Wilderness Wanderer Week Four - "Show Me Your Glory"

Today, we continue our sermon series "The Wilderness Wanderer: Lessons from the Life of Moses."

We are exploring some key texts from the life of Moses. We’ll learn what it means to trust God, live in faith, and journey toward God’s purposes.  

Today, we will focus on how God showed Moses God’s “hind parts.”  You can’t make this up. 

And we’re going to be learning how sometimes the glory of God in the world is almost more than we can handle—but it only takes a little to make us shine. 

Think of a time when you knew that whatever you were experiencing was beyond your ability to describe it… 

What was it about that moment that affected you so? 
Doesn’t some part of you long to feel that again?

Some of the places where I've experienced the glory of God... 

Christ Church Meadow, Oxford, St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Peter's Basilica, The floor of a Pentecostal Church in Nashville

Why does it feel like we only get a glimpse?  What can we do to hold on to the light we receive? 


Exodus 33:12-23

Moses has been up on Mt. Sinai for a bit now—receiving the Torah
The story of the Golden Calf—abridged and edited for “little ears.”

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.”

Moses needs some reassurance—“I know you by name.” The significance of knowing someone's name meant that you had an intimate relationship and there was a power dynamic.  

God had shared the name of God with Moses---even though the name was unfathomable.  YWHW - not able to be pronounced since the 2nd century BCE

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

“Now show me your glory.”  Moses makes a bold ask. 

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.”

The full glory of God is not something you would survive (Indiana Jones)

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.”

“The cleft of the rock” - another “prefigurement” of Jesus?  A glimpse of glory?

After this—Moses has a glow about him, evidence of his encounter. 

What We Can Learn From This Story
1. The desire to experience God more fully—is universal. 

We all want to know that God is near, and we really wish that God would reveal God's glory to us--to let us know that we are not alone, that God has our back.  

2. Revelation should come slowly sometimes—when we can handle it. 

Second, there is no way for us to fully comprehend what God is up to in the world.  We can't handle the truth (the glory) of God because if we were given just a glimpse it would blow our minds.  Revelation should come slowly otherwise it overwhelms us.  

3. We often see God when the “glory has passed by.”  

Sometimes we don't fully see or experience the presence of God until after.  We remember how we felt in the moment of crisis, or triumph and we see the traces of God's glory more clearly than we ever did when it was happening. 

My best spiritual knowing almost always occurs after the fact, in the remembering--not seen "until God has passed by." - Richard Rohr

4. What Jesus meant when he said “Your are the light of the World.”  

It is this little
That I give to you.
And now I want to walk out and witness
The shadow of some ungraspable sweetness
Passing over the measureless squalor of man
Like a child's hand over my own face
Or the exodus of swallows across the land
And I know it does not matter
That I do not understand. - Brendan Kennelly 

If you are lamenting what you perceive as a lack of God's presence in your life---be still.  Look around you and perhaps you can see where God was.  Or maybe you need only look in the mirror and see the faint glow of pure love and life still flickering there.  



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