Daily D – Exodus 33:13-17
Exodus 33:13-17 “Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 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?””
There’s an old movie called, The Man Who Knew Too Much. There is a good book called, The Know-It-All. I recommend listening to it rather than reading it. It is much funnier when you hear the author tell his stories about what he learned by reading the complete Encyclopedia Brittanica. Note: There are some uncomfortable moments in the subject matter contained therein as you might expect.
Someone may write my life story one day. It will be equal parts comedy and tragedy. The distinction between these two is that comedies are stories with happy endings and tragedies are stories with unhappy endings. Yes, this is a gross oversimplification. Some unhappy endings are quite satisfying. For example, consider Batman: The Dark Knight.
Back to my life story, if I may. I am The Man Who Does Too Much. This comes from the reality of being interested in almost everything worth knowing. God granted me a Border Collie fascination with work and play, but without the Border Collie focus. That focus has them always prepared to work.
Stray tennis balls lying about the house? On it. Younger dog jumping on a guest in our home when she has been told a few hundred times not to do that? Take her by the ear and pull her away.
One of the consequences of Trying To Do Too Much is not getting everything done. Everything gets started, but not everything gets finished. I can blame my DiSC profile. I am an I/D. I love new ideas. I love turning ideas into action. I also enjoy turning over new processes to someone else to finish. Sometimes, there is no one else who can finish what I started. This is where my biggest problems come from.
Again, an example. This is a busy travel week. I left Sunday afternoon late for Kansas City. Some wise leaders from Austin and San Antonio and I were scheduled to meet the CEO and leadership team of a group who works with churches struggling with declining membership and escalating financial problems with their buildings.
I live near two major airports. I could not get a flight on Monday morning that would get me to Kansas City in time for the meeting. Go figure. Being gone all day Monday put me behind in my email. I led online training and had in-person meetings most of the day on Tuesday. I traveled here to San Diego for several days of meetings yesterday after leading more online training and attending to pressing details (Wednesday).
Just before bedtime last night, I realized I was a day late on an extension of time for a project that was already two days late. That’s three days late for those of you keeping count. I was so tired and sick at my stomach from an ill-chosen meal, I could only think about taking medicine and going to bed.
Fortunately, I live on Texas Time. This is true even after I arrive on the Left Coast. I awoke fully alert a few minutes before 3 AM. I finished the late, late, late report and three apology emails around 6 AM local time.
He who attempts to do too much actually ends up doing too little. I need to remember this bit of wisdom.
Go back up to today’s text. Read Moses’ conversation with God. Of all the things Old Mo could have talked to God about now that he had his undivided attention, there was one thing that really stood out. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it well in The Message. We find it in verse 14: “God said, ‘My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.’”
Moses’ One Thing, his two word mission, was Experiencing God. Read verse 12 again. Read verse 13. Now hear verse 14 again: “The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’”
Moses wanted more than anything to know and experience God. It was the only way he could conceive of completing the outsized task God gave him. He knew he could not do it in his own strength. He knew he could not do it with the knowledge and wisdom he himself contained. He needed, he required, God.
How do you hear what God says in verse 14? It is not a bad paraphrase to say, “I’ve got this.” Not only would God see the journey to the end, but he would do all the heavy lifting. This is what happened. The only complications came when Moses tried to do too much.
“So, Dave,” you might ask, “what is God saying to you in this story?”
I will not attempt to more than I can.
I will know and experience God and leave the heavy lifting to him.
Our Father, please forgive me for my undisciplined approach leading to attempts to do more than I can. Give me the wisdom to focus on the one thing that matters most. I want to know you and experience you and not pick up anything you do not want me to carry. Bless me with the gift of focus so that I may bless others with maximum effort on what matters most. Amen.
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Psalm 32:7-9 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Exodus 39:42, 43 So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
Exodus 33:13 “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”