The year of transition begins. The year of a completely blank canvas is now on me. I am not panicked. I am not panicked. I am not panicked. (My therapist said if I repeat that phrase three times everything will be okay.) Read more
Exo 33:18 — Exo 33:20 (NIV)
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” Read more
Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. God had promised to show Moses the “glory” of the Lord (33:18, 22). Now that the time had come, the “glory” is barely noticeable in the brief mention of the cloud. The Lord’s greater glory was found not in this visible manifestation, but rather in the relationships proclaimed in his name. — J.K. Bruchner, Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)
Moses made a request of an experience with God. God went further to what Moses needed. What would NOT sustain Moses and Israel was an experience. That would fade. What WOULD sustain Moses and Israel was the character of God. God gives Moses and Israel more of his name. In unveiling more of his name, which is what is happening in Ex. 34:5-7, he is giving Moses what is needed. Moses needed to know the WAYS of God, not just an experience of God. God gave Moses an experience to verify what was revealed, but Moses could rely on the name of God (the character of God) far longer.
When I cry out, “Show me your glory, Lord!” I think I want an experience. What I need is the revealing of God in his character t know I can keep on walking, to know I can face any giant in the land, to know I have what is needed for the tasks ahead. He IS gracious and compassionate.
Experiences help solidify what he reveals of himself to us, but we need the TRUTH of his character more than a one time experience that fades with time and memory.
This verse captures my deepest prayer. Israel knew WHAT happened, but Moses knew WHY it happened.
If there is any passage I could wear out in any physical Bible, it would be (and is, by the way I look in different translations and see I’ve already been there and marked it up incessantly) Ex. 33:13-23.
Almost every day I have a prayer: Seek the favor of God.
Moses leads the way for me. He constantly longs for the favor of God. He asks for his very presence. He asks what no one else has asked for as a leader. God grants as fully as possible what Moses can take. Why? Because Moses won’t give up.
His life is intercession.
Yet, while I pray that request with some frequency, I find that while I mark up that passage with regularity, and visit it often… I am not in the same category with Moses. I like the thought of the glory of God… but not enough to sit there and wait for God to move!
I am impatient. I am lazy. I am distracted.
Moses cries out, “Teach me your ways!” and then has the wisdom to actually sit and wait for the instruction. I too often cry out the same request, then slam my Bible shut and race off to the next thing.
Lord, forgive my presumption. Forgive my false starts. Forgive my lazy questions and request. Grant me the heart of Moses. Grant me the tenacity of a man who had learned through time that God isn’t in any hurry, so why should he be rushed? Lord, when I ask, “Teach me your ways,” may I then sit and wait for some instruction!
My study in the life of Moses (looking at his prayer life) takes me to Numbers 10. It is Israel just before they are “ready” to move toward the Promised Land. They are truly people of the presence. When the cloud moves, they follow. When the cloud stops, they camp. The feasts are in place. Israel is paying attention.
Of course, we then get Numbers 11. It unravels in a hurry.
As I think on how long it takes for Israel to “get it back” (and I think that comes under the early years of Solomon and doesn’t last very long), it may be from Numbers 10 to Acts 2 there just isn’t a time when there is a sustained following. Not like Numbers 10.
I know individuals who are truly “people of the presence” and I suppose we could look at revival moments like Azusa Street as “sustained movements,” but I am pondering SUSTAINED movements. Not individuals. Not revival moments. A generation. A movement. Over time.
Can we see a sustained movement where the people of God are truly “people of the Presence?”
Moses was called up to the mountain. There he was in the powerful presence of God 40 days and nights.
Moses spent the forty days in the presence of God and received the blueprint for God’s heart concerning Israel.
Israel “waited” at the bottom of the mountain and fell back to their old patterns from Egypt.
Moses received the heart of God. Israel built a golden calf.
When God “delays,” how do we RESPOND?
Moses is a great example of one who had his life completely turned inside out a couple of times, is driven to a place where he doesn’t know what he is truly capable of, and is then given the gift of the presence of God.
All of it serves as a lesson for leaders: We have to stay centered on the presence of our King.
The patterns, habits, bondages of the old life don’t easily go away. There are wonderful stories of addictions that instantly leave when people come to Christ, but more often than not it takes a little more time.
Israel came out of slavery and still had a lot of Egypt in them. A few days (relatively speaking) out of Egypt and they are ready to default to what they knew in worship.
400 years of slavery wouldn’t be overcome by 40 days of freedom.
It’s a longer process and one we need to understand from the outset. It is a walk of understanding. A walk learning to trust God and quit trusting the gods of this world.
Egypt may be more deeply rooted than you anticipated. Keep walking in freedom.
Israel had been in Egypt over 400 years and couldn’t wait a few days for Moses to come down the mountain with the commands of the Lord. They defaulted to what they knew: the gods of Egypt.
I’m more Israel than Egypt. I don’t wait. I default.
The command of the Lord is to wait. It’s not because he is mean. It’s because he has to get Egypt out of us as he applies the power of the Kingdom to our lives.
Lord, forgive my impatience! Teach me to wait!