Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
The Hebrew word for presence Paniym means face, a close and personal encounter with God, for this reason Jacob names a certain place PENIEL(Gen 32:30) after wrestling with God, a face to face encounter and thus receives a blessing. This kind of encounter is what Moses sought of God and refused any progress outside God even if it was whereGod desired them to be, it would be like a Social media God leading by proxy. Moses knew that God’s presence is everything we need to conquer to have and sustain a good success in both the journey and destination.
¹⁵And Moses said to the Lord, If Your Presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here! ¹⁶For by what shall it be known that I and Your people have found favor in Your sight? Is it not in Your going with us so that we are distinguished, I and Your people, from all the other people upon the face of the earth?
The psalmist says: You are my Lord and there is no good without You ( Ps 16:2). God’s presence marks a distinction between You and the rest. Even when Moses spent 40 days and nights in the presence, his Countenance changed like Jesus at the mount of Transfiguration (Mount Tabor), they experience Gods tangible personality.
Moses needed God to stay close by in the journey and destination being a perceptiable ( able to be noticed, felt, shown, tested ,experienced) relationship. While many today glory in worship of angels, God sending an angel with the Israelites was/is not sufficient and not indicative of God’s closeness (havinga soldier in your compound by no means is indicative of the commander in chief being present even when His orders are beingexecuted).
Moses shows us the distinction between God’s omnipresence and His presence, perfectly said by the psalmist:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there”
It is one thing for God to be present and another to be omnipresent, Adam and Eve didn’t hide away from God because God is omnipresent (everywhere), rather they hid themselves from His presence, they lost that face to face interaction, a proximity with God with a consequenceof ; toil, pain and spiritual death!!
Then Cain after killing His brother and being cast out cries out;
¹⁴Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
Cain knew the essence of God’s presence that He pleaded, Moses refused to go without Him!! Without God is disaster and gloom, with no guarantees.
Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
David after berthsheba knew as much as Cain after Abel that sin casts one out of God’s presence.
The question stands,
where would we be without God?
As we stood cast out of His presence, He made a way to draw us back to Himself, to atone for sin that denies us His presence being Koinonia(intimancy)
Even when Jesus lay on that cross as that perfect atonement, a solution to our drawing back to God, He cried : My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? At that moment, He was wrapped with every sin in the world and became sin, perfection tainted, God’s presence had for a moment “departed”, His face turned away, even so we have Samson cry;
..O Lord God, [earnestly] remember me, I pray You, and strengthen me, I pray You, only this once, O God, and let me have one vengeance upon the Philistines for both my eyes.
The message version asserts it as : Master God ,look on me again and give me strength…
The necessity of His presence is evidenced when Israel cries out ‘Ichabod’ after the Ark of the convenant which was the presence of God at that time was captured after a philistian battle, a feeling of being cast out, disaster upon disaster , the deaths of the prominent spiritual leader Eli and His sons plus daughter in-law at the sound of the Ark being taken, ideally showed that Israel was doomed without His presence.
1 Samuel 4:21-22
²¹She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. ²²She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
1 Kings 1:50-51
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
2 Chronicles 20:9
“If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: