Now show me your glory!
“Then Moses said, ‘Show me your glory!’” (Exodus 33:18)
Moses was a man who prayed big prayers and because of it he received HUGE answers! I’m struck by that this morning as I think about the life of Moses- this man’s entire life was marked by the conversations he had with God.
“Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
One of the things that stands out about the relationship God had with Moses is that the LORD would not only speak to Moses “as a man speaks to his friend”, but Moses would also speak to God in the same way! Throughout his life Moses was utterly candid and blunt in his prayers to God. It’s hard for me to even call these exchanges “prayer” in the sense that we often think of prayer as being today. Prayer could more accurately be called “conversation” in the life of Moses. Moses had conversations with God, not “prayer times”. One of the most wonderful conversations Moses had with the LORD is recorded in Exodus 33:
“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.” (Exodus 33:12)
And so begins an amazing conversation where Moses basically tells the LORD that he gets the fact that the LORD wants him to ‘Lead these people’, but he feels like he’s understaffed (who is going to help me, I can’t do this by myself!)- Moses feels that he lacks help, and that God hasn’t given him enough details, instructions, and resources to do the thing God has called him to do. Moses also would like to remind the LORD of the fact that the people he’s been called to lead are actually the Lord’s people. In essence- “if we’re going to get this done I’m going to need a little help here!”
God assures Moses there’s nothing to worry about, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
It’s not that Moses doesn’t believe God, but still, he wants God to know in no uncertain terms that he wants nothing to do with this plan if God’s not going to be in it and back him up.
Even though the LORD had just finished telling Moses that His presence would be with him, Moses has the audacity and boldness to ask, “What if?” What if God changes His mind? Moses doesn’t want any surprises!
“Then Moses said to Him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.’” (Exodus 33:15)
God could have said. “Hey, I just told you I’d be with you” and rebuked Moses for his not so subtle lack of confidence that things were going to happen just as the LORD said they would. But God didn’t do that- in fact the LORD seemed rather pleased with Moses:
“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.” (Exodus 33:17)
What a wonderful thing to hear the LORD say that He is pleased with us! And not only pleased, but that he knows us by name and is intimately familiar with who we are.
Now show me your glory!
But here’s where the story really gets good: Moses has been assured of all that he’s asked of God, but there’s one more thing that Moses desires; something better than even all of that: Moses wants to see God Himself!
“Then Moses said, ‘Show me your glory!’ ” (Exodus 33:18)
Now Moses could have stopped at the assurance that God would be with him; he could have left it at that and said, “Thank you, LORD, it means the world to me that you will be with us- I need nothing more than that.”
Isn’t it true that we often content ourselves with the blessings of God knowing that His favor rests on us and that He is “with us”?
Moses, however, was not content that God would simply be with him, Moses wanted God Himself.
Moses was a man who prayed big prayers and because of it he received HUGE answers! Moses was a man who walked with God, and out of his friendship with God was emboldened to ask for things that others would not.
And God responded!
“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. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 33:19-20)
Moses was given a new revelation of who God is because he dared to ask- he dared to ask because he was a friend of God.
God’s glory is His goodness
Consider for a moment the treasure revealed to Moses- God’s glory is His goodness.
Moses had previously seen amazing things from the Lord; he’d seen God’s presence go with them and guide them in the desert:
“After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” (Exodus 13:20-22)
He’d seen God part the Red sea, saving the Israelites as they “went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:29) Out of the entire army of Pharaoh who followed them into the sea, not one of them survived, as God caused the water to flow back over their enemies.
On many other occasions, over and over again, Moses had seen God do glorious things- how could he now pray “show me your glory”? Hadn’t he seen it? Wasn’t that enough?
I would venture to say that if most of us had witnessed the kind of things Moses saw we’d certainly feel we’d seen the glory of God. Moses, however, was looking beyond the outward manifestations of God’s power and might- he wanted to see something of God Himself. What he was given to see was that the LORD of power and might was good- God chose to reveal His heart to Moses and not just His hand- God’s glory is His goodness!
I’m struck this morning with the fact that Moses was a man who prayed BIG prayers, and saw HUGE answers, but I’m even more struck by the fact that it was Moses’ intimacy with God that caused him not only to pray boldly, but to seek God for no other reason than to know God Himself.
May we be encouraged to pray boldly as Moses did, and may our love for God exceed our desire for the blessings and gifts that God is able to give.