Then Moses said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on earth? And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name’. Then Moses said, ‘Now show me Your glory’.” Exodus 33:15-18
Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us’. Jesus answered, ‘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.’ John 14:8-9
‘I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me; for they are Yours. All I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine. And glory has come to me through them.’ John 17:10
Welcome back, Girls! I know your days are most likely finding you very busy with sending children back to school, and/or with various work, sport and church activities. I want to take this time to applaud your effort in hanging in with this study! It is Week Twelve for Pete’s Sake! I only wish I could reach through this screen and hug your sweet necks. You are such a unique, wise, and insightful group of women and I have learned so very much from your participation in this study. I am honored you have walked this road with me. Thank you, dear friends. You’ll never know what it has meant to me to serve you these past months and hopefully for many more to come!
This week will conclude our unit of the Fame of the Lord. God’s celebrity is made manifest through our reaction to trial as well as our proclamation of Him when He has done great things for us. As the Key Verses today suggest, His abiding presence also sets us apart in His Name. So, in a spiritual kind of way, we are famous too! The only kind of recognition we should ever seek for ourselves is the kind which will point directly back to our God. Anything less sets up the same type of idolatry the Israelites were so prone to practice.
I hope you have taken the opportunity to read the Background Passages. To gain context, remember Moses has just returned from Sinai with the first copy of the Tablets of Testimony to find the Israelites worshipping a golden calf fashioned from the plunder of Egypt. God threatened annihilation of the people and offered starting over with Moses as the father of a new nation of Israel. (Exodus 32:9) Moses interceded on behalf of the rebels with an appeal based on God’s covenant obligation to preserve both His promises to the Patriarchs and His reputation among the nations. (32:14) Moses was raised in the most advanced civilization of its day who credited its success to the favor of many gods. Moses’ desire to see the God of Israel make a spectacle of this pagan kingdom was intensely personal. In Moses’ experience, the success of the Israelite nation in its deliverance would either be a credit to or slander against its God. Moses’ love for Jehovah caused him to take seriously the Third Commandment, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name.” (Exodus 20:7) This reverance for God’s name spilled over into protecting it at all costs against defamation.
Moses recognized the disobedience of Israel had placed God’s glory in jeopardy. This is not to say God is ever at any time limited in His grandeur. There is one thing God will always be and that is the One who fills the Universe with marvelous light. God’s eternal, transcending glory is never compromised. However, in a divine mystery we can scarce comprehend, human agency has been allowed to have effect on God’s fame in the mortal realm.
The Book of Job illustrates this concept beautifully. Key to understanding the afflictions of Job is realizing only one person in the three players of this drama did not know how Job would react in his suffering – Satan. God knew when he prompted Satan to consider Job’s righteousness that Job would not fail His Name. Though Job was stripped of every tangible evidence of divine blessing, he resolved to proclaim, ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him’ and again, ‘I know my redeemer lives.’ Satan is not omniscient so he could not know that with every new ruin brought fresh resolve, every pang of suffering birthed supernatural strength, and each rebuke of a friend forged a relationship with God so strong the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against it. God’s glory will not come unintentionally or without great determination. There is a great Mercy Me song called “Last One Standing“. This must be the sentiment in our heart if we are to survive this present age!
Moses’ intercession resulted in God’s relenting in the destruction He’d planned of the people. God’s threat to remove His presence from the nation is what drove Moses to ask God to ‘show His glory’. God had already told Moses He ‘knew Him by name and found favor in him’ yet Moses could not claim this same level of intimacy. Moses had seen God in the wonders, but more important to him was knowing God in the inmost, private places. Wonders would not be such if they weren’t few and far between. Many believers set themselves up for disappointment by becoming what James MacDonald calls ‘Wonders Junkies’. They are so transfixed on the huge displays of God they can’t cope during the days of small things. Something tells me Moses was ready for a few uneventful days.
Moses had seen the Wonders – now He desired God’s glory. This is defined in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary as ‘his goodness, his entire character and nature’. To say Moses’ request pleased God is an understatement. More than anything, God wants us to seek relationship over provision, intimacy over the miraculous, the intangible over the material. Would you like to know the amazing thing which happens when we do this? The former request is often coupled with the latter based on the concept of Matthew 6:33 which says ‘But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ God caused all His goodness to pass in front of Moses and covered him with His own hand and yet the sight of it was not as precious to Moses as the love of the Father who would arrange this display.
What exactly was Moses asking for when he wanted to see God’s Glory? For lack of a better parallel, Moses was asking God for what we bloggers call a MIRL (Meet In Real Life). Think about that with me for a moment. How many women do you check in on regularly? How many of you have taken your friendships to the next level by way of phone calls, gift exchanges, and the ultimate sign of trust – telling one another your kids’ real names? There comes a time there is nowhere else to go except to meet in person so what you know in part can be known fully. The same type of request was made by Philip in John 14 (see key verse above). Praise God what was once a mystery has been made known in the God man Jesus Christ. We now have a face to the Name.
Girls, I do hope you grasp your role in making Your God known. I hope you treasure the Name He has set upon you. It is the combination of both of these phenomena whereby people will be gripped with the fear of the Lord and make their decisions about eternity. Jesus prayed for you in John 17. He recognized glory would come to him through you. Let’s be the desired answer to that prayer.
Go make God famous!
1. We discussed how we are God’s fame and He is ours. Have you ever been in a situation where you are applauded for your ministry and had to fight back the idol of pride? Ever been tempted to believe your own press? It’s okay to admit it! Your testimony will help others in their resolve!
2. Did it ever occur to you in the 3-way drama of God, Job, and Satan that Satan was the only one outside the loop as far as Job’s reactions would be? Does this encourage you in resolving to make a fool of him when he attempts to use you to defame the Name?
3. Are you in a situation now where you feel you are being overcome? Better yet, are you in a situation where you should have been overcome but are not?
4. Have you failed in a Satan-designed trial? Can you recognize God intends for this failure to refine and resolve you for next time? God is not out for your destruction but your perfection!
5. Can you describe yourself as a Wonders Junkie? Found yourself in spiritual highs and lows depending on whether you perceived God was doing wondrous things or not?
6. Have you ever been like Philip and had God right in your face and not recognized Him?
7. Journal a brief prayer asking God for His Glory. Let it be the thing we all desire above all else…..
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