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Glory of God

(Part 1)



Moses desired to know God's "ways"; God showed him His glory.

"The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment...

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel" (Psalm 103:7).



 The Glory of God – Revealed

We often use the phrase, “To the glory of God“; but do we really know what it means? We want to do all things ”to the glory of God.”  We sing "To God Be the Glory."  What does that mean? Is it a beautiful edifice built to honor God for His people to worship?  Is it the glorious strains from the organ and the harmonious choir?  Is it the cloud that enshrouded the mountain and the fire that was displayed at Mt. Sinai in Israel’s presence?

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:17-18).

He wants us to know “the riches of His glory”;  it is “knowable.” 

 Moses desired to know God's glory.  He saw the momentous task he had been given to lead a multitude of people to the Promise Land and knew that he was inadequate.  He petitioned God "...If I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee..." (Exodus 33:3).  Notice he wasn't yet asking to know the way to "go" but that I may “know thee, know thy way."  He needed to "know" God first, and then he could follow Him.  "...If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence."  (Exodus 33:15).  Moses would have preferred to stay in whatever comfort zone he could find in the wilderness over proceeding without God's presence.  His greatest desire was to know God, that the people he was leading would know Him and follow Him.

Moses had enough of a glimpse of the glory of God to know that there was more, much more and wanted to know the rest of the story.  The desire to know God is in each of us, though our flesh fights against deeper knowledge.  To know "self” is the cry of our flesh.  Many cults preach that God is within us - our flesh and our abilities - and we need to get in touch with out inner selves; that to get in touch with our inner selves and our inner light is to know God.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  A "self-god" is no more than that--self, with all of the limitations and frailties of the flesh.

Moses knew this and wanted to know the truth.  He wanted to know God--the true God, to see His glory.  God told Moses that He would answer his prayer and go with them, but Moses still was not satisfied.  God even told him "I know thee by name" (Exodus 33: 17).  Maybe this was alarming to Moses; if God knew him "by name" then He would know how inadequate he was for the awesome task of leading these people.  If God knew him by name, Moses wanted to know God in the same way.

Moses' request should be on the heart of every Christian:  "And he said, 'I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.' "  The problem for us seems to be how to recognize the glory of God, to know the God of the glory.  To know God and be shown His glory is a worthy goal.

God honored Moses' request, but He had to limit the answer to Moses' human ability to receive it.  God said, "Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live." (Exodus 33:20).  Moses was unable to see the full impact of the glory of God which was evident in the "face" of God, but God put Moses in a cleft of the rock, covered his face with His hand until He passed by and allowed Moses to see His "back part.”   So Moses was able to see God's glory veiled.

God must have given Abraham a peek into His glory.  He pulled up stakes and headed for an unknown destination "in search of a city" and he never looked back.  This is what every Christian needs to see--the Glory of God--so there would be greater commitment to keep the faith and head toward that “city” without a backward glance.  It would delight God to show us His glory.

The golden calf crisis had humbled Moses to realize his inability to be the leader that was needed to guide this rebellious people.  Even with his experience in the mount when God came and with his own finger wrote on tablets of stone His Law for the people, Moses knew he needed something more to continue with the job he had been given, and said to God, "...Lord, See, thou sayest unto me. ‘Bring up this people:’ and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said,’ I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight‘ " (Exodus 34:12). God's response was: "... I will do this thing also that thou has spoken..." (Exodus 33:17) and let His glory pass by Moses as he requested. Jesus said, "Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).  As awesome as it may seem, God wants us to see His glory.  He desires to give us the kingdom.  He just wants us to desire that more than anything else in life, like Moses did.

God told Moses, "...1 will put thee in a cleft of the rock and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:  And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen.  And the Lord passed by before him. and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty..." (Exodus 33:21-23  34:6-7)

The revelation of God's glory prompted Moses to repent for Israel and "worship" (Exodus 34.9).  He would spend the rest of his life leading Israel toward the Promise Land. That veiled view provided Moses with the motivation to follow God to Sinai into God's presence again to receive the stone tablets on which were written the Law that he had broken in his anger toward the idolatrous people; the Law that would guide Israel and become a basis for laws made by man for the rest of the world's history.

What did Moses view that filled him with such commitment that would consume him to fulfill the task and fill his very existence with motivation to follow God wherever he would be led?  Moses received an audio-visual answer to his petition to see God's glory.  It revealed God’s attributes (Exodus 33:6-7).  The "simplicity" of God's response to Moses' request can easily be overlooked.  We look for thunder, blinding light and quaking earth to be the glory of God.  Those things are only window dressing for the revelation of God's nature/glory.

This is what Moses saw as God passed by--




-Abundance in goodness and truth-

-Keeping mercy for thousands-

-Forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin-

-By no means clearing the guilty-

When all God's goodness passed before him, what Moses saw caused him to worship the God who had shown him all these attributes.  This seems to be the first account of Moses actually worshipping God.  He "made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped."  (Exodus 33:19, 34:8).

Even though he had communed with God, especially in behalf of the people he was leading, this revelation of the glory of God stirred something in him that was different.  He was not just communicating with God for his charges, but he was personally worshipping this God who was leading him.  It seems at this point, he really "knew" God.  He was overwhelmed by the glory of God.

He also saw Israel’s iniquity and rebellion and the judgment it would bring upon them; but more than that, he saw a God that was so full of love for His people that He would do all to save them.  God began this revelation by "proclaiming the name of the Lord" (Exodus 34:6).  Throughout the Bible God revealed His "names" which expressed the attributes that Moses saw that day.  The powerful name of the Lord would redeem mankind from the awful tragedy of the results of sin.  Then He proceeded to reveal all the glory that would follow those who knew His name.  The love God exposed to Moses would produce all the glory that was revealed through the attributes.  God has always been revealing His glory since creation by His acts and in His Word to those who seek to know Him.  It just had not been understood; and Moses seems to be the first person who sought to know the glory of God in its fullness.

Having experienced and seen firsthand the awesome glory of God, Moses knew that God would forgive His erring people if they repented.  The Bible speaks of God “repenting” or changing His mind about judgment when Israel repented (example:  Joel 2:14).  We must not equate that expression with the way we look at “repentance.”  God will never change His mind about sin; He will never overlook it to any extent.  A more correct understanding of God’s “repentance” comes from His glory.  God operates in the “judgment-characteristic” of His glory (not sparing the guilty) when sin is present.

When we come to Him with a repentant heart, God steps over into His glory where mercy is and dispenses grace and restoration.  So it isn’t a matter of God “repenting” as we think of it; He is just operating in another facet of His glory.  If judgment against sin were not part of His glory, sin would be so rampant, we would self-destruct.  If longsuffering, mercy and grace were not characteristics of His glory, there would be no hope for the sinner.  God would have to fulfill the part of His glory that “by no means spares the guilty.”  He is wholly just; He is wholly merciful and gracious; all part of His glory.  God’s glory embraces the grace that came to us through Jesus Christ.  When we view saving grace through Him, we are seeing the glory in its fullness.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…” (2 Timothy 3:16).  Surely, the hunger in the heart of Moses was God-inspired that he be shown the glory of God so God could preserve the answer in His Word for our benefit as well!



Points to Ponder

*  Moses had a relationship with God as no other.  God got his attention at the burning bush on the back side of the desert and brought him back to Pharaoh’s court to lead the slaves out of Egypt to the Promise Land

*  God called Moses into the mountain and revealed to him His Heart for Israel and His glory.  He gave Moses guidelines for living in that glory—the Ten Commandments.

*  God honored the heart-desire of Moses by allowing him to see the “backside” of His glory.

*  Moses was so moved and humbled by his experience that he repented for Israel’s sins.  The awesome presence of God created such a relationship with Moses that he spent the rest of his life in that glory.

*  Is it any wonder that Moses was overwhelmed when he saw the glory of God?  Yes, a cloud covered Mt. Sinai and a devouring fire, there was thunder, lightning, blasting trumpet, but that was only the herald trumpet to draw attention to the real “Glory of God.

*  God’s ways are transcendent, as high above us as the heaven is the earth.  If we were able to comprehend Him, He would not be God.  Though transcendent, God graciously passed by Moses and unveiled Jesus prophetically in His glory.  Later when Moses erected the Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle in the Wilderness), the cloud that led them settled on the Holy of Holies exposing yet veiling the glory of God.

*  Why do we need to know what the "glory of God" is?  If we think of the glory of God as only the "fanfare" that was present at Mt. Sinai, we will miss it.  Jesus is the embodiment of the glory of God.  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

*  Our omnipotent, omniscient God is completely and perfectly just.  His very essence requires that He judge sin.  The Glory of God, His fullness, His character, His essence also includes and extends  mercy to the repentant sinner.  Mercy opens the way for grace to accept and forgive the sinner.  Oh the fullness of His Glory!

*  We are to be like Jesus.  God is shaping us to be like Him; then He will be revealing His glory, as revealed to Moses, in and through us.  The revelation God gave to Moses of His glory is our guideline to become more like Jesus that the "glory of God" will be evident as we "pass by" others as it was evident to Moses as God passed by him in the cleft of the rock.  The only fanfare we need is to live out the glory of God in our own lives.  The “treasure” we have in our earthen vessels is to show that the “excellence of the power” is of God and not of us!  God reveals His glory through His redeemed ones.


“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).



Continued on next page.  See link below.











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