A Glorious Request
O Lord, “I long to look on the face of the One that I love; Long to stay in Your presence, it’s where I belong” (Kim Walker-Smith, Kathy Frizzell and Nate Ward II).
Read Exodus 33:12–23
12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 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?”
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow would you describe the glory of God? Would you want to be close if God were to display it?
God was angry, but Moses continued to urge him to go with Israel. Finally, God agreed (12–17). But then Moses made a strange request: he asked, “Now show me your glory” (18).
Glory is the radiating effect of God’s presence, the perceivable force of his being. Surely asking to see God’s glory would be an insane thing to ask God for, especially when God was so angry.
Notice two things here. First, instead of saying “I will make all my power and impressive majesty pass before you,” God said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you…” God’s description of his own glory is not what we would expect. It focuses on his goodness, his closeness, his mercy and his compassion. Could it be that God’s glory, his very nature, is the radiant majesty of a God who is love?
Second, notice that God did not let Moses see his face (20). Who was the Lord that Moses met with face to face (11)? We find the answer in John 1:14–18, where we discover that the Lord who pitches his tent near to us, who is full of grace and truth, whose glory we have seen, is the one at the Father’s side who makes him known to us!
Spend time thinking about Jesus. Know that when you see his character, you are encountering the perfect revelation of the Father!
Thank You, God, for sending Jesus to reveal himself to us.
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