After the people worshiped the golden calf, Moses pleaded with God. God said he’d still give the people the Promised Land. An angel would still go before them. But he himself would not go with them. He would not be in the midst of them in the Tabernacle as he’d planned before they sinned.

You might think this sounds pretty good. The people can get God’s blessings without being so close to God himself. They can get their land without worshiping so much. They can get God’s protection without having to be holy and obey all the time.

But Moses knew it would be bad. He told God, “If your presence will not go with us, do not sent us up from here… Is it not your going with us that distinguishes us from all the other people on earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16)

Moses knew that being near to God himself is the very best thing. It’s far better than all the other nice things God can give you.

God listened to Moses and did go with his people. Since then, his being in the midst of his people has only gotten better. First he came as Jesus to live with us. Now he gives his Spirit to live inside us. Soon Jesus will return to bring us even closer to God.

All this is so much better than anything else God might give us. There is nothing better than being with God.

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