In the second half of Exodus 33, Moses made some bold requests of God. But remember, “the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.” ~ Exodus 33:11a. When you are with a friend, you can speak freely and ask favors.
The first request Moses made of God was on behalf of his people. He wanted to make sure that God would indeed accompany the sons of Israel on their journey to the promised land. Remember, one of the consequences of the “worshipping the golden idol debacle” was that God would no longer be leading them; an angel would take His place. Yet as I read the passage again, I noticed that it also contains a personal request from Moses’ heart. He wanted to truly know God.
“Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘See, Thou dost say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But Thou Thyself hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Moreover, Thou hast said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Consider, too, that this nation is Thy people.’ And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.'” ~ Exodus 33:12-14
God granted Moses’ request. He would go with the people. But Moses wanted to get to really know God. They spoke face to face as friends, yet Moses wanted more. He wanted intimacy with God. Isn’t that how we are, when we meet someone really special? We want to spend more time with them, get to know them better, become intimately acquainted with them. God desires that we love Him more than anything or anybody else. He desires intimacy with us. I am sure He was pleased with Moses’ request. 🙂
And then Moses asked something that no one else had ever dared ask of God. “Then Moses said, ‘I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!'” ~ Exodus 33:18. Moses asked the Creator of the universe, the Maker of all things, the King of Kings, to reveal Himself. And He did! Not only did God grant Moses’ request, with limits, but He revealed His nature to Moses. And to us!
To know someone by name was not just by a word or title, like we think of it now, but by their character. A person’s very nature was revealed and known. So when God proclaims His name, He reveals something about His very nature, about Who God is.
“And He said, I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’ Then the LORD said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.'” ~ Exodus 33:19-23. Wow!
Exodus 34 gives us the details, and a priceless treasure, the very nature of God!
Stay tuned… 🙂