What Moses Really Wanted from God

March 28, 2016 at 11:27 am | Posted in Exodus | 1 Comment
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In instructing Moses to proceed into Canaan, the Lord said that He would withdraw His presence further from them, and that He would assign an angel to lead them and fight for them, because they were stiffnecked.

And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.

Exodus 33:2-3

God expressed concern that He might be forced to destroy them when they disobeyed again. The people did not like this. In their repentance they wanted God near them. The Lord arranged for a new meeting place with Moses – a tabernacle outside of the camp.

And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.

Exodus 33:7-10

Here Moses continued to intercede for a full restoration of God’s presence with the people, to which God ultimately agreed.

For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

Exodus 33:16-17

This favorable response from God emboldened Moses to ask for “the big one:”

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Exodus 33:18-23

Moses did not want fame, comfort, security, or even health. What he longed for was more revelation of God – a greater understanding of God. This came from spending time with God in whatever ways God had allowed already. It came from unquestioning obedience to God, and a love for others, in the sense of wanting to bring them into fellowship with God. May we want God Himself and not just what He provides, and may our evangelism be motivated by unselfish love. May our motivation for evangelism be centered on trying to get people to God for His glory and their good.

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  1. […] 55. The Great Peradventure (Exodus 32:26-30) 56. God’s Unassisted Bookkeeping (Exodus 32:31-35) 57. What Moses Really Wanted from God (Exodus 33) 58. Catechism Question 13 (Exodus 33:20) 59. The Relief and Terror of God’s Presence […]


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