“So the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name’. “And he said, ‘Please, show me Your glory’ ” (Exodus 33:18).
Have you ever felt so discouraged you wish you could just see God to help bolster your faith? You believed being able to catch a glimpse of God’s glory would encourage you to keep moving onward.
I believe Moses felt this way. Following his receiving additional instructions from God about how to build the Tabernacle and how to ordain the priests in their service to lead Israel in worship (Exodus 25:1-31:18), Moses learns from God that the people are down at the bottom of the Mount Sinai worshipping a golden calf which they have made (Exodus 32:1-8).
Since the time they had left Egypt, God’s people had struggled to remain faithful to God. This had to be discouraging to Moses as he attempted to lead them. After escaping Egypt, and seeing Pharaoh’s army by the Red Sea, they had complained to Moses that it would have been better for them to have died in Egypt (Exodus 14:11-12). God delivered them by causing them to pass through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 14:13-31). Following this, Israel complained to Moses about having no water to drink (Exodus 15:24) and no food to eat (Exodus 16:2-3). Again, God provided for their needs (Exodus 15:25-27; 16:4-18). Having now left them to receive God’s commands, Moses’ own brother Aaron had fashioned them a golden calf which they were worshipping and saying, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4).
Now, God had given Moses an opportunity to be finally freed of these wayward people: “And the Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation’ ” (Exodus 32:9-10). To his credit as a godly leader, Moses responds in care and compassion seeking to honor God and asking God to turn from his fierce wrath (Exodus 32:11-12).
However, as Moses comes down from Mount Sinai and beholds what Israel had done, in his anger he breaks the tablets of stone which God had given him containing the commandments (Exodus 32:19). He grinds the golden calf into powder and makes the people of Israel drink it (Exodus 32:20). Moses then has the Levites kill those guilty of promoting this great sin of idol worship (Exodus 32:27-28). Afterward, Moses pleads with God to forgive the people of this great sin (Exodus 32:31-32).
To say the least, Moses had a rough day as leader of God’s people. He must have felt at the end of his rope. He asks God to “show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God passes before Moses, covers Moses with His hand, and allows Moses to see His back (Exodus 33:22-23; 34:1-7). God knew Moses needed some encouragement. Seeing God’s glory encouraged Moses to keep leading Israel.
Often, as we serve God we get discouraged. We often get discouraged by the world around us which often doesn’t care about God. We get discouraged with different trials we face. At times, we even get discouraged by our own brethren in Christ when they act indifferent about serving God. We all need to stop and behold the glory of God. His glory is seen in the marvelous creation all around us. Take time today to look up and see the glory of God and be encouraged and uplifted by Him!
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1-3).