Kevin DeYoung / Apr 30, 2017 / Exodus 33:1-23
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
Oh Lord, your word is more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold. It is sweeter than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb. By your statutes we are warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Keep us innocent from hidden faults. Protect us from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over us! Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. In Christ we pray, amen.
We’re continuing in our series in the book of Exodus this morning. Turn to Exodus 33; we’ll be reading through the entire chapter. Following on the heels of the catastrophe that was the sin with the golden calf, the Lord has one more surprise in store for the Israelites. It’s not a good surprise, and it will again prompt Moses to intercede and the Lord to respond.
The LORD said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.’” Therefore the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Moses said to the LORD, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
And the LORD said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 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.” Exodus 33
All throughout this long series, I’ve been saying that “Exodus is about the God who makes himself known.” God has shown himself to Moses, to Pharaoh, to the Egyptians, to the Israelites, and to the nations. He has revealed who he is and what he is like, showing that he is the God of power, of signs, of wonders, and of Israel’s deliverance. He is the God who makes himself known.
But none of this would matter to Moses and the Israelites if he would not also be the God who was there. Some of you may know that that was the title of a famous book by Francis Schaeffer (and more recently, another by D.A. Carson): “The God Who Is There.” That’s our God. He’s not absent or indifferent, which is how many people (maybe even some of us) see him: “Yes, there is a God. He’s a God who’s indifferent and far away. He cannot see and does not care.” No, our God is the God who makes himself known. That’s good news, but only if he is also the God who is there.
We see here the blessing and essential nature of God’s presence. I’ve often been critical of the prayer, “Lord, be with them.” It can be lazy shorthand—quickly listing people, and asking “Lord, just be with them.” But rightly understood, it’s not a lame prayer. In fact, it’s about the most important thing you can pray, if you have all of this understanding from the book of Exodus in your head and heart. You aren’t just saying, “Our thoughts are with you in your time of difficulty.” No, what could be more important, richer, sweeter, and better than the Lord of the universe drawing near to and being with friends, family, and loved ones in a time of need.
Think of how much your mom likes it when all her kids are back under one roof. It doesn’t matter if they all fit there, if they don’t have a place to sleep, or if they’re all on top of each other. They’re all there. All the kids have come back home and are with each other.
Think of how you feel after you’ve been away from your spouse for a time. When Trish is gone, as she was for the last couple of weeks, I’ll play that old song from the early ‘70s for my kids: “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”
Think about how you feel when you have a reunion. Think of how much fun it is for you and your best friend to head out (as some of you will this summer) on some road trip. You may not have to say anything to each other. You just drive and be with each other.
In Exodus 2, the question the Israelites had in their suffering was, “Does God see? Does he remember? Does he know?” Now the question is: “Will he be here?” The God who brought them up out of Egypt has told them that he can no longer go with them. This is how rampant idolatry ran within the camp, and how catastrophic this episode was.
We’ve already seen Moses’ response to the golden calf: he smashed the tablets, ground up the calf (and scattered it in their drinking supply), and confronted and rebuked Aaron. We’ve also seen the Lord’s response to their sin: he killed off the ringleaders, sent a plague, and warned them that more may yet be coming in the days ahead. Now, perhaps worst of all, he says: “As a result of this sin, I cannot go with you to the Promised Land.”
This was an act of judgment, but it was also an act of mercy. You see that in our text in a few different places—verse 3, for example: “…I will not go up among you…” Why? “Because you are a hard-hearted, rebellious, sinful, ‘stiff-necked people.’ If I were to be around you the whole way into Canaan, I would surely consume you in righteous anger.”
This captures the plot of the entire Bible, from the sin in the Garden of Eden, to the Promised Land, to the exile, and all the way to the consummation at the end of Revelation. How can a holy God dwell in the midst of a sinful people? This holy God says, “I can’t. I will not dwell in the midst of a sinful, rebellious people.”
Do you see how this is a new type of Fall? This is essentially Eden 2.0…except that there were other iterations, like the Flood. Maybe this is Eden 3.0 or 4.0. Anyway, we see their sad history repeating itself. Just like Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden, away from God’s presence, now the Lord says, “Because of this sin, I cannot be with you”.
But he graciously says, “I will still give you the land of Canaan. I have not forgotten my covenant with your fathers. The land flows with milk and honey,” a sentence that could be translated as “The land oozes with milk and sap.” As VeggieTales taught us, “Sounds sticky!” “I will drive the peoples out from there. I will make good on my promise. I’ll send an angel to get you there, but I cannot go with you.” In his commentary, Phil Ryken has a good line: “They were still booked for the Promised Land, but God had canceled his reservations.” That was the problem.
Look at verses 4-6 for the people’s response. It was a good response. First, “When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned…” Don’t underestimate how significant this is. If we were all honest, I’m not sure that we’d be automatically devastated. Verse 4 calls it a “disastrous word,” but we might feel like, “Eh, it’s an inconvenient word. Shoot. That’s a bummer. God did some good stuff for us. But hey, We have a great trip in front of us! We still have the Promised Land. He’s still going to drive out our enemies. We’ve got an angel! It’s just a little bump in the road, and we’re good to go! It’s not a big deal. God won’t be with us, but we still get to go on vacation!”
One of the many blessings of bringing Jon here from Hawaii to lead our worship is his pastor—a really good guy at a PCA church in Hawaii. Jason and I have gotten to know him a little bit, and after Jon came several months ago, he said, “Kevin, we’re very happy for Jon to make this move, but as we’ve given you our worship leader, I think you owe us a favor.” He’d been asking me to speak, and I couldn’t. So he said, “I’m going to call in a favor now: you need to come to Hawaii and preach.” I was like, “Okay…twist my arm.” So Jon and I get to go to Hawaii next January (because that’s when you go to Hawaii). That’s a good deal. It’s my anniversary, so I’ll go and preach once (or so), but I’ll get to go to Hawaii with Trisha.
Now imagine if, a few weeks before that trip, my wife says, “I can’t go with you.” What’s my proper response? I could say, “I have to preach,” but we’re going mainly for a getaway. So what’s the response I should give? “Oh well. Have fun with the kids. We’ll Facetime when I get there.” No, the proper response is, “If you don’t go with me, I don’t want to go anymore. I really don’t want to go…right?”
The Israelites have given a sincere, wise, and appropriate response to this disastrous word. “We’re going to the Promised Land! Okay, and the angel will come and drive out the—but God isn’t going with us!”
It reminds me of a question which I’ve heard from John Piper: “If you could have heaven, with all of your family and friends there—if you could be reunited with your loved ones; have all the food you loved, and none of the pounds; see beautiful sunsets; and have golf, beaches, mountains, fishing, or whatever you are into—but Jesus wasn’t there, is it still heaven? Would you still want to go?” The question is slightly unfair, because every good and perfect gift comes from God, and you can’t separate all of those good things from the God who gives them, but it’s still a very provocative thought. It probably cuts all of us a little bit. What are we really interested in? Do we want God, or do we just want his gifts? Would we be happy with a heaven with all of those delights, but where Jesus wasn’t there? Would we be happy to go to the Promised Land, whether God would go with us or not?
Truth be told, many of us would prefer the promises of God without the burden of a relationship with him. We’d say, “Sign me up! A relationship with God? That takes time, and he asks things of me. I don’t want a relationship, but I could get his promises? Could I get the good stuff? Could I get the blessings? Can I get into Canaan? That’s perfect.” That’s a tailor-made, American, and (it’s safe to say) human religion. Let’s give the Israelites some credit. They know this is a disastrous word, and they mourn: “We’re going to the promised Land, but you aren’t going with us?”
The second thing they do, you’ll notice, is take off their ornaments. When we see that word, we think, “I didn’t know they had Christmas trees,” but that’s not what it means. It means jewelry, or any sort of fancy adornment that they were wearing. Why did they take them off? In part, perhaps, because they were entering into a time of mourning. You don’t get all dolled up when you’re mourning.
But more than that, there was likely an association with idolatry. In Genesis 35, Jacob led his family in a covenant renewal at Bethel. In doing so, he has them give up their foreign gods and take out the rings that were in their ears. That doesn’t mean that all earrings are bad, but that there was some association with pagan idolatry. Perhaps some of the plunder from the Egyptians, instead of a cross around their neck, was a little frog goddess or a little amulet to Amon Ra.
God says, “I want you to get rid of those.” Notice the word at the end of verse 6: they “stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.” From this time forward, they’re in a period of mourning for their sins. More importantly, they have stripped themselves of their idolatrous associations. They have expressed heartfelt contrition and true repentance. That doesn’t mean that the Lord is obligated to go with them. There are still consequences for their sin. But it does mean that they’ve realized what they’ve done and who they really need.
Do you see the great irony of idolatry? They wanted a god they could see—that’s why they made the golden calf. “Here, oh Israel, are the gods that delivered you out of Egypt! You can see them! You can dance to them! You can go around them! You can touch them! You had a part in creating them!” They wanted a god who could be closer—even right in front of their own eyes. They wanted more of God on their own terms, but they’re now threatened with so much less of him. Idolatry is always the pursuit of short-term gain for the assurance of long-term loss. They thought they were smart—“We’re going to get more of God”—but they ended up with a threat of so much less than they had before.
We see an example of the loss of God’s presence in verses 7-11. This whole business about the tent of meeting may seem like an out of place explanation that interrupts the unfolding drama. After all, when we come to verse 12, we see Moses talking to the Lord again. So, why do we have this little parentheses? Just to give us a little history about the special tent that Moses went in to? No, what we see here is an important demonstration of God’s diminished presence among the Israelites.
We skipped over some important chapters in order to get to this episode. In between the covenant renewal ceremony of Exodus 24 and the golden calf in Exodus 32, we skipped all of the instructions related to the worship of YHWH; in particular, the tabernacle: what it was to look like, what it was to be made of, who was to minister there, what was to be inside, and where it was—there in the middle of the camp. God was meant to permanently dwell in the midst of the people.
Indeed, that’s what will happen later on. God’s presence will be there at the tabernacle, in the middle of the camp, with three tribes on each side. But that’s not what we have here in verses 7-11. Instead of God permanently dwelling in the midst of the people, we see a temporary tent that was outside the camp: “everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.” The people could see Moses, and so they made these expressions of honor and worship as he went in there and the cloud settled down.
The tabernacle would hold sacrifices of atonement. Priests and Levites would attend to the work there. The Ark of the Covenant would inhabit the tent, dwelling in the literal and spiritual center of the Israelites life. But what do we have here? A makeshift tent that’s not in the center, but outside the camp. It’s not permanent, but temporary. There’s only one man who can do business there, which is Moses. One Israelite is still on intimate terms with YHWH, talking with him face to face.
Don’t you love the phrase in verse 11? “…as a man speaks to his friend.” Isn’t that what we want, or should want, with God? To speak to him as a man speaks to his friend? There’s an intimate relationship that Moses still has with the Lord, but it’s in a tent outside of the camp. He’s the only one who goes in. When he leaves, his assistant—the young man, Joshua—stands there. Why was Joshua there? Most likely to guard the place. No one else could enter in there except for Moses. The Israelites were to make their way to the Promised Land, but they no longer had the presence of the one who made all the promises. The God who was here is now the God who is over there, outside the camp.
You have to understand: in Israel’s religious life, this was outside of the place of protection and the sphere of holiness. It says in Hebrews that Christ had to go outside the camp. Well, that’s where people went when they were forsaken. That’s where you had to go when you dug a hole to shovel over your excrement. Here’s the Lord, in his tent, meeting with Moses outside the camp. He’s not in the middle, where he is supposed to be.
How can a holy God dwell in the midst of sinful people? They wanted more of God, but now they had his diminished presence in their lives. Mark it very well: when you try to get God on your own terms, you don’t get more of God; you get less of him.
Now, as before, Moses will make intercession. He makes three requests. The first (verses 12-14) is, “Please be with me”. He says to the Lord, “Who is this angel? I don’t know who you’re sending. I don’t know what this means.” So he makes a petition based on what God has already said. We see that in verse 12: “Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ If that is true, then may I have this favor in your sight?”
It’s always a good idea to pray to God based on the things that he has already told us. We should come as Christians and say, “Lord, you have already told me that I have found favor in your sight for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ. You have chosen me, redeemed me, and purposed to be glorified in me.” Moses is praying as we ought to pray, based on the things that God has told him.
In these verses, he uses the language of “knowing” six times, and the language of “finding favor in your sight” five times. In verse 13, he asks, “…please show me now your ways…” This is Moses’ way of saying, “Would you be with me?” We know God by knowing his ways, his laws, his statutes, and his word. Knowing God is not a process of mystical osmosis. You don’t just sit there and let things seep into your mind. No, it is to know what God is like, what he has done, and what he commands. Moses says, “I want you to be with me. I want to know you. If I know you better, I know you are going to be with me. Tell me what you’re like. Tell me what you want and how to get there. Tell me what your statutes are. That’s what I want to know.” If you have no interest in knowing the laws of God, you have no interest in knowing God. If we’re not passionate about getting into our Bibles, it is because (among other things) we’re ultimately not that passionate about getting to know God.
In his gracious response (verse 14), God says, “I will be with you and I will give you rest. I grant your request.” It’s very possible (even likely) that Jesus had this passage in his mind when he told the disciples, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Surely Moses was weary. Surely the thought of leading with a nondescript angel to the Promised Land made him feel burdened and heavy laden. But YHWH says to him, “I hear you. My presence will go with you. When my presence is with you, that will be your rest.”
Listen, there is no real and lasting rest apart from the knowledge that God is with you. That may be why some of you are so constantly restless about your own self, your family, and your career—with who you are and how you fit in. You don’t really know that “My presence will be with you. I will be with you. I will go ahead, come alongside, and hem you in behind. Yes, Moses, I will answer your prayer and be with you.”
It’s just like with a child. There are all sorts of scary things that a child has to face, but if that he knows, “Dad and Mom will be there. I’m going to go to this new place I’ve never been to, but Mom will be with me. Dad will hold my hand across the street? Okay.” They’re still scared and unsure. It’s still hard. It doesn’t make all that go away, but they think, “Okay, I can do that. I can go somewhere that I haven’t been before if I know that they will be with me.”
“Please be with me” is the first request, but Moses wants more. We already get hints of it at the end of verse 13: “Consider too that this nation is your people.” He’s asking for himself at this point: “How do I know who’s going to go with me?” And God says, “My presence will be with you, Moses. I will give you rest.” Now he’s hinting at, “Okay, but what about the nation?”
Here’s his second request: “Please be with us!” Let’s talk about us. Notice the change in some of the language here in verse 16: “How shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people…” Moses is saying, “Okay, I’ve been so bold as to ask that you would be with me, but now I have a second request. Would you not only be with me, but with this nation?”
Have you ever noticed verse 16? This strikes me as one of those verses tucked away in the Bible that we don’t think much about, yet we could meditate on it all day. It’s absolutely staggering: “Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct”? What an amazing thing for Moses to say! What distinguished Israel from the other nations? Their land? They had none. Their pedigree? They were recently enslaved! Their obedience and righteousness? Hardly! What set them apart was not what they had, where they were from, or what they looked like, but who was with them. That’s the covenant promise: “I will be a God to you and your children after you. I will be your God, and you will be my people.”
I wonder how many of us could really say, “This is what makes us distinct. This is why we go out into the world. This is the reason we hold our heads up high. This is the reason we feel like we’re somebody”? “Is this not what makes us distinct,” Moses said, “that you are with us? That you are God, who knows us and loves us, and that we are your people?”
We all want to feel special in some way. We have one of these bright red plates. I don’t know where they were being sold or how we got it, but it says, “You are special”. Do you have some of those? It comes out on birthdays or when missionaries are visiting. We all want that. Kids want to hear that. Adults want to know that. You want know it in some way. There are some ways in which we don’t want to stand out; they’re different for all of us. But we all want to know: is there anything about me that’s really unique and special? Something that makes people sit up and notice, and the world should say, “Look, that’s amazing!”? We all want that.
Here, Moses hits upon the one thing that truly makes God’s people distinct. This is their “You are special” plate: God is with them. God, the God, is our God. “Be with me,” Moses says, “and not only that, be with us! You said we were a holy people and priesthood, but we’re none of that if you’re not with us. If you just send an angel, we’re nothing but good-looking Jebusites.” Many of us would settle for that. “We’re happy to just be good looking Hittites. Just nice, moral, decent people. God gives us a few things. He gets us where we want to go and keeps us out of trouble.” But Moses knows better. He says, “No, that doesn’t make us special at all. We’re not looking to look like anybody else. The one thing above all things that makes us different is that you’re with us. You’re our God.”
So he’s bold enough now to make a final request (verse 18): “Please show me your glory.” You might think, “Well, Moses has seen plenty of the Lord’s glory.” And he has! From the staff, to the snake, to the Red Sea, to the plagues, to the burning bush, he has seen more glory than anybody else, but he wants a fuller picture. He wants face-to-face glory. He wants as much as he can handle. He wants more than a lightning bolt or another cloud. He wants to see God like he talks to God: face-to-face.
Of course, he cannot get a full-on sight of God in his glory. You may be able to see and feel the rays of the sun—you may be able to stare intently at the shadow cast by the sun—but it’s not a good idea to share directly at that bright sun for as long as you can. It will do damage to you. You know the sun. You feel the sun. You are illuminated by the sun. You can’t quite stare at the sun. So it is with God and with his glory.
So God says, “I’ll let my backside pass by.” We don’t know exactly what this means. He may simply be using a figure of speech, saying, “You won’t see my face.” Elsewhere in Scripture, backside is used to mean “the opposite” as in, “not my face”. For instance, in Jeremiah 18:17, God says he will show them his back and not his face on the day of their disaster. It was a means of a kind of judgment. “You don’t get to see my face. You get to see my back.”
In this case, though, it probably means that Moses didn’t see anything physical. It’s not like he saw a giant man with a broad back go by. It means, “No, you can’t see me face-to-face, but I’ll hide you in the cleft of the rock, and something of my glory will be evident to you.”
What does Moses see? Well, we’ll get to this in Exodus 34 (next week), but Moses sees by hearing. That is how it usually is. Sight comes through the ears. The Lord shows his goodness by speaking two things. It isn’t as much that he’s in the cleft of the rock, peeking out at a giant walking by, but he sees by what he hears. Notice what God says in verse 19: “I will proclaim before you my name, YHWH.” To say the divine name in his presence is to give something of the backside of his glory.
Then there’s a declaration of his character in verse 19. “And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” The God who makes himself known, the God who is there, is fundamentally a God of sovereign grace. Paul, you may know, quotes verse 19 in Romans 9—the famous (and, to some of us, infamous) chapter where he’s arguing about the rightness of election—that God would choose Jacob and not Esau; that God would choose those who would believe and be saved, and harden others. In the midst of this argument, he says, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’”
We may think, “Well, Paul, that isn’t a very good argument. We’re dealing with a really difficult issue about election, predestination, and reprobation, and you just go and quote from Exodus 33?” It seems like God is unjust. Paul is answering this question about the injustice of God by reasserting what it means for God to be God. He says, “No, that doesn’t make God unfair. What it makes God is God. It means that he is not you and you are not him, but God is God.” God’s glory, goodness, and character are disclosed in that statement.
We’ll get a second, related statement in Exodus 34, which also talks about God’s lovingkindness and grace. But here, where Moses wants to see his glory, God says, “Well, you can’t see it, but you’ll get some of the afterburner of my glory.” And what does he do? He says his name, and he makes a declaration of his sovereign grace. “You want to know my glory? Let me tell you about my freedom and mercy.”
That’s why these issues are important. It’s not simply Reformed or one of the points of Calvinism, which some of us grew up with and love and some of us think very strange or even offensive. It confronts Moses, just as Paul will later confront his own readers, with our human instincts, which are to make God more like us, rather than to let God be God. God’s sovereignty—his free decision to show undeserved mercy to whom he will—is not merely a reformed doctrine. It’s not a minor point. It’s essential for describing and defining what it means for God to be God. The freedom of God to dispense mercy to whomever he pleases, apart from any constraint outside of his own will, is the essence of what it means for God to be God.
Notice that it comes on the heels of declaring his name. This is what it means to be YHWH! For God to be God, he must be merciful and sovereign. Both of those teach us something indispensable about God: namely, that he is gracious, and his grace is absolutely free. That’s the glory and goodness.
Some of us struggle and think, “How can God really be good?” But isn’t that what the Lord said in Exodus 33? “I will cause my goodness…” Have you connected God’s goodness with Paul’s doctrine of sovereignty and election before? In God’s mind, “I’m telling you how good I am, because I show mercy according to my own freedom and after the council of my own will. Were it some other way, these undeserving people would not know mercy and grace.” This God of glory, goodness, and grace would now go with Moses and be with this sinful people, though they did not deserve it. He will show mercy on whom he will show mercy.
Do you see how this is the heart of the gospel? Immanuel, God with us, is not any old God. You have an amazingly transcendent, sovereign God with you. There’s nothing amazing about a little God going with you. It’s nice to have a friend on the way. But that’s not what I’m saying. We can understand how there might be some amazing, transcendent God of the universe way up there and out there, but the great mystery, majesty, and good news of the Christian faith is that this sovereignly graceful God draws near to be with us sinful people.
The news gets even better, because some people did see him face-to-face. For a time, he made his tabernacle and dwelt among us, and he will come back: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” YHWH said to Moses, “You cannot see me. I’ll hide you in the cleft of the rock, and you’ll just get the afterburner of my glory. One day, though, I’ll dwell in the midst of these sinful people, and you’ll be able to look face-to-face upon of all of my goodness and glory in the person of my Son.
Jesus said in John 11:40, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” John 14:8: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” That’s a good question. It sounds like a reasonable request. But Jesus said to him. “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus said he was going to go and prepare a place. He was leaving, so Philip said, “Okay, you’re leaving. Let us just see the Father and we’ll be okay.” Jesus says, “You don’t get it Philip. Look at me. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. If you know me, you know the glory of God.”
What you need as a church, in the months and years ahead, more than you even need a senior pastor, is what has already been promised: that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will be with you, and will never leave you or forsake you. You need to know the God who makes himself known. He is the God of sovereign grace, and you need to know that he is right here with you. He can bring you all the way to the Promised Land. He will be your God as we are his people.
Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we want to see your glory—the glory as of the only begotten Son, full of grace and truth. How amazing it is that we have seen more of your glory than Moses, with all that he saw! We know more of your goodness and more of your glory because we know Christ. We know you as the one who is free, and who (in freedom) loves to show mercy. We praise you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Transcription and editing provided by 10:17 Transcription
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.