What do you “see” when you think of God the Father? Do you have a picture of Him? Do you see Jesus or is He sort of separate? What is this Trinity-doctrine with which the theologians shape our God-concept?
Stay with me in these chapters of Exodus; in this most dramatic scene that will shape future generations in prayer.
Moses is in conversation with God. God has just told him that He would not go with them into the promised land with an uncharacteristic reproach: (33:1,3)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt…
Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
Now suddenly they are Moses’ people. How could this happen? God knows what Moses can take? He is God’s good friend remember?
So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11)
He is also all-knowing and stands outside of time. He knows what His reproach will stir in Moses and knows the plea that is about to put Moses’ life on the line.
Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” (Exodus 32:31,32)
Moses stands as a true and strong prophet. He puts himself literally between God and the people.
What a miserable mess is this consequence of their sin? God looks fierce and vindictive. He is angry and blaming.
Moses reacts without fear towards this almighty, punishing God. He pleads for the people with full knowledge of God’s holiness and anger. He even reminds God that they are not his people, but God’s people.
He pitches his tent outside the camp – a separation from sin and evil. The people have the opportunity to separate themselves from their deeds and go outside to Moses. Whenever Moses goes into the Tabernacle, the pillar of cloud, the symbol of God’s presence, descends over the door. He prays:
Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” (Exodus 33:13)
Even in the midst of great evil and sin, in God’s disappointment, His presence does not leave the camp. He is where His people are.
He is, where one heart seeks His favour and grace.
MOMENT of prayer: Show me Your way, that I may know You and find grace in Your sight.
PRINCIPLE for a life of excellence: Moses brings the people the image of the Father.
They have experienced God’s disappointment and consequences of their sin. The gold they had to drink is symbolic of the deadly effects of our sinful deeds in life.
God knows what they need to see, when He shows Himself to Moses.
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you… (Exodus 33:19)
God will reveal His goodness to you in the fullness of the moment.
His character is the answer to every prayer.
In the midst of failure and disappointment, He showed His people His goodness.
When God revealed himself to Moses, He said of Himself:
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in [unfailing] love and faithfulness, Exodus 34:6 Also translated: goodness and truth [KJV & other translations]
These words can be summarized in the Hebrew word – hessed. which includes every possible aspect of covenant loyalty. When the people asked Moses, what God looks like, he said He looks hessed. Moses saw His character! God will do all that He is and said He would do. He is the Source of goodness and truth.
Whatever He does cannot be anything else than goodness and truth.
In prayer in the Presence, God will reveal Himself to you. In Him are all the answers, all the power, all the strength you will ever need. Get to God Himself. He is truth. He cannot lie. Where He is, every promise of the Word is real.
How can we pray to enter into the Presence of the Most High and sit in the secret place of the Almighty?
MOMENT of prayer: The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18
Contrite means feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming; ashamed, remorseful, hangdog, guilt-ridden. Remorse means a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs.
PRINCIPLE for a life of excellence: This is a once off – not a continuous life of guilt; quite the opposite. Confess and carry on to victory. Confession is a step forward, not wallowing in the cauldron of poisonous culpability.
Prepare to see God in His glory so that His goodness can pass before you. You can never doubt your life lived under the full impact of His glorious love for you.
The image of the Father? “See” the father of the prodigal son waiting for you to come home and running out to meet you with outstretched arms…