Raise your hand if you’re not sleeping well. An unscientific sampling of my friends and colleagues tells me that many of us are struggling with the inability to fall asleep when we go to bed, experiencing restless nights, or waking up hours before the alarm goes off. I try to take the opportunity in those times to pray, but even the comfort of laying my burdens down before God isn’t enough to bring rest sometimes. Not because God is inadequate, but because I seem to have a perverse need to pick everything back up that I just laid at his feet.
How about you? Are you tossing and turning as well?
When Moses was on his final leg into the Promised Land he was sleepless. The strain from fighting Pharaoh, leading his ornery people through an unforgiving wilderness, and the realization that this huge nation was about to enter a land already filled with hostile people finally overcame him. He pleaded with God for his protection and presence. He knew he couldn’t go it alone.
Exodus 33 (New Revised Standard Version)
12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”
14 The Lord said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
This phrase brings reassurance that God’s presence goes with us everywhere we go. When we can fully immerse ourselves in that reality, rest will come to us.
Rest is a gift of God that can only be opened when we truly let go of all of our worries and cast all of our cares upon him….which is so hard to do! Our brains want to keep “working the problem.” It takes a lot of submission to give things over and leave them there.
15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”
Moses asks God to be his strength and his shield against all the ites….the Moabites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, and all the other ites who will attack the Hebrew nation as they attempt to settle in the land. Do you have ites attacking you? Jealous-ites? Fear-ites? Anger-ites? Illness-ites? Betrayal-ites? Listen to how God answers Moses and remember that HE KNOW YOUR NAME, TOO.
17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.“
Take that, all you ites!! We are the Lord’s people and we will not be moved. God knows us by name and he brings us goodness, mercy, graciousness, and deliverance.
So rest in that. God knows you by name and he goes before every problem and issue you are facing. Thanks be to God!