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Bible Study: Can we serve God without His presence?

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: Exodus 33:13-15

Discussion Questions:

  • Whose presence do you long for and why? How do you seek to gain that presence?
  • Why should believers long for the presence of God? Why do believers often not long for God’s presence?
  • Is it possible for believers to wrongly desire God’s presence? Give your rationale for your answer.

Food for thought with Miguel Núñez*:

You have surely heard it, and likely you have even said it: “Don’t just sit (or stand, or be) there, do something!” But medical doctor, seminary professor, pastor and author Miguel Núñez, in his book, “Servants for His Glory,” contends that “’Doing’ has become the addiction of our generation.”

As he points out, we carry a much greater burden over what we can accomplish — that is, what we can do — than over cultivating our inner being, who we are. “We must not forget we are human ‘beings,’ not human ‘doings,’” he emphasizes.

Núñez reveals some of what it means to BE God’s servants for His glory.

This particular session addresses the call to “Be a Servant of His Presence.” Núñez leads us to consider “the believer’s longing for the presence of God,” as seen in Moses’ plea to God in Exodus 33:12-23.

After the golden calf incident, God declared He would not go with Moses and the people. But Moses wasn’t satisfied to think of leading God’s people without God’s presence. “How,” Moses must have wondered, “am I to fulfill God’s call apart from His presence?”

Moses not only recognized the necessity of God’s presence for a positive outcome of the journey to the promised land, he also saw his own need to know God more personally and fully. Notice his words in verse 13: “Please teach me your ways.” Moses wasn’t satisfied with simply requesting the presence (and thus the power) of God, but wanted to know God on more than just a surface level.

Knowing God consumed Moses as much as seeing God at work.

“When Moses asked God to show him His ways, in essence he was asking God to show him His will.” He desired to know God’s will not for the intellectual satisfaction such awareness might bring, but that he might obey that will and further grow in the presence and knowledge of God.

God’s servants desire His presence in order that they might better know Him and more fully obey Him.

* Miguel Núñez is pastor of International Baptist Church and president of Integrity & Wisdom Ministries in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by Lifeway can be found at Lifeway.com/SundaySchool.

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