In Part 1 of Asking from a Place of Intimacy, we saw two bold requests Moses made of God in Exodus 33:12-17, and how God granted those requests. Here, we will see Moses ask for something really outrageous. We read in Exodus 33:18-23,
Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
Moses asked to see God’s glory! No person had ever asked for that before in part because people getting that close to God expected to die from the experience. Yet Moses was at the place of intimacy with God that he wanted to go deeper than he had gone before, and his request, if granted, would take him to that depth.
Surprisingly, God says “Yes” to Moses, but limits the amount of glory that Moses can see, so that Moses will not die.
While God told Moses in the previous passage what He would do, it is in Exodus 34:4-10 that we read about God fulfilling the promises that he made to Moses. Here, Moses is going up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments (again).
So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 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.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. (ESV)
After having this amazing experience of seeing the glory of God, Moses naturally took time to worship God. But then he made even another request of God – again focused on God’s presence with him and the nation. And yet again God says “Yes!” His “Yes” here is a promise of doing such awesome miracles and wonders that everyone will be astonished.
You have not because you ask not
How many of us would like to see the glory of God?! How many saints throughout the years would have liked to have seen the glory of God? Do you think God would have showed Moses his glory if Moses didn’t ask? I don’t think so! And how different would Moses’ life have been if he didn’t ask?
In James 4:2-3, we are reminded that we don’t have what we truly desire because we have not asked God for it – or that in some cases, we have not had pure motives in asking, and so God said “No”. But what we have consistently observed in Exodus 33 is that God wants to say “Yes” to requests that help us grow in knowing and loving God better, and in reflecting God so that others can know him, too.
From the two articles on intimacy with God based on Exodus 33 and 34, we have gained some value insights to always carry with us.
1) Some things we ask of God only get answered when we ask from a place of intimacy, which comes from consistently spending time with the Lord.
2) There are some things that God will gladly give to us, but we have to ask for them.
3) Asking needs to come from a heart that is focused on knowing God and helping others know God, rather than one that wants to profit in some way from God moving.
Let us keep seeking God and growing closer to Him every day!