Friday, May 18, 2018

The Awesome Glory

"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD" (Exodus 34:29).

When Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, the mountain was covered by God’s presence in the form of His glory cloud. When he ascended the mountain, Moses was swallowed up in this cloud. The people waited below for 40 days, growing apprehensive because God had been angry with them over the golden calf incident, and fearful lest God destroy Moses.

Meanwhile, Moses was talking with God on the mountain. Before he had gone up, Moses had made a bold request of God, “Now show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God had replied something like, “Moses, you know that’s impossible. No man can see Me and live. But I will put you in the cleft of a rock and cover you with My hand. When I remove My hand, you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.”

So, Moses got a glance at the refracted glory of the back of God. And what happened? When he came down from the mountain and the people saw him approaching in the distance, they rushed forward to greet him. Then suddenly they shrank back in fear, and cried out “Moses, cover your face!” They were afraid to look at him because the glory streaming from his face was blinding to them—glory shining from the face of a sinner who had seen the merest shadow of God’s glory for one instant!

What was this glory? Notice that when God passed by Moses He pronounced these words: “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). God’s glory is not just overpowering, it is also holy.

Today and this weekend reflect on the spiritual fervor which often follows a “mountaintop” experience or the spiritual vitality of a young Christian. What causes such an intensity to fade? What can believers do to maintain the excitement of their “first love”? Ask God to grant you a fresh view of His glory and then take steps to reignite your spiritual passion.