And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”

Exodus 33:14,15

What a gracious word of promise from the Lord as we come to the end of 2017 and look forward to the brand new year of 2018! In the verses above, the Lord graciously promises His continued presence to Moses and to all the people of Israel. This verse is all the more amazing when we read it in its context. Israel had recently created a golden calf, and made a deliberate choice to bow down and worship it, rather than the one true God who had saved them from Egypt, and who had led them all the way through the wilderness. And yet, God reiterates the promise of His presence, not because Israel deserves it, but in spite of the fact that Israel deserves only judgment.

This is just one more shining example of the incredible wonder of the grace of our God! We are not as different from ancient Israel as we might imagine. We too, deserve judgment! But God poured out His judgment on His own beloved Son, so that we might be spared! God forsook His own spotless Son, so that rebels such as us – prone to wander, prone to serve other gods – might never be forsaken, but instead, might receive the promise of His eternal presence!

And in His presence, there is rest! Through the gift of His Holy Spirit, we can know that rest, already now, to a degree! None of us can possibly know all that 2018 has in store for us, but, by God’s grace, we have come to know the One who has written every day of our lives in His book before even one of them came to be, and the One who has promised to be with us every step of the way! And there is coming a day when all those who have put their hope and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, will enjoy His gracious presence for all eternity, and will then finally, and forevermore, experience His perfect rest! May God enable us to enter this new year, trusting in His precious promises, and enjoying His rest!