God promises that He will go before us and that He will give us rest…

In Exodus 33, Moses sees the Glory of God…

The backstory:

The golden-calf incident that we read about in Exodus 32, created a deep rift between God and His people.

For their safety, God now refuses to travel with them to the land of promise; instead, He sends His messenger to guide them.

The people’s response to God’s threatened absence is to mourn and refuse to wear their jewelry and fine clothes.

The meeting tent and the congregation tent reflect this rift too.

The congregation tent is to be God’s unique dwelling with His people, so it is located right in the middle of the camp.

But now there is another tent, the meeting tent set up a long way from camp, far from the contagion of evil spreading there.

From time to time, God and Moses meet there to talk; and Joshua stands watch over this intimate encounter, for only Joshua and Moses are not imperiled when the rest of Israel violates God’s directive and worships the golden calf.

Moses speaks with God and does his best to get God back on good terms with His covenant people.

Read Exodus 33

The Glory of the Lord (33:1-23)…

The presence of God is not to be taken for granted but humbly and eagerly sought.

33:1-6. What follows here may be hard to understand, but it becomes quite plain when we see the whole picture.

At first God seemed simply to renew His covenant with the Israelites and promised to take them successfully into the land.

He would even send an angel to go before them to ensure their safe arrival.

The covenant, the same one He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would be renewed with them and their descendants.

But one key element would be missing: God’s presence.

The angel would indeed go before them, but God’s own presence would not.

What Israel lost in their sin was the near presence of God.

The greatest priority for any child of God is to walk with God at all times so that he or she does not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).

God’s words shook the Israelites, and they began to mourn and strip themselves of their customary ornaments.

Their sorrow was heightened when Moses told them precisely what God had said.

If God went with them, He might destroy them on account of their presumptuous ways.

God then enforced what they already had begun to do—take off their ornaments (probably permanently) as a sign of true repentance.

They divested themselves of these things at Mount Horeb.

33:7-11. Before the actual construction of the tabernacle, Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away.

The tent was used to seek God’s presence. But when Moses himself went into the tent, the people watched carefully because they knew he enjoyed a unique relationship with God.

In fact, God spoke to Moses face-to-face in the most intimate fashion.

Subsequent men and women of God would not enjoy this kind of relationship with God.

When Moses entered, the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

During this time God spoke with Moses, and as the people beheld this, they worshiped God at a distance.

When Moses departed from the camp, he left behind his faithful aide, Joshua, to stand guard over the tent.

33:12-17. Moses asked God to clarify His relationship with him and the people.

Would He go up with them personally or not?

Moses wanted to know more about God, and this tells us something about Moses’ dynamic faith.

Through all his adverse circumstances he grew in his faith and spiritual hunger.

He wanted to know more of God’s ways so the favor of God would rest not only upon him but on his people as well.

God reassured Moses that His presence would go with them.

33:18-23. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God agreed but with certain restrictions.

He would pass by Moses and proclaim His personal name Yahweh (YHWH) to him.

But Moses would not see the essence of God’s presence.

To see God in the sense Moses wanted involved knowing something of His person and character.

God was not a man that He should lie nor the son of man that He should change His mind (Num. 23:19).

God is sovereign and answers to no one, offering mercy and compassion only to chosen vessels.

God chose to display His glory before Moses, who would stand upon a rock to behold the sight.

As God passed by, He would put Moses in a cave or small enclosure in the rock and cover Moses.

So Moses did not see God’s face but his back.

Moses wanted assurance of God’s presence with him, Aaron, and Joshua, and he desired to know that presence experientially.

Because we are finite and morally imperfect, we cannot see God as he really is and live—apart from Jesus Christ (John 14:9).

The good news is that Jesus has promised to show Himself to all those who love Him (John 14:21).
____

Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…

Exodus 33:1–23

God wrote the Ten Commandments, gave them to Moses, and revealed His glory to Moses.

Because Moses took so long to come down from the mountain, the people grew weary and built a new god for themselves made of gold.

We will never be able to see all of God’s glory on this earth.

Read carefully, very carefully, the following verses.

Read to answer this question—what did Moses do in order to see God? . . . Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

“And the LORD said, ‘Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.

So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.

Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen’” (Exodus 33:21–23).

Did you see what Moses was to do?

Neither did I.

Did you note who did the work?

So did I. God did!

God is active. God gave Moses a place to stand.

God placed Moses in the crevice.

God covered Moses with His hand.

God passed by. And God revealed Himself. . . . All Moses did was ask.

But, oh, how he asked.

All we can do is ask. But, oh, we must ask.

For only in asking do we receive. And only in seeking do we find.

And (need I make the application?) God is the one who will equip us for our eternal moment in the Son.

Hasn’t He given us a rock, the Lord Jesus?

Hasn’t He given us a cleft, His grace?

And hasn’t He covered us with His hand, His pierced hand?

(From When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado)

Do you know someone who rebels against God? Classmates? Colleagues? Neighbors?

Intercede on behalf of these people today. Ask God to reveal Himself to them and bring them into a relationship with Him.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Sunday, July 24
God Calling
by Two Listeners

KEEP CLOSE

“And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
— Exodus 33:14

Our Lord, guide us. Show us Thy Will and Way in everything.

Keep close to Me and you shall know The Way because, as I said to My disciples, I am The Way.

That is the solution to ALL earth’s problems.

Keep close, very close to Me. Think, act, and live in My Presence.

How dare any foe touch you, protected by Me!

That is the secret of all Power, all Peace, all Purity, all influence, the keeping very near to Me.

Abide in Me. Live in My Presence.

Rejoice in My Love.

Thank and Praise all the time.

Wonders are unfolding.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
— Jude 1:24-25
____

Come join the Adventure!

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Author: SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL OF LIFE

This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

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