Before I get into my current bible-time-induced report I’d like to take a moment to give a quick rundown of why I won’t be updating much for the next week or so. I’m going to be working, yes, but I’m also going to be taking a trip back to the homestead to see the family and my adorable puppy, then I will be going on a trip this weekend. Hopefully home will be nice and comforting, and the trip will go well. It kind of sucks though, because after I get back I’ll be working four days in a row and missing bible study again, this time two weeks in a row. Thankfully I got to go last night, I even got to pray for my mother’s dog to get pregnant. Now that is how you end prayer time.
I’ve been coming back to a certain story repeatedly the past few weeks. It is from Exodus 33, verses 12-23, and it’s titled “Moses and the Glory of the Lord”. This is a random read for me in the first place, so the fact that it keeps coming back to mind is encouraging me to chew on it even more.
Here’s the story:
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 favor with me.’ 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.”
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 is having a conversation with the Lord, and he’s a sassy guy so he gets on the Lord’s case about what He’s said and how it will come to pass. The Lord gives him all the right answers, reassuring him, but it seems to me that for Moses it wasn’t enough. Maybe Moses didn’t want just words, didn’t want to be placated. Maybe he needed, on that human level that argues against faith, to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord loved him enough to give him what he wanted, which was to see the Glory of the Lord.
When I consider this story I get two messages. First, Moses was a brave mo-fo. He and God were really close, yes, he was the only one to spend time with Him face to face according to the verses preceding this story. Even so, that wasn’t enough for him on this day. He told God not to forget about what He had promised. He told Him not to bother moving the people if He wasn’t going with them, and he told God why it was a stupid idea in the first place. God’s response was along the lines of “I know. I’ll be there, I like you.” Then Moses demanded to be shown the Glory of God. Demanded. He didn’t say “please, someday when I’ve done all that you’ve asked of me, will you show me your toenail? I’d really like a sneak peek.” No, he wanted to see more than was dignified of him to want to see and he wanted to see it right now. And in his wild expectancy he got what he asked for. He decided he wanted God to do something magnificent, extravagant, life-threatening, wonderous, and he was rewarded for having the balls to ask.
Maybe that is something I need to be focusing on a little more, expecting God to provide or give what I need or want, even if it seems to be too much for me to even ask. I have been trying to pray confidently, and I don’t beat around the bush when it comes to what I want from God (y’all should hear me pray about my future husband). I’m direct and I believe that He will come through and prove Himself, but I might need to think on a larger scale. Might.
Second, I am in awe of the Lord’s tenderness towards Moses. He can’t show him His face because he would die, and He has work for Moses to do, and so He shows him what he is able to handle. He places him in safety, the cleft in the rock, and covers him with His hand to keep him safe.
I like that. I like that God decided to do something potentially dangerous as a gift to someone who had His favor but did His part to ensure his safety as well. Thankfully Moses was good with direction, because he did his part to keep himself safe as well, trusting that God was giving him instruction for his own good. Maybe that’s something I should be keeping in mind, that God sometimes gives us crazy-dangerous situations, but will give us instruction on how to come out unscathed. All it takes on our part is the asking and the obedience.