A glorious request

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How would you describe the glory of God? Would you want to be close if God were to display it?

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Bible passage Exodus 33:12-23

Moses and the Glory of the LORD
 12 Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."

 14 The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

 15 Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"

 17 And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

 18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."

 19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."

 21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Seeking glory
God was angry, but Moses continued to urge him to go with Israel. Finally, God agreed (vs 12–17). But then Moses made a strange request: he asked to see God’s glory!

Glory is the radiating effect of God’s presence, the perceivable force of his being. Surely asking to see God’s glory would be an insane thing to ask God for, not least when God was so angry?

Seeing God
Notice two things here. First, instead of saying ‘I will make all my power and impressive majesty pass before you,’ God said ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you…’ God’s description of his own glory is not what we would expect. It focuses on his goodness, his closeness, his mercy and his compassion. Could it be that God’s glory, his very nature, is the radiant majesty of a God who is love?

Second, notice that God did not let Moses see his face (v 20). So who was the Lord that Moses used to meet with face to face (v 11)? We find the answer in John 1:14–18, where we discover that the Lord who pitches his tent near to us, who is full of grace and truth, whose glory we have seen, is the one at the Father’s side who makes him known to us!


Spend some time thinking about Jesus and know that when you see the character of Jesus, you are encountering the perfect revelation of the Father!

Peter Mead

Deeper Bible study

‘No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.’ (1 John 4:12)

God has given Moses a task, but Moses wants to know God’s involvement (Hebrew yada‘ ‘know’ is used four times in verses 12 and 13). Only God knows – and it is his responsibility: Moses reminds God that they are ‘your people’ (v 13, italics added). God shows ‘favour’ to Moses but promises his presence only for Moses – ‘you’ in verse 14 is singular. Moses, however, is concerned for ‘us’, saying ‘me and your people’ (vs 15,16; compare 32:11). What distinguishes Israel from other nations is God’s presence, not ethnicity or might or wealth. The wider purposes of God for all peoples are in view. Significantly, Christ’s promise, ‘I am with you always’ as we journey to ‘the very end of the age’, is also in the context of ‘all nations’ (Matthew 28:19,20).

God agrees, but there remains the question of Israel’s sinfulness. Moses’ request to be shown God’s glory (v 18) is ‘a desire to have God confirm his astonishing willingness to show his favour to a stiff-necked, idolatrous people’1. God promises to show his ‘goodness’; his presence with Israel will show his ‘mercy’ and ‘compassion’ (v 19). Israel’s experience of forgiveness is to shape their lives as they keep God’s commandments and live out compassion (Deuteronomy 4:5–8). Likewise, God promises us his presence by his Spirit so that in turn ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ rather than ‘the acts of the sinful nature’ will be evident (Galatians 5:19–25, TNIV). Others see ‘good [beautiful] deeds’ that point to God’s glory (Matthew 5:16). As we have received, so we live ‘mercy’ and ‘forgiveness’ (Psalm 96:3).

God’s ‘presence’ is with us, but we do not yet see his ‘face’ (the same Hebrew word, vs 14,15,20,23). In grace he has revealed himself in Christ and by the Spirit so that we can know he is with us. That makes the difference.

John Olley


1 J Piper, quoted in W Ross Blackburn, The God who makes himself known, IVP, 2012, p185

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Daniel 8,9

3 John

Me too!

‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Oh God, can those words be for me too?
How I long to hear them!
I’m not Moses, but I’m also on a journey – trying to follow Jesus.

Some days, life seems like an unmarked wilderness,
and I’m not sure which way to go.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to trust.

Other days, I’m so busy that I don’t stop to listen.
I’m stressed and distracted and frazzled.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to pause and take time for you.

Then there are the days when I do remember.
I walk restfully in your presence.
How different those days are.

‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I believe you Lord. Those words are for me.
Your presence does go with me and give me rest.
Thank you Lord!


Richard England


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To be in your presence (This is my desire)
Noel Richards.
Copyright © 1991 Thankyou Music

  • Song: There's a sound (Restoration Song)
  • Composer: Lou Fellingham, Nathan Fellingham and busbee
  • Artist: Lou Fellingham
  • Album: Promised Land
  • Publisher: Kingsway Music
  • Copyright: Copyright © 2008 Thankyou Music & The Livingstone Collective/kingswaysongs.com
  • Buy this album here

  • Rachael Hampton | Monday, 27 November 2017

    It is God's glory, His presence in us and with us that sets us apart. May this be evident for all of us. ENYOBI's situation is much worse than I knew yesterday. P,ease pray with me for comfort, strength, provision and light for a way ahead. And for good friends and counsellors to help him through.

  • Sue Hanson | Monday, 27 November 2017

    I love the "me too" It reflects the journey of my walk with God.

  • Ankhe Badam | Monday, 27 November 2017

    Please can you pray for my mother who has a medical appointment about an undiagnosed problem She is scared. And does not know Christ and his peace.Pray he will reveal himself to her.

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    The glory of the LORD must be the brightest, magnificent 'pure, clear light' and when it shone into Paul's darkness it blinded him and then transformed him. When one day we do see the face of God "there shall be no more night...the Lord God will be our light." (Revelation 22:5) ANKHE - I am praying that the radiance of the LORD'S glory will surround you and your mother. Amen.

  • Sarah Creen | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    Praying for you & your Mum too, Ankhe.

  • Jack Russell | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    It seems there is a need for Moses to have reassurance here. The calling to leadership but not knowing for some reason who is going to be sent with him. The hesitancy after being told that he has found favour with God in that not feeling enough for him and wanting more with saying "teach me your ways" then "remember your people". Looks like he has some trust issues with God. The great thing about the bible at times is that it doesn't shy away from the reality of what it is like to exist as a human in what can feel like overwhelming situations at times. There is no judgement shown by God but only comforting. It is Moses that is telling God what to do with no rebuke being made by God. "I will give you rest" - the same words uttered by Jesus - "come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest". My God be close to all of us in whatever pain or fear we are experiencing and we all be upheld by each other, Father, sometimes it is only in difficulty that we turn to you. Forgive us this, do not deny us your presence be with us, healing, directing. Do not let this just be so that we exist but so that we may know and carry your presence, life in the fullest and shoeing your glory, shining as lights. Lift all hindrances to this do not give us stone when we ask for bread but fill us with what is good.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    If I was confronted with the glory of God I know that my spirit would so rejoice I'd gladly leave the body for good! ANKHE I pray that Christ in you will witness to your mother's spirit that she might come into a personal relationship with Jesus.

  • Helen Humby | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    I too loved Richards " me too" poem. We are no different to moses in that we are trying to discern God's leading in a frantic and desperate world. May we know His grace and help to follow His leading. Prayers for you and your mum Ankhe.

  • Rebecca Huie | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    This study of Exodus reminds me of the real blessings of living on this side of the resurrection. I am thankful for the first advent of Christ, His life, suffering, death, and resurrection, and the coming of His Holy Spirit. How eagerly should we anticipate His second coming- as Christians, we look forward to eternity with Him, face to face, whether we go to Him (through our death), or He comes to us (through His return). Come, Lord Jesus! Deep prayers for Enyobi in his complex situation, and for Ankhe and mother. May the Lord show Himself tender and powerful on their behalf. Blessings and prayers for all the WL family.

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    Ankhe, prayers for you your mother and daughter.

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    Jan has had a really bad day. A very close relative is giving her a really tough time about the details of the funeral. Jan is fragile and this conflict is the last thing she needs. Please support Jan through this stressful time Thank you.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    Lord, if your presence does not go with us, Please do not send us up from here. How will anyone know we are your people Unless you go before us? Lord, if your favour does not rest on us We dare not move beyond this place, How will anyone know we go in your name Unless your blessing is over us? So we stand within your presence, And humbly seek your grace; Father Almighty, Jehovah, Saviour, We long to meet you face to face. Let your glory fall upon us, Convict, inspire, provide; Father Almighty, Jehovah, Saviour, Your holy presence is our guide. Lord if your presence does not stay with us, Please do not send us up from here. How will anyone hear of truth and goodness Unless your Word speaks through us? Lord, if your presence is not love in us How can we minister your grace? How will anyone feel your tender mercy Unless your heart is in us? https://youtu.be/gbAyxPaSHaM

  • Ankhe Badam | Wednesday, 29 November 2017

    Thank you David for remembering my daughter. May you all be blessed.

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