18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
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.”
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.” Exodus 33:18-23
Moses wanted to see the Glory of God.
Or did he?
Perhaps he merely wanted to know what it was like to see it and be the only human who had ever seen it. Why did he want to see God’s glory? Would it have helped him spiritually? Would it have made him believe the Lord more? What was Moses’ purpose in this request?
We’ll never know of course, but Moses’ request has been echoed down through the centuries. Men and women of God have had that same desire, but again I have to question their motives. Why did they want to see His glory and what set them apart from normal everyday Christians? Is it conceit or wanting to have an experience no one else has ever had?
The Lord’s response is telling, isn’t it? “Hide inside that rock and I’ll pass by. Then you can see me after I’ve passed.”
He knew what showing His face would entail, and how that centuries later people would be making sketches of what the Lord really looked like. But more importantly, Moses and those who have sought to see the glory of God knew that they couldn’t handle to see the majesty and glory of God without proper protection. He has sheltered Himself for their sake.
We’re not privileged to get a “special” blessing because we ask for it. God’s presence every day is enough – more than enough – for us.
Look as a “typical” sunrise or sunset. No two are alike.
The God who created those sunrises and sunsets is here to meet with us each day. Sunrises and sunsets are merely His creation. That same God will reveal bits and pieces of His glory only when we’re ready for them, if ever at all.
Until then, we need to be content with who He is every day.