The Distinguishing Mark of God’s People – Exodus 33:16

How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

Exodus 33:16 NIV

Israel had come out of Egypt and camped at Mt Sinai for a year. During this time the covenant was established; the law given; and the tabernacle and its furnishings built. Also during this time, while Moses spent 40 days on the mountain, Israel built a golden calf and started to worship it.

This passage is directly related to the golden calf incident. Earlier in the chapter God had told Moses that he would not go with Israel on their journey to Canaan because he would likely destroy them along the way. Moses then pled for God to reconsider, with this verse being a part of that plea.

What was it that made Israel any different from the peoples around them? It was only the distinguishing mark of God’s presence among them. Apart from that they were just like the people they were going to try and dispossess from the land.

And I believe that is true for us today as well. It is God’s presence within me, the Holy Spirit, that makes me different from my neighbors and co-workers. And that is a distinguishing mark that should be evident to those around me who are not a part of God’s kingdom. They should be able to see God at work within us.

Holy Father, I pray that the light of your Spirit would shine out from me. That others might see you when they look at me. And that they might then glorify your name.

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