Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say 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.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 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. 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 33:12-16
Moses seems to be concerned that God will stop manifesting Himself in the visible way that He has. He is making the case with God that Israel is different than all the nations of the earth because He goes with them. After all, they just finished dumping God and Moses for a golden calf. He would understand if God wanted to walk out on them.
I understand this very reasonable fear. There was a time when many Americans thought that ours was a Christian nation. That may have been presumptious, or maybe it was something we aspired to, but we are clearly not that now. It would be a good time to remember that judgment begins in the house of the Lord.
It is well past time for us to humble ourselves and realize that God’s absence in our nation is our fault. We have our own golden calves, our materialism and pursuit of pleasure, that has replaced the God who made us and sustains us.