“Please show me your glory!”

By Elizabeth Prata

Moses pleaded with God for Him to show His glory to Moses. What does this tell us about Moses? What does this tell us about us? But first, the passage in context: Exodus 33:17-23,

The LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.” 18Then Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory!” 19And 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 to whom I will show compassion.” 20He further said, “You cannot see My face, for mankind shall not see Me and live!” 21Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22and 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. 23Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

Moses had communed with God already on the Mount. He’d heard His voice. He had seen the burning bush, a manifestation of God’s power and sovereignty over creation. He’d been given the privilege of learning God’s own name from God’s own lips. He’d been told he had favor with God.

So why ask to see His glory? Is Moses being pushy? Selfish?

What’s happening here is that God had told Moses that he would continue leading the people to Canaan…BUT that God would not be with them. Moses then makes 3 pleas:

In verses 12–14 he asked for something for himself as the mediator;
in verses 15–17 he asked for something for Israel as the people of God;
in verses 18–23 he asked for something for himself as a man who wanted to know God.
Source- Ryken, P. G., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Exodus: saved for God’s glory.

Moses have been as close to God as any man till then and almost till now. But Moses wanted to know God MORE. The more we get to know God, the more we should want to know Him more. He should be our cornerstone of life.

“What Is the Glory of God?”
The glory of God is the holiness of God put on display. That is, it is the infinite worth of God made manifest.” ~John Piper at Ligonier.org

Moses knew he could not successfully lead that fractious group of stiff-necked people to the Land. He needed God. Moses had spent decades in Egypt trying to do things his way. It didn’t work. He needed God.

More than that, he wanted God. He desired a close relationship with Him, to be in constant communication. To see God’s glory is to be reminded of his own station (lowly) and God’s station (Holy and perfect). Who wouldn’t WANT someone like that in your life? And God wasn’t just anyone, He is THE Someone.

What this shows us is that the more you are with God, the more you want Him. Our Bible reading and prayer life should motivate us to want to know more and more of Him. Have you ever been so overwhelmed with the majesty and wonder of God that you just cry out, MORE!?

Matthew Henry said of Moses,

He had enjoyed as intimate a communion with God as ever any man had on this side heaven; and yet he is still desiring a further acquaintance.

Do we?

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