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 the face of the earth?’ And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the every 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)
This was the conversation that happened while Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert; after fleeing Egypt, after the 10 Commandments were given, after the golden calf incident. Moses by then was old and had seen so much. His experiences were like none before or after him. He’d heard God. He witnessed God’s judgement on Egypt. He experienced God’s miracles time and time again delivering his people. If there was anyone that ever had a right to say, “You know what? I’ve got a lot under my belt. I think it’s time I retire. I know quite a bit about God. I’ve served him in some big ways. It’s my time. I need some relaxation.” Seriously, after a week of work how many of us are already like that?
Moses had every right to be complacent. He had every reason to believe that he had reached his peak in life and live like it was all downhill from there. But as we know, he didn’t. In fact, he still had a whole nation of people to lead to the promised land. The goal had still not been accomplished. He did not rest. He maintained his obedience even though the people he was praying on behalf of were not obeying. He had every excuse to be done.
But go back up and read what he asks for again. He asks for more of God. He doesn’t ask for God to take him out of the trouble. He doesn’t ask for God to replace him with someone else. He doesn’t even ask for a break. He asks for God. He asks for His presence in order that can stand apart from all other peoples. In essence, he asks for God to give him all that He has to give….which is Himself.
I love this scripture because one of my biggest battles I have is against complacency. Not because I think I’ve experienced enough or know enough about God to consider myself good, but because I know that I haven’t even touched the surface. I find it hard sometimes to keep my head above the mirk of everyday life. It’s hard not to grow stagnant when busy with the every day routines, schedules, and obligations. I make it a deliberate part of my prayer time to ask God to help me be “set apart” and the only way that I know this is possible is for Him to be with me. To be aware of His presence. To feel His hand on my back as I go throughout the day. I want all that He wants to give me of Himself. I want to know as much of Him as my feeble brain can humanly possibly wrap around.
It’s never enough. I never want to be in a place where I am satisfied with my life in His service. I never want to hang my hat up, change into my Mr. Rogers shoes and say “Well, I’ve done enough. I know enough. I deserve some down time.” At least while I walk this earth. I’m not making a point against rest. God commanded us to, but what I’m talking about is complacent satisfaction that I have all the amount of God that I need.
God answered Moses’ request. So much that Moses’ face radiated from being just in the mere presence of God has He moved passed Him. As He passed Moses, He proclaimed His name, who He was to Moses. “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34: 6-7)
It’s not enough that we go to church, serve in ministry or two, and be nice to people. There are a lot of people who do that already and know nothing about God. It’s scary to think that they may truly believe they are in the good for being good. What separates us as God’s people except for walking in the presence of God? We obey Him to show we love Him, but that isn’t even possible without first and foremost knowing WHO He is! We only get that by spending time for and with only Him, in prayer and in His Word. The more we know Him, the more we want to know more of Him. It is my hope that anyone who may read this will want to begin to know and to have a better understanding and experience God in ways they never have known before. It’s my desire that more people being to crave the God who we claim to believe in.
God, show us your glory!