A LONG HARD CONVERSATION
So there was Moses, outside the camp, inside the Tent of Meeting; talking fervently with God.
He was pleading with God not to leave them; begging God to go with them into the Land of Promise.
Have you ever been in such a predicament?
Has there ever been a time in your life that you just did not want to face unless a miracle happened and God changed it all for you?
Did you find yourself saying desperately; “LORD, I need you! Please help me! Do not forsake me now?”
Then you know where Moses was and how Moses felt at this moment in time.
Welcome to our ongoing, chronological bible study held every Thursday called COME AS A CHILD. If you missed last week’s lesson; you may review it here: SEEKING GOD’S FACE IN THE TENT OF MEETING – COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 181. Today’s passage comes from Exodus; Chapter 33 and 34.
FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF MOSES
Just think about how this whole situation must have felt while standing in the sandals of Moses.
He had given up his rich life as Midianite shepherd.
He had walked the people through plagues and hardships.
He had stood up to an Egyptian King, one that might have also been like a father to him at one point in his life.
He had helped his native people to escape the bonds of slavery so they could go out and worship their God.
He had faced the roaring sea and walked right through with faith and courage.
He had drunk water from a rock in the desert.
He had eaten manna from Heaven for food.
He had discovered God in a burning bush on the top of a mountain.
He had listened to God the whole way (even though he didn’t want the job in the first place) and He had bravely followed God’s exact instructions.
He had done nothing, absolutely nothing, that did not indicate he was all about keeping the plans that God had in mind for forming these people into a holy nation that would bear the name of God to the rest of the world.
That was it for Moses.
That was what his purpose was. It was what his life’s journey had become all about. He knew nothing else of value. He did not want to go back to being a Midianite Shepherd or an Egyptian Prince; He wanted God to continue with his plan to dwell in the midst of His people.
Moses had been up on that mountain with God for 40 days and nights listening and retaining the instructions for building that tabernacle in the wilderness where God would come to dwell among them.
He had cleaned the camp of the results of the awful sins with the golden calf.
He had suffered the loss of many he was close to in doing so.
He had corrected an old man who had stood with him in his ministry; one who could speak much more eloquently than he. He had rebuked his own brother in the name of God.
If God didn’t go with them anymore; everything that Moses had done would be wasted and useless. This was the mile marker of Moses and God. Either they stayed together here; or they fell apart.
Moses wanted desperately to stay together.
What was God going to do? All of the intimacy of their relationship rested on God’s answer to this one question.
THE PERSEVERANCE OF MOSES
It must have been very frustrating and I can just imagine the anxiety that Moses was experiencing; anxiety like he had never felt before.
It was here where I began to realize the wisdom of God in choosing Moses over Aaron. Aaron had caved. Aaron had allowed the people to persuade him to be soft. Aaron would not have stood his ground and begged God to continue to stay with them. Only Moses was qualified. He had that trait that won the day. Moses was persistent.
So it was that Moses brought forth his best trait of complete perseverance. He kept reminding God of the plan. He kept repeating God’s promises over and over until finally; God answered him.
THE CONVERSATION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
Let’s think about all of this as if it were the script of a play; it might be a bit easier that way:
MOSES: God! You have been telling me to 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.”
So; 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!”
GOD: Okay Moses; My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
(Have you ever been so bent on making a point and so set on getting your way and so emotional about it all that you forgot to listen to the person when they answered favorably and you just continued on with making your point? Do you think Moses even heard God’s answer, based on his following questions?)
MOSES: If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here!
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?
GOD: I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.
(I think it registered with Moses this time that God had answered in his favor! Maybe Moses was at a loss for words here; or maybe he thought it was just the right time to ask that BIG question he had always been wanting to ask for so long; sort of “now or never” moment in time. Have you ever won an argument and felt like you needed to keep digging for more ground?)
MOSES: Now show me Your Glory!
(Or do you think that Moses just REALLY needed proof and reassurance from God that He was going to do what He had promised? Is Moses asking for a sign?)
GOD: 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 have compassion; but you cannot see my face; for no one may see me and live.
There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock.
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. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.
A RISK WORTH TAKING
At this point Moses must have remained speechless.
Could it be that God was actually going to humor him with this request?
Should he be afraid?
He didn’t care!
He wanted to see God and he was willing to risk everything just to be closer to Him than he had ever been before.
Have you ever felt that way? I surely hope so. Knowing the Glory of God is worth anything you ever have to risk.
It is better than love.
It is better than family.
It is better than riches and gold.
It is better than diamonds and silver.
It is better than anything you could ever dream of encountering.
Are you willing to risk it all for experiencing the Glory of God?