Show Us Your Glory
“I beseech You, show me Your glory.” Exodus 33:18
What an odd request coming from the lips of one who experienced 40 years of God’s glory. Forty eventful years, might I add. Moses’s story reads like an adventure novel on steroids, a real page turner of glorious events like the burning bush, the waters turned to blood, frogs and biting mosquitoes, bloodsucking flies, plagues, hailstones mixed with fire, locusts, thick darkness, the death of Egypt’s firstborn, Israel’s grand Exodus from slavery, God’s cloud by day and His fire by night, the Red Sea parting, and Pharoah’s army drowning in the same. Moses survived the wilderness crucible with his troop of flighty, headstrong charges, having seen God’s glory in the manna and quail falling from above, in water gushing from rocks, in God’s help defeating the Amalekites, in the thick cloud, lightning, thunder, and glorious voice of a trumpet on Mount Sinai, not to mention God’s glory cloud settling over Moses’s tent . . .
The man was a spiritual giant. Signs, wonders, and mighty deeds he witnessed and executed in partnership with God are beyond impressive. His close friendship with God . . . well, let’s just say it was the exception rather than the rule. What person on the planet doesn’t desire a mouth to mouth, face to face as a man speaks to his friend closeness with our Creator? [i]
With a noteworthy résumé like his, what more could Moses possibly want? Was he an adrenaline junkie looking for the next spiritual high? Or could it be that he sensed there was still something missing, some hidden facet to God’s glory he hadn’t yet grasped? Moses’s prophetic antenna was up and searching . . . searching. I beseech You, show me Your glory.
There were obstacles, of course, to fulfilling such a gutsy request. For starters, the heart of man is desperately wicked. Therefore, it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. That is problematic when asking to lay eyes on God who is holy, set apart, so “other than” all creation. Needless to say, ne’er the twain shall meet, for no man shall see Me and live. [ii] What’s more, God is not One to be pressured into doing or revealing anything, for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. [iii] But I imagine Him smiling at this point, pleased as all get-out that Moses even dared to ask. Moses wanted to see His glory; God’s glory he would indeed see. So, He stood Moses on a rock beside Him—in a cleft of the rock—and covered him with His hand.
I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee. [iv]
I need to stop right here and note that goodness is defined as “moral excellence; virtue; excellence of quality; or the best part of something”. [v] Goodness also implies a heart of generosity. That being said, what exactly did God’s goodness look like? We’re not talking a measure of His goodness, but all of His supreme goodness in one solitary pass. Not a quick pass, mind you. I imagine God made a slo-mo pass because one mustn’t rush a revelation of this magnitude.
Concerning names, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” if of the same mindset as Shakespeare’s lovesick Juliet. But when referring to God who is all in all, well . . . God had already made Himself known in the burning bush as The Eternal, Self-Existent One, at the bitter waters of Marah as The Lord Who Heals, and at the battle against Amalek as The Lord Our Banner. Throughout the wilderness journey He revealed Himself as The Lord Will Provide, and on Mount Sinai as a Jealous God. [vi] Now, on the heels of one of Israel’s biggest debacles, and God’s declaration that if He accompanied them for one minute into the promise land, He would have to destroy them, what better time to pull one whopper of a name out of His bag of names—a name greater than any other name in the heavens and earth and under the earth. [vii]
A portal in time opens. From the safety of that cleft in the rock, the veil blinding Moses’s heart under the old covenant slips off.
The LORD; The LORD God . . . [viii]
Was The LORD’s name a whisper on the breeze? Or did it roar through the heavens like a cyclone? Did hearing it launch Moses into sensory overload? Did his breath catch in his throat? Was breathing even relevant at that point as he gazed into the very certainty of the Presence within the veil, Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance]. [ix]
No one needed to explain to Moses what he was seeing. That which had been a mere shadow of things to come, that which generations of prophets and righteous men of faith had looked for and waited for, was materializing as living, breathing substance right before Moses’s very eyes. Jesus—in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form . . . the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine]. [x]
. . . merciful . . . gracious . . . slow to anger . . . abundant in loving-kindness and truth. [xi]
God, who made the heavens to declare His glory and created earth to be filled with His glory, would move both heaven and earth to reveal His glory up close and personal through His Son. [xii] Emmanuel . . . God with us. [xiii]The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. [xiv]
Keeping mercy for thousands (a thousand generations), forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty . . . [xv]
No longer would sin and fear keep man at a distance. Our holy God was present in Christ at the cross, reconciling the world to Himself. Jesus—where mercy and truth come together, where righteousness and peace kiss, and through whom sin is removed and God and man connect—is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him. [xvi]
Moses saw God’s glory that wondrous day through the face of Jesus. He saw His glory again on the Mount of Transfiguration when Jesus’ face shone like the sun. [xvii]
God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” makes this same light shine in our hearts today so we can know and experience the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [xviii] The Disciple Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” [xix]
Thank You, God, that Moses’s close friendship with You is no longer the exception but is meant rather to be the rule. Not only in the sweet by and by will we have You for an everlasting light and You for our glory, but we also rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying Your glory right now, today, this very minute. A face-to-face, mouth-to-mouth, heart-to-heart friendship with You is not only possible; it is very much intended through Your Son. [xx]
I beseech You, show us Your glory!
[i] Deuteronomy 34:10–12; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:8 [ii] Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 96:9; Exodus 33:20; John 1:18 [iii] Exodus 33:19 [iv] Exodus 33:21–23 [v] Definition of goodness, dictionary.com [vi] Quote from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Exodus 3:14; Exodus 15:22–26; Exodus 17:8–15; Exodus 16–17; Exodus 20:5, 34:14 [vii] Exodus 33:1–5; Philippians 2:9-10 [viii] Exodus 34:6 [ix] Psalm 29:1–11; Hebrews 6:19–20 [x] Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 10:1; John 8:56; Genesis 3:15; Genesis 49:18; Colossians 2:9 [xi] Exodus 34:6–7 [xii] Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 6:3 [xiii] Matthew 1:23 [xiv] Matthew 11:27; Colossians 2:9; John 1:14 [xv] Exodus 34:6–7; Deuteronomy 7:9 [xvi] Lamentations 3:22; Jeremiah 21:14; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Psalm 85:10–11; Psalm 103:10–12; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 12:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 6:16 [xvii] Matthew 17:2 [xviii] 2 Corinthians 4:6 [xix] John 14:8 [xx] Isaiah 60:19–21; Revelation 22:4–5; John 14:22–23; Romans 5:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12