As we get near to the end of 2020, I want to encourage you to make this your heart’s cry for 2021: Show me Your Glory God! This is a cry for more of God. My prayer for you is that 2021 would be a year of cultivating a deeper friendship with God. Friendship takes time and intentionality. If you were to take a survey of the people around you that you call “friends”, you will probably discover that there are only a handful that are the friends with whom you are completely vulnerable and share your heart with. It is impossible to maintain intimacy with everyone who you call a friend because friendship takes time to develop.
Today I want to look at Moses and his friendship with God. Moses is one who spoke honestly with God. Moses was raw and vulnerable before Him. We can observe the intimate relationship that God and Moses had in Exodus 33. Theirs was one of friendship which verse 11 describes, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend”.
The relationship between Moses and God grew over years. When Moses first encountered God’s Presence in Exodus 3 at the burning bush, we read, “Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God” (verse 6). But over the years, as Moses spent time with God, he grew in friendship and confidence in their relationship. How did this friendship grow? Time. Moses spent time with God. “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside of camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting’….as Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses,” Exodus 33:7,9.
This “tent time” that Moses had with God is like the invitation Jesus made to his followers in the sermon on the mount. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen,” Matthew 6:6. The invitation to “Shut the door” or to “get outside the camp”, these are both a call to cultivate the relationship with God; to grow in friendship with Him. From the encounters Moses had with God grew a confidence and a boldness before God.
Exodus 32 is the disaster of the Israelites forging a golden calf to worship because Moses had been so long on the mountain with God. After this incident Moses intercedes on behalf of the people. In the exchange between Moses and God, God keeps His promise to give the land to the Israelites, however because of their disobedience, God told Moses that He would not lead them, but instead He would have an angel lead them to the promised land.
Because of their friendship, Moses took a firm, bold stance. “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,” Exodus 33:13.
God responded to Moses, “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest,” verse 14. God’s Presence brings rest. David wrote of this rest from God in Psalm 23, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul,” verse 2. The closer you are to God, the more rest, refreshment, and peace you will abide in, no matter the circumstances you face.
Moses continued the dialogue, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here....what else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Exodus 33:15-16. God’s Presence is priority. Moses desired God’s Presence more than the promise He had given the people of God. Moses does not want the promise without God’s presence being with them. God’s Presence makes us distinct. We are different from any other people. God’s Presence marks us! What distinguishes us from every other people on the planet? God’s Presence in our midst.
The Lord responded, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name,” verse 17. Moses’ relationship with God affected the entire population of Israel! Your relationship with God will affect more than just you & Him. Your intercession (conversations with God) changes trajectories of those in your family, in your city, and on and on. We make a difference in our sphere because we are near to God, so we carry His presence everywhere we go.
Moses responded to God with this request, “Show me Your Glory,” verse 18. God’s Presence brings spiritual hunger. Moses had a hunger for more of God. God had just finished telling Moses that He knows him by name. In the culture of that day a name referred to the character and nature of a person. God knows Moses intimately. He knows the ways of Moses’ heart. Moses’ cry in verse 18 is to know God more intimately in His nature and character. This “ask” is about a desire for more of God! Moses is not satisfied with his experience with God, he wants more! Moses is really asking, “God, who are You most deeply?” Show me so I may know You.
God loves to answer this prayer for more of Him. The Lord said to Moses, “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...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,” verse 19. The fulfillment of this is scene in Exodus 34: 5-9. God put His goodness on display.
How hungry are you for more of God? Ask for a greater ache for God. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us, “Beholding the Glory of the Lord we are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another”. The more we behold God’s glory, we are changed from glory to glory. We cannot be the same when we have experienced His Presence.
Let 2021 be the year of the cry: Show me Your Glory!