Newsletter November 2018
See His glory
“Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
Moses prayed this prayer at a time of crisis. He was a great prophet of God, the greatest the world had ever seen. He had experienced God’s power in the miracles that God had wrought through him: the plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and miraculous provision in the midst of the desert. Yet he reached a point where he could go no further – not without a fresh and deeper revelation of God’s glory.
In the previous chapter, we read how Moses had gone up to Mount Sinai to meet with God and to receive instructions directly from Him. As he delayed coming back down from the mountain, the people’s faith began to wane. So they gathered together and persuaded Aaron, who was left in charge during Moses’ absence, to make them a god: one whom they could see and touch, one who fitted within their limited human minds. And Aaron granted them their request. He collected gold from the people and made them an image after their imagination, built an altar before it, and announced to them, “Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD (in Hebrew YHWH).” (Exodus 32:1-5) So when Moses descended from the Mountain of God, carrying with him God’s Law written by God’s own hand on tables of stone, he saw the people dancing around a golden calf.
Reading these verses, it appears that Aaron somehow tried to reconcile the making of this idol with worshipping YAHWEH, the invisible I AM who had delivered them from the Egyptian bondage by His powerful hand. What a fallacy! How can an image made by man represent the Almighty God? “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?” (Isaiah 40:18),
It is easy for us to condemn Aaron or to pity him for his ignorance. Yet could it be that we too have an image of God in our minds that falls far short of His Glory? We may not actually make a physical idol, as the Israelites did, but so often our conception of God limits Him to nothing more than a human construct. Instead of answering the call to serve the King of Kings, we all too often create for ourselves a god whose purpose it is to serve us – on our terms.
Moses had led the people of God up to this point. He had been faithful in everything that God had called him to do. Consequently, the Israelites had witnessed God’s power and experienced His loving care. Yet they had failed to honour Him as God. Moses recognised that in order to convey to them the awesomeness of the Almighty, he needed a fresh and deeper revelation of who God really was. So he prayed, “Please, show me Your glory.”
Like Moses, we need a deeper revelation of who God is. Only He can reveal Himself to us – by His Spirit (1 Cor. 2:11-12). As we put aside the flawed images we have created of Him and seek His face, as we read His Word with an open heart, God will reveal Himself to us as He really is. As we stand in awe of His Majesty, we recognise how far we fall short of His glory and, at the same time, we experience the infinite love of the Father welcoming us into His presence. It is there, in His holy presence, that we become conscious of our sin and experience the joy and the freedom of complete justification through the cross (Rom. 3:23-24).
Our God is an awesome God. Therefore let us plead like Moses, “Lord, show us your glory!”