The title I used this time is actually the title of today’s devotional as it appears in the book. Hmm…I wonder…Coincidence? I think not.
READ: Today’s passage is Exodus 33:21-34:7. This is the story of God shielding Moses from His Glory while they were on the mountain, and includes Moses cutting the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments would be inscribed.
What struck me today? Verses 21-23. Here are those verses:
God said, “Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory
passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by.
Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.”
THINK: This part of the devotional encourages us to listen for a word or phrase that especially impresses us and let it interact with our thoughts, feelings and desires. And this is where I find myself parking today.
I think about my own situation, what my family is going through, and I have often wondered where God is. This passage makes me think about it a little differently. What if God has not abandoned us? What if His Glory is passing by us and He has hidden us in the cleft of the rock and placed His Hand over the opening so we cannot see what’s going on outside? Or…what if, He has passed by, but has turned His back so we cannot look full upon His face and I am merely mistaking that for Him turning His back on us? I realize that last bit might sound a bit like mincing words, but I’m hoping you hear the spirit of the words.
PRAY: “Deeply ponder the quality of God that the word or phrase portrays. Share with Him what’s striking to you about this aspect of his character. Explore what makes you desirous of someone with this trait.”
Reading this passage, I envision a God who cares so deeply about His people that He desires to shield them from anything that might overpower them. And the Glory of God would certainly overpower me. These verses make me want to try to look at my current situation in a different light. Maybe I can’t see what He’s doing because it is too powerful to fathom. Maybe He’s shielding me from being able to see or understand because I wouldn’t comprehend anyway. Maybe I would just get in the way. But, maybe, and possibly, most likely, He just wants to develop my faith a little more, asking me to trust that while He has me hidden, or while His back is to me, I can believe that what is on the other side of Him is going to be something that is indeed good for me.
LIVE: Here we are asked to envision the ways God is present to us right now, the posture He has and what expression is on His face. We are also asked to listen to His tone of voice, if He is speaking to us. And we are challenged to ask Him to enhance, or correct, this picture of Him, through the passages we read and through our experiences.
To say that I have been seeing God through the glass darkly (not dimly, but darkly) would be an understatement. I’ve not been trying to see much of Him at all. I think that’s what made these last two weeks so powerful. Not only has He revealed Himself to me, but He has done so in such a way that He has also unveiled much of my own character for me to see myself more clearly, as well. I’ve discovered that I cannot have an accurate picture of myself without an accurate picture of my sin. And I cannot have an accurate picture of God without spending time in His Word. And when I spend time in God’s Word and get a more accurate picture of Him, my sins come into full, crystal-clear resolution, and I am left seeing that the idea that I could make it in this world on my own steam is foolishness.
So, for now, I am going to keep plugging away, spending time in the Word by reading this devotional, and sharing it with you, trusting that God will continue to meet me here. My prayer is that He will continue to crystalize my image of Him so that I can relate to Him from my proper place: worthy of dying for and unable to make it through this life without His help and provision and protection.
Thank you for answering my prayer and for meeting me right where I was, and how I was, these past two weeks. And thank You for revealing Yourself to me. Please help me not to forget about this time and how sweet it was when I return home, and give me the courage to tell others about it IN PERSON so that they, too, can see that You dearly long to show Yourself to them as well.
In Jesus’ Holy Name, I pray, Amen.