Like Button

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Was Moses from Missouri?

For a large part of the book of Exodus, Moses is on Mount Sinai with God. He talks to God. He eats with God. He gets handwritten tablets of stone from God. So immersed in the presence of God was he that the Bible says his face shown with reflected glory. It shown so much that he had to wear a veil to avoid scaring the people. Now that is "practicing the presence". So when we get to chapter 33, we get a seemingly odd request of Moses to God:
Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" (Exo 33:18).
Really? "Show me Your glory"? What had He been doing up 'til then? And if it had been me, I would have wanted to ask, "So, what I've done up to this point isn't good enough for you?" But ... it wasn't me. It appears that God didn't find his request to be an affront or presumptuous. It appears that God thought his request was perfectly suitable.
And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!" (Exo 33:19-20)
So God protected Moses while giving him a passing glimpse of His glory. God let Moses see what he could grasp, that which wouldn't overwhelm him. Moses had already seen the glory of God in creation, and the glory of God in the human image of God, I would guess. The passage indicates that he saw God in His goodness and His grace and His compassion. It also indicates that He saw God's glory in the contrasting nature of God. If God will be gracious to whom He will be gracious and show compassion to whom He will show compassion, it is also true that God will not be gracious or compassionate to those whom He would not. And that was to God's glory as well. He saw God's glory in His sovereignty, choosing as He does both grace and mercy to some and justice to others. And He saw God's glory in the fact that He protected Moses from being destroyed at the sight.

Think about that. Moses was the guy who was chatting with God, but Moses needed protection from seeing God. It is like Isaiah, God's mouthpiece to Judah in his time. Sure, he was the voice of God to his people, but when faced with God Himself, Isaiah recognized that he was a man of unclean lips, worthy of immediate annihilation. There is no such thing as "good enough".

There is no doubt that the cleft of the rock in which God hid Moses from complete destruction at His presence was a parallel to the pierced Christ. There, hidden in the wounds of our Savior, we can be covered sufficiently to catch a glimpse of God's glory. Even the hiding place is part of His glory.

Oh, that we would daily long to pray in ever greater ways, "Show me Your glory!"

No comments: