Exodus 33:14 (ESV) … “And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Moses reminded the Lord of His promise to accompany the people on their journey. In fact, when the nation sang God’s praises at the Red Sea, they rejoiced in the promise of God’s victorious presence (15:13–18). Was God now going to go back on His word?
Moses based his appeal on the grace (favor) of God, for he knew that the Lord was merciful and gracious and that the people were guilty. If God gave them what they deserved, they would have been destroyed! The Jews were God’s people and Moses was God’s servant. They didn’t want an angel to accompany them, for there was nothing special about that. The thing that distinguished Israel from the other nations was that their God was present with them, and that’s what Moses requested. His heart must have leaped for joy when he heard God promise to accompany the people and lead them to the place of rest that He had promised.
Do God’s children have the right to “negotiate” with God as Moses did? It all depends on our relationship with God. Moses knew the ways of God (Ps. 103:7) and was the intimate friend of God, and therefore he was able to present his case with faith and skill. The godly Scottish minister Samuel Rutherford, who knew what it was to suffer for Christ, wrote, “It is faith’s work to claim and challenge loving-kindness out of all the roughest strokes of God.” That’s what Moses was doing for the people.