The Transforming Power of God's Goodness
In Exodus 33 we find Moses, a man who had captured the heart of God and the nation of Israel, making an interesting and life changing request to God. He says in verse 12 (AMP) “Now therefore, I pray you, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways so that I may know You [becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, recognizing and understanding Your ways more clearly] and that I may find grace and favor in Your sight….” In this passage, we have a man who clearly had already found great favor with God, yet here he is still asking for more so that he could know God more intimately.
God responds positively and announced that His presence will go with Moses and that He will give him rest. Moses then responds with another surprising request. He first makes is clear that he does not want to proceed without God’s presence. God responds that He will do all that Moses has asked, for Moses had found favor in His sight and that he was known by God personally by name. Then, Moses goes another step forward in boldness by asking God to “show him His glory.”
Many people today would have stopped with the initial request for God to show them His ways. After all, isn’t that the hearts desire of many of us today? Wasn’t this what the nation of Israel was looking for as they traveled through the wilderness and eventually into the promised land? Yet we see in this story the very key that separated Moses from the crowd and made him become a man that God knew He could share His secrets with. That key is to keep pushing into Him till you have an encounter with the glory of God!
When we initially think of the word “glory” we think of the euphoria that surrounds someone achieving something incredible. Sometimes we think of a bright, supernatural light that surrounds God and His angels. Other times, we think of it as a moment of victory. Yet doing a study on this word will actually reveal something quite different. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “the magnificence or great beauty, to take great pride or pleasure in.” Bible scholars defines it as “weight, significance, importance. It means judgement, opinion, good reputation, honor.” When referring to God it means “The sum of all things that make Him God.”
With this in mind, when Moses asked to see God’s glory, what he was really asking was to see what it was that made God who He was! What makes this request all the more powerful was how God chose to respond. “And God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion (lovingkindness) on whom I will show compassion”” (v19). Of all the character traits He could have chosen to reveal to Moses, He chose to emphasize goodness, grace, and compassion!
Yet the story does not stop there! Moses does have his encounter with the glory of God when he is standing on cleft of a rock. But something that has always caught my attention with this story is what happens when Moses comes back down the mountain. This was not Moses’ first climb up a mountain to meet with God. In fact, at his ripe old age of 80, he had already climbed the mountain on several other occasions! He received the original commandments on one of those trips and established a covenant with God on another. He clearly had spent time in the presence of God on multiple occasions before this encounter with God’s goodness, grace, and compassion. But on this occasion, when he comes down the mountain, there is something different about Moses.
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with two tablets of the Testimony in his hand, he did not know that the skin of his face was shining [with a unique radiance] because he had been speaking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to approach him” (Ex 34:29-30 AMP). Never before had the skin of Moses radiated after an encounter with God, but on this occasion, after experiencing the glory of God, the shine was so strong that he had to cover his face before anyone could approach him!
As I stated earlier in this blog, many of us long to know God more. To know Him and His ways. To fall so madly in love with Him that the issues of life have little impact on us. Yet here we see the real secret to walking in the transforming power of God. It is having an encounter with His goodness, His compassion, and His grace. We can see the miracles of God, we can experience His provision, we can study the Bible cover to cover. But none of these things will impact us like an encounter with His glory!
As I close this blog entry, I want to encourage you to not stop at the miracles, at an emotional moment in worship, or in an outreach opportunity. Be bold and ask God for more! Ask Him to see His glory! Ask Him to see His goodness in your life! Ask Him for a touch of His compassion! Ask Him for more of His empowering grace! You were not born to just live a life like the Israelites in the wilderness! You were meant for far more! You were meant to experience His glory, His goodness, His compassion, and His grace in every moment of your life!