And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 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?” Exodus 33:15-16
Original sin is the pride of thinking that we know a better path than the one that God ordains, of thinking that we can plan our lives better than God can. But that path always leads us away from God, and he will not follow us! Adam sinned, and as a result lost that fellowship with God, that walking the same path as his Creator. The children of Israel sinned too in seeking their own path.
Moses understood that Israel’s identity was found in God alone – apart from God they were just a rag-tag bunch of refugees with no purpose and no home. It is God going with them that confers identity, distinctiveness, peoplehood, direction and purpose. In the New Testament we are told:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
The Church is now the people of God, and yet, just as the Israelites did, so we choose our own way, we decide our own fate on both a personal level and as individual churches.
The question that goes with every choice of direction, every considered path, is this:
Will God go with me if I choose this path?