Moses had an amazing relationship with the LORD. God had called Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, spoken to them, and given them the Covenant promises, but Moses was privileged to find out much more about what God is really like. God spoke to him on a regular basis in an intimate way ‘face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’ (Exodus 33:11).
Moses asked to be shown God’s ways so he could know God (verse 13) and he asked to be shown God’s glory (verse 18). God graciously allowed part of Himself to be seen. Moses was to see the back of God, but not His face. This was to protect his life. Moses was kept safe and covered by God’s hand in a cleft in the rock as God passed by.
I’ve always been struck by the beautiful words of the old hymn ‘Rock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee’. The hymn writer, Rev Augustus Toplady was saying Jesus is the ‘rock of ages’ and we can hide in Him, saved by the blood Jesus shed on the cross for our sins.
God proclaimed His name more fully to Moses than to anyone else before him. God revealed Himself as ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in chesed (steadfast love) and faithfulness’ (Exodus 34:6). This is His true nature. But He explained that there were consequences for rebellion against Him, and that suffering results in the family line of the guilty. Verse 7 says ‘keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation’.
In Chapter 20 of Exodus, where we have recorded the first time God spoke of this, in the ten commandments given by God to Moses, there is an extra piece of information. God says the iniquity to be visited on the children to the third and fourth generation is to those who hate Him, but the chesed is shown to ‘thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments’ (Exodus 20:5-6).
Moses responded to the LORD in worship. Although God spoke to him as to a friend he was well aware of the power and might of God as the Creator and ruler of the universe. And yet he spoke to the LORD of all his concerns without fear. He asked Him to ‘pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance’ (Exodus 34:9). Moses was a truly humble man and a great leader.
Down through the ages the revelation the LORD gave to him was repeated over and over again, lest anyone forgot it. It is like an Old Testament creed in Nehemiah 9:17 and 31; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 103:8; Jonah 4:2 and Joel 2:13. Let’s make it our confession of faith in Almighty God as the LORD, the ever present One, who is near to us and who loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for us. When we trust in Jesus as our Saviour, and confess our sins, He pardons us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, we come to You today, knowing You are perfect holiness, perfect justice, and yet, perfect love. We can’t imagine the totality of who You are, but have little glimpses of Your majesty and glory. Thank You for revealing Yourself in the Bible, Your Word to us and especially for sending Jesus to show us how to be Your children, adopted in Your family. We know we may come to You as our perfect, loving Father, and we can enjoy being in Your presence for evermore. Amen.
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