promise that God is with us because he has gone to the greatest lengths possible to make it happen. And God’s presence is what makes all the difference.
Ever-present God, there is nowhere in which you are not. Thank you for your continuing presence. Enable me to always live in awareness of this reality so that my life might confidently follow you anytime and anywhere; through Jesus Christ, my Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.