Moses was chosen by God to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. God directed a number of judgments against the Egyptians before the Pharaoh relented and let them leave.
In Exodus 19 we read of the people being at Mt Sinai. We also read how Moses went up the mountain to meet with God. During that time God gave many instructions to Moses that he was to share with the people. While Moses was meeting with God, the people back in the camp got carried away and insisted that Aaron, the high priest, make them a god they could see. So, he tossed their jewelry into the fire and then fashioned for them a golden calf. When Moses returned to the camp and found them worshipping an idol, he was angry. In fact, he was so angry that he smashed the tablets God had written His laws on. He also destroyed their golden calf. The people were disciplined because of their sin and several thousand died.
In Exodus 33, we read that Moses set up a tent outside of Israel’s camp. He would go there to meet with the LORD. Beginning with verse 9 through verse11 we read,
“When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. As long as the people saw the pillar of cloud remaining at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up, then bow in worship, each one at the door of his tent. The LORD spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend…”
In the remaining verses of Exodus 33, the LORD assured Moses of His favor and presence as he would lead the Israelites forward. (vs. 14) In verses 15-16, Moses said to the LORD – “the thing that will distinguish these people from all others will be your favor and your presence.” (My paraphrase)
Folks, it is to be the same with us today. People will know that we are Christians by God’s favor/blessing resting upon us and His presence with us. In John 13:34-35 Jesus said, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this, all people will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.”
How about it brother and sister – is it obvious that you are one of God’s redeemed and transformed children? Someone once posed this question – “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
In Exodus 33:18 Moses made an interesting request of the LORD…” Please, let me see Your glory.” Beginning with verse 19, God responded, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name YAHWEH before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But He (God) answered, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see me and live.” Moses had a great desire – to see the glory of God. He was not permitted to have a full-on frontal view of God. He would have perished with such an encounter. BUT he still experienced God’s presence in a powerful way.
How about you and me? Do you long to see the glory of or experience the presence and power of God? I do. I know there is so much more of Him I want to be introduced to. How was it that Moses was able to have such intimacy with God? I think there are several answers to that question.
1. Moses took time to enter into and wait in the presence of God. Exodus 24:16-18.
2. He listened intently to all of God’s instructions and followed them.
3. Moses was jealous and zealous for God’s name and reputation. He was prepared to even pay with his own life to protect God’s reputation.
4. Moses longed for God’s presence, favor, and glory in his ministry.
Exodus 33:15, “If Your presence does not go (with us) then don’t make us go up from here.”
Precious Holy Spirit, come upon us as you did at Pentecost when the Church was born. Possess us, I pray, and send each of us out into the highways and byways to expand Your kingdom. Please, LORD, lead us to accomplish great things for You. Amen