Exodus 33:14-16 (ESV) And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
Here in Exodus we see that the presence of the Lord was so vital to Moses that he said to the Lord that if the Lord was not going to come with them, then don’t send Israel up to the Promise Land. The Lord offered earlier to send up an Angel who would assure them of the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise in providing them the Promise Land. For Moses this was not enough. He wanted the Lord’s presence, not simply the presence of an Angel no matter how great the Angel was.
I find this so very significant for us today as well. The evidence of Gods manifest presence with and amongst His people is both that which confirms the favor of God concerning His people and that which makes them distinct from the rest of the World. This distinction is vital for us as the people of God. We’re to be in, yet not of the world. The question remains however, how far shall we go without His manifest, evident, or tangible presence?