Exodus 33:12‭-‬23 NIV

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 favour with me.” If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you. Remember that this nation is your people.’ The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then Moses said to him, ‘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?’ 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.’ Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ 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.’ Then the Lord said, ‘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.’



Moses meets with God; that alone seems incredible but perhaps more so when you consider how many times and in how many ways Moses did so. For Moses, meeting God meant:
going up a rugged mountain, covered in a dark cloud in a storm of thunder and lightening (exodus 20:16),
Going up that mountain with other leaders and having a meal together after seeing the Lord on a pavement of brilliant sapphire stones (exodus 24:9-11),
Returning up the mountain alone into what appeared to be raging fire and staying there 40 days(exodus 24:17-18),
Only to return immediately to intercede for the sinful people (exodus 32:31),
Exodus 34:29-35 tells how Moses face would glow after being in the presence of God and so he would wear a veil when returning to camp,
The ‘tent of meeting’ is then established and each time Moses meets God there a pillar of cloud would appear and the people would stand and worship. Many translations describe the Lord as speaking face to face with Moses as a man speaks to his friend (exodus 33:9-11),
And it is in this context that we find the scripture quoted above takes place. Moses meets face to face with God, as a friend (or one who has found favour) and he asks to see God’s glory.
It strikes me that in all these encounters Moses shows boldness/courage, intimacy/openness when he meets with God and the result is that he is changed (his face glows and his willingness to lead and intercede grows). How awesome that these things can be true for us today because of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:16 invites us to boldly approach the throne of God, Jesus says ask for anything in my name (John 16:23),Paul writes that God longs to do far more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Are these not an invitation to be incredibly bold when we meet with God.
Jesus says we are now called friends of God (John 15:15), John writes that through Jesus we become children of God (John 1:12) and throughout scripture we and God’s people are referred to as the beloved of God. Are these not good reasons to come and be completely open and honest before God about our feelings, our fears and our dreams?
And for us also, we will find that as we meet with God we are changed. Paul writes that we are like mirrors reflecting the glory of God (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are wonderfully changed as we spend more and more time in the presence of the Lord and we don’t even have to climb a mountain to do so!

We have found favour with God through Jesus Christ and God invites us to draw near. I look forward to seeing our faces glow as we each do this more and more.


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