I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. The encounter of God and Moses. This story from the book of Exodus is earth-shattering. Literally! Here’s a bit of context. Beginning at Exodus 19, Moses and the children of Israel at Mt Sinai receive the Ten Commandments. Knowing His people, God provides remedies to cover violations of His law, restoring His people to fellowship with Him. The shedding of blood, the payment of a debt. All provided for by the Lord.
Just when things were going well, sin rears its ugly head! Do you not notice that when God seems so intimate, that’s when the enemy throws a few monkey-wrenches your way?
Now the children of Israel want a golden calf to worship since ‘…this fellow Moses…we don’t know what’s happened to him'(Exodus 32:1). Don’t know what’s happened to him? Moses has been with them every day, day and night… even before they left Egypt. Now he’s up on the mountain with God for forty days and nights. Not forty years. Forty days! That’s all. Didn’t take them long to fall backwards into idol worship.
Moses is warned by his assistant, Joshua, that there’s trouble in the camp. The old man carries down the two tablets of the Law only to discover… the golden calf. Thoroughly fuming with red-hot rage, Moses hurls the tablets to the ground, shattering them into a million pieces.
Moses is told to go back up the mountain. He’s an old man. Give this senior citizen a break! Is God asking you to do something that involves some effort, time and money? Is He? Let’s encourage each other to do whatever HE wants us to do.
Moses needs reassurance. God places the old man in the cleft of the rock, a protected opening on Mt Sinai. God shows him who He truly is–His goodness, mercy and compassion(Exodus 33:19). Moses sees God’s glory and splendor, AND he hears God’s own special name. Twice the Lord says, ‘Yahweh, Yahweh’– spoken with kindness, caring and intimacy. As when Jesus addresses His dear friend, repeating her name– ‘Martha, Martha…'(Luke 10:41). God reassures Moses of His endearing and enduring friendship by speaking the name revealed first to him many years before at the burning bush in the desert(Exodus 3). Yahweh…will be with His people from first to last.
But He won’t allow Moses to see His face, only His back. This means that sinful man cannot live and fully see Holy God. So, God protects us from harm. He’s careful to give us glimpses, hints and traces, hindsight-experiences of His being with us. Well, what does this mean? Just a glimpse as He passes by, that will be enough! A glimpse…of His glory!
Prayer: Dear God, we want to know more about you. To love and serve you every single day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.