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Session 16

God’s presence is greater than His presents

Read: Exodus 17

The whole goal of advertising is to convince us we need an upgrade. They try to convince us we are missing out on the latest fashion, the fastest computer, or the smartest cell phone. Advertisers want us bored and ungrateful, hoping we’ll believe that our lives will be so much better if we just buy their product.

The people of Israel found themselves in a similar frame of mind during their walk in the wilderness in Exodus 17. God had shown them amazing proof of His love and presence when He moved them through the Red Sea and drowned their enemies behind them, thereby punishing Israel’s slave masters and leading His children into freedom (Exodus 14:30-31). 

After witnessing God’s power, Israel celebrated by worshipping God, praising His strength and protection, and boldly proclaiming their confidence in His deliverance (Exodus 15:1-21). Then, something strange started happening: the Israelites started grumbling.

The Israelites, like us, had unmet expectations. When God’s miracles slowed down, they stopped trusting Him and started doing things their way. They wanted more proof (Exodus 17:7). But if God led them there, wouldn’t He care for them there?

Dissatisfaction arises when our attention shifts from what we have to what we don’t have — from what God has done to what He hasn’t yet done. God made His presence known to Israel, and He makes Himself known to us.

The wilderness can draw us closer to God, teaching us new things about His character. The way God cares for us today might be different from the way He cared for us yesterday. Don’t give up seeking God’s presence or settle for anything less.

Reflect:

  • Are you struggling to see God at work in your life? If so, why?  
  • Take some time this week and write out your salvation story. What was “Egypt” like for you before Jesus freed you?
  • God wanted Israel to focus on His presence more than their possessions. Is there something in your life competing with Jesus for your heart?

1

What if the right thing costs you everything?

What if the right thing costs you everything?

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2

Are you in need of rescue?

Are you in need of rescue?

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3

Help is on the way

Help is on the way

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4

Looking for a sign that God is with you?

Looking for a sign that God is with you?

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5

What to do when God doesn’t meet your expectations

What to do when God doesn’t meet your expectations

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6

Will you let God set you free?

Will you let God set you free?

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7

Great success often starts with failure

Great success often starts with failure

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8

How to break a cycle of regret

How to break a cycle of regret

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9

What is your purpose in life?

What is your purpose in life?

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10

When you can’t see clearly

When you can’t see clearly

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11

We are all enslaved to something

We are all enslaved to something

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12

Freedom comes from following instructions

Freedom comes from following instructions

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13

How remembering the past shapes the present

How remembering the past shapes the present

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14

How to win the war

How to win the war

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15

How to celebrate life, even when it sucks

How to celebrate life, even when it sucks

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16

God’s presence is greater than His presents

God’s presence is greater than His presents

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17

God is our banner

God is our banner

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18

The gift we never knew we needed

The gift we never knew we needed

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19

The one person who never breaks a promise

The one person who never breaks a promise

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20

A new way to think about God’s commands

A new way to think about God’s commands

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21

Revenge isn’t as sweet as you think it will be

Revenge isn’t as sweet as you think it will be

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22

What if you are the thief?

What if you are the thief?

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23

Timing is everything

Timing is everything

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24

The key to effectiveness in the church

The key to effectiveness in the church

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25

Why you should give God your best

Why you should give God your best

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26

Worship is more than singing on Sunday

Worship is more than singing on Sunday

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27

What it means to be set apart

What it means to be set apart

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28

You were made to make a difference

You were made to make a difference

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29

Is impatience getting the better of you?

Is impatience getting the better of you?

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30

You’ve got a friend in me

You’ve got a friend in me

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31

You can come to God after a mistake

You can come to God after a mistake

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32

What happens when everyone gives what God says

What happens when everyone gives what God says

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33

How to do more than you ever thought possible

How to do more than you ever thought possible

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34

How to prepare our hearts for worship

How to prepare our hearts for worship

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