“Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’ But He said, ‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.’ ” Exodus 33:19-20
As I write this post it is early Sabbath morning between of the weekend most Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ. While I don’t like the names we’ve used to label this holiday I love the fact that we have a tradition of remembering and meditating on that great sacrifice and atonement without which our lives would be hopeless and meaningless.
Following Israel’s sin of making and worshiping the golden calf, within sight of the cloud of God’s presence, the book of Exodus records a series of conversations between God and Moses where Moses intercedes on behalf of Israel for God’s continued presence and in the process of this intercession is drawn more intimately to God and grows to desire an even greater revelation and connection with God.
“Please, show me Your glory.” This is Moses’ plea as we approach the climax of his exchange with God.
What was God’s answer to his servant?
“I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Moses could not witness the full extent of the glory of God but God in his generous mercy shielded and sheltered him so that he could witness all that he could bear and more than he could ever comprehend.
In Jesus’ suffering in the garden, submitting to the blows and mockery of the godless soldiers, enduring the lonely journey to the cross, and bearing the guilt of the sins of the whole world we see an incomprehensible display of the goodness and glory of God. All of humanity has received without our having to ask, many of us never even desiring, such an outpouring of mercy, love and grace that we and all the universe will be for all eternity engaged in the process of measuring its height, depth and breadth.
God revealed his glory to Moses and it changed him. His face glowed with the reflected glory of his creator.
O God, open our eyes so that we can see your glory and the glory of your Son and so that we too may shine as a witness to your greatness.