Category: bless the Lord

Freed to Follow – an exodus Journey Week 9


Week 9

• As Moses comes down from the mountain and his extended time with the Lord, receiving all the stipulations of this new covenant that the Lord had made and the people had agreed to, he is as angry as the Lord is as he sights the idol worshippers engaging in their “play” before the altar and the golden calf. Moses takes those God-carved stoned tablets and throws them at the idol and then exacts the Lord’s judgement on this sin.

• Moses never denies the sin and its consequences, and yet he shows his character by seeking to intercede for these wayward people before the Lord. In Exod 32:30-35, Moses says, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin”. Moses goes even so far as to offer his own life in their place when he says that if the Lord can not forgive this great sin, then the Lord should erase Moses’ name from the book of life! Surely here we see Moses as a precursor to Jesus Christ who would not only make atonement for Israel’s sin, but all sin of all time by the losing of his own life in humanity’s place.

• In Exod 33:1ff the Lord then commands the people to get moving toward the land he promised them. This is the beginning of the next stage of this long journey.

• Then we get this extraordinary description of how Moses and the Lord would “meet” in this “tent of meeting” and how Moses would then meet with the people in his amazing role of prophet, priest and king in this community. (read 33:7-11).

• Whenever Moses was seen heading out to the tent (some way out of the camp), people would rise and stand at the entrance to their own tent. When Moses went into the tent and the glory cloud then descended on the tent (and Moses). Those needing to seek the Lord/Moses on an issue would approach the tent. Somehow their need was communicated to Moses (and Joshua, his aid) and Moses would then speak the word of the Lord on the issue to people…. What a change from the lack of respect for the Lord and Aaron when the golden calf episode was in full swing!

• The we get this beautiful line, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend”. What a description of intimacy and trust between a holy God and a flawed human being!

• This theme of trust and intimacy is then filled out a little more as we get this very unique description of a conversation between “friends” and the granting of a life-long goal – Moses asks to “see/experience the glory of the Lord…..

WEEK 9 Exodus 33:12-23 (TNIV)

Moses and the glory of the Lord ( numbers relate to THOUGHTS – the bullet points below)

1 2 3 12 Moses said to the LORD 4, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favour with me.’ 5 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 6

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 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?” 7

17 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.” 8

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 9 10

19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 11

21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” 12


1. This whole chapter is really about the continued presence of the Lord with his sinful people. They have been created as a nation, called as a nation, and given a treaty or covenant where the Lord commits himself to them, and they have “fallen”. This is kind a repeat of creation and fall in Genesis 1-3.

2. After this great sin against the Lord, and the ensuing judgement on it, will the Lord still be present with his people? That’s the question being tackled here.

3. God has said that he will not go with his people directly now. He will send his angel ahead, and now here, his “Presence” with them. The reason God himself will not go with them is because the Lord may “consume” or “exterminate” them as they keep on sinning against him! (see 33:5 and 34:14)

4. Since the Lord and Moses speak to each other as close friends, Moses now has this very close conversation, almost as an equal to the Lord) about his continued presence with them. Moses seems to be looking for some co-leaders to get to the promised and then to take it by force. He seems to be thinking ahead and counting the cost of what lies ahead. He will need 2IC’s to do fulfil his calling.

5. Again, Moses speaks to the Lord as a trusted friend would. He seems to be keeping the Lord accountable to his previous promises and actions in creating this nation and promising this land and future.

6. The Lord responds with grace and reassurance. he will be present in the journey ahead.

7. Moses presses the point and seems to be looking for more assurance as he speaks the truth; If the Lord does no go with them all is lost – for three reasons – If the Lord does not stay present then Moses will have no authority to lead, the people we will have no authority to fulfil their calling to be his holy nation of priests bringing blessing the all nations and Israel will be no more – just like every other nation.

8. What a response from the Lord. He will stay present on the journey. He will stay with this wayward people because Moses is faithful and his close friend whom “the Lord knows by name”. The Lord gave this man Moses his own personal name (YAHWEH) way back when this all started and now the Lord knows Moses’ name. This is a witness to the intimacy and trust that can exist between a human being and a holy God.

9. Moses asks a his friend (the Lord) to give him an experience of trust and intimacy like never before! He asks to Lord to “show him his glory”. Moses has been in this glory cloud environment and yet in the mist he cannot see. God clouds himself to protect the human being from seeing and experiencing what would be too much to handle. The Lord’s full presence where there is no cloud or barrier is too much for sinful humanity. But Moses trusts the Lord as a friend and seeks a deeper friendship and sharing of trust.

10. Amazingly, the Lord again says, Yes”; and maybe with a joy! The Lord after all has demonstrated by all that he has done from creation to exodus that he delights in human beings and wants to be live with them at close range.

11. This sin reality of a human being still means that the relationship between the Lord and his creation cannot be full – even for Moses.

12. It would be too much even for this friend of the Lord. Moses, to see God fully. So in another act of kindness for his friend, the Lord sets up this incredible experience in a mitigated/limited way – not out of holding back but from the goal of continuing the relationship of trust and intimacy they share. The Lord has to protect Moses so he does not get overwhelmed.


1. With the Lord’s show of continued presence and promise we are set again for a renewal of the Covenant which had been given and broken at Mt Sinai. This happens in Chapter 34….. This journey will continue and God’s faithfulness to his promises will keep this people being a people who can fulfil their calling.

2. As Moses said, if the Lord withdrew his presence from him or the people, all would be lost. Same with us. However, as Moses also said, if the Lord stays with us in grace and mercy and power, then we have authority to live out our calling and our vocations and be the holy/set apart for a special purpose people – a people to bring God’s life and blessing in Jesus Christ to everyone we know.

3. What about this intercession of Moses? What a picture this is to inspire us to pray – to pray to the Lord of the universe, who just happens to be for us a heavenly Father who loves us and knows our name! At our baptism he gave us his name (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and he received us and our name. We are friends! We need to believe this and act like this in our praying life.

4. Moses gives us a vision of prayer not as a duty or a impersonal thing but a conversation between friends where we can ask for anything and speak about anything – our own fears, needs, hopes and trust the Lord’s listening ears. Jesus of course takes it up a notch when he spends all night in prayer with his Father and gives us his own prayer to pray with him and for each other – the Lord’s Prayer.

5. This is a vision of what is possible between you and the Lord Jesus and your heavenly Father. Moses had to take risks and ask. he had to go into that tent and talk. He had to decide to do that. So do we. We can seek this kind of intimacy withy our heavenly Father who allows us flawed people to even call him “Abba” or “Papa” (see Romans 8:15).


Easter Day 2010 Ocean Forest after viewing media clip, “Alive” Alive! John 20 How do you know? Do you know? Can you believe? Can you trust? Can you bear witness today? Like the people we have just seen, each of us has our story. We have a beginning. We are living a childhood, a teenage season, an adult life. We are involved in looking to our future. Are we restless about our world? Restless about the world and its future, with all its issues of global warming, climate change, degradation and the fear these new realities bring? Are we restless about people: with all their terrorism, tribal and religious division, political imbalance of power, cultural and language difference, poverty, propensity to fight on a national scale and in the living room at home; our propensity for violence and racism and hatred we hear in the news? Are we restless about our relationships: will my partner and I make it? Will I ever find a soul mate? Will I do a good job of parenting? Will I enjoy my life with others around me? Will my life count and will I be surrounded by a loving family and community at the end? Are we restless about ourselves: Is my life going to count with God? Am I going to make a contribution for the world and for my local community? Can I rise above the petty issues of others and find a vision for my work and my family that brings out the best in the people around me and is immensely satisfying and fulfilling? On this Easter Day, are we wild and feeling out of control? Are we addicted? Are we feeling lost and alone most of the time? Does is feel empty on the inside these days? Have I got a big mask, or several masks on to hide the real me for fear of being seen and misunderstood or hurt? These are the real things we face. It is just that we can’t or won’t tell anyone – including God. Maybe we have tried. Maybe we feel it was not worth it and have decided to leave it alone and get on with all of the above. Enter Easter. Enter the crucified, dead and buried man of sorrow now striding out of the tomb and leading us out of our restlessness and worry in one decisive move! The apostles bear witness to the reality that he did what no other human being could do. He beat down evil and death. He even beat down out fatally flawed human condition of brokenness and sin. He took the consequences of all this evil within and around us. He drained the cup of human aggression, violence, deceit and pain to its end. He sucked up the just judgement of a holy God on these things in his own godly body. No one else could do it. No one else had the bare love and courage to do this love for people who did not understand it, value it or want it. Though no one understands, he still loves. “Father, forgive them”, the Crucified God says to those crucifying him. Has there been a greater, deeper, more courageous and complete love? “Greater love has no one than to lay down his own life for his friends” says the crucified One. What about laying down you own life for your enemies? How deep the Saviour’s love for us, rich beyond all human measure! Friends the time for fear of God and avoidance of his call is past. Perfect love in this triumphant divine man drives out all of our worries and fears on this Day of all days. God’s fair and righteous judgement on all that is unclean, unholy and unhealthy is passed. Because of this Easter Jesus, the war between us is over. God is no longer a lawgiver and keeper. He never really was, but in our limited understanding and self-centred view, that is how we saw him. He has thrown caution to the wind and run down the driveway to embrace us in our pain and self-righteousness. A billion people over thousands of years have experienced his rampant grace and love and still are. Like the people in the media scene, we have a date…or maybe several dates of encounter with the Divine Love. The date to call upon is the date of baptism, where all that he accomplished and fulfilled for us was handed to us as pure gift. Ever since we have had ongoing markers of renewal, moments of experience of his love, glimpses of his peace which is beyond all human peace. No troubles today – just for a day – just the deep joy of being in the love of God and the power of his resurrection. His resurrection power is still here and he is still with. My future is not known or predictable. With this resurrected Saviour and guide, my life can be extraordinary and of huge value to him and his mission to draw all things into his grace. Let him crack the exterior today. Let him see behind the masks and rest in him. It’s Easter. It’s a day for resting in the peace of the Messiah and celebrating our life together in him. It’s a day to give him all the glory and praise for all that he has accomplished and all that he is still to do with us and through us. We have seen the Lord. We have heard him speak this Easter. We will hear him again as we live in his resurrection power and his unending love and grace. Bless the Lord, my soul and praise his holy name! Amen