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God, Show Me Your Glory!

(295)

Sermon shared by Melvin Newland

November 1992
Summary: I want to talk about the nearness of God this morning. Let me share five areas where I think we can sense the nearness of God.
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
BROWNSVILLE, TX

A. In Exodus 33:18-23 we have a conversation between Moses & the Lord God Himself. Listen as I read that passage.

“Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, & I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, & I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,’ He said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one can see me & live.’

“Then the Lord said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock & cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand & you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.’”

That’s an intriguing passage, isn’t it? At first we’re almost shocked by the words of Moses. Moses boldly asks God to reveal His glory.

Can you imagine that? Our first reaction is shocked amazement. The second is maybe to condemn Moses for doing it. We would never do anything like that. Right?

Wrong. We do it often. We either think it or we say it. "God, just reveal yourself to me. If you would just see to it that I win the $10,000,000 Sweepstakes, then I would know beyond any doubt that you are really God."

Job did something like that. The scribes & the Pharisees did it. Mankind has always made demands of God. "God, just zap me with a divine lightning bolt & make me instantly pure & holy so that I would never think evil thoughts or never say bad words again."

"God, just reveal yourself to me, & I will be your boldest witness in all the world. God, just heal all the people that I know who are sick. Just perform some miracles & we would know beyond any doubt that it is you." How strong our faith would be, if we could just catch a glimpse of God now & then & know that God is real.

But when Moses said something like that to God, the Lord replied, "Moses, the first thing we need to get straight is that I am going to do this my way, not yours. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

Then He said, "I am going to pass before you. My glory is going to be there." "But, you’re not ready to see it. So here is a rock, & you stand on the rock & get ready. The moment I pass by I am going to take you & put you in the cleft of the rock & cover you with my hand. Then I will pass by. Once I have passed by I will remove my hand & you will see my back. But you are not ready to see my face because no one can see my face & live."

B. That passage of Scripture tells us something about the way God reveals Himself, even to us today.

First of all, it says that God sometimes passes so near that you can feel His presence. You can know that He is there. But at the same time, there is a dimension to God that you & I will never be able to see or understand or comprehend with our finite, puny minds.

ILL. Fosdick compared our understanding of God with our understanding of the sea. He said, "I know the sea but I don’t know the vastness of the sea. There is a part of the sea that washes up on the sands of my life. I can bathe in it. It lulls me to sleep with its waves. And yet, I know only a very little
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