Summary: Is it possible to ask God to do something He doesn't want to do?
A. WHY SUCH A BOLD PRAYER? (EXODUS 33:18- 34:8)
1. God’s promise. “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (3:12, Hebrew, serve, could be seen).
2. God’s nature. God wants to show His greatness and splendor.
3. God’s invitation. “That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18).
4. The prayer of others. “Lord, let the smile of your face, shine on me” (Ps. 6:3).
B. WHAT DID MOSES WANT TO SEE?
1. They saw the reflection of God. “Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning” (Ex. 20:18).
2. They saw the cloud/smoke that hid God. “The mountain smoking” (20:18).
3. They saw fire. “The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire” (24:17).
4. Moses wanted to see the person and nature of God.
C. IS IT POSSIBLE TO ASK GOD TO DO SOMETHING HE DOESN’T WANT TO DO?
1. Death. “No man shall see Me and live” (33:20).
2. Can’t get close to Him. “Dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen” (1 Tim. 6:16).
3. Impossible. “No one has seen God at any time . . .; (Jesus) He has declared Him” (John 1:18).
4. God is pleased when we ask the impossible. “You have asked a hard thing” (2 Kings 2:10).
D. HOW CAN WE GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO SEE GOD?
1. First. “You shall stand on the rock” (33:21).
2. Second. “I will put you in the cleft of the rock” (v. 22).
3. God’s grace. Sometimes God protects us from ourselves and the things we ask.
4. Be careful. Sometimes we ask for things that could hurt or kill.
5. Qualified praying. “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills’” (James 4:15).
6. Bold praying. “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed’ . . . and does not doubt” (Mark 11:23).
7. God in mercy placed us in the cleft of Jesus’ side while Jesus became our sin.
E. HOW DID GOD SHOW HIMSELF TO MOSES?
1. It was not outward and sensational. God showed Moses Himself. “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord” (v. 6).
2. What is a name? Your name is who you are.
3. What passed by Moses? The shrouded glorious brightness of Jesus that He had on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2).
F. WHAT DID MOSES SEE/LEARN ABOUT GOD? (SEVEN QUALITIES OF GOD)
“And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation” (Ex. 34:6-7).
1. Mercy. “The LORD God merciful” (34:6). Mercy is the greatness of God manifested to those in distress.
2. Grace. “The LORD God . . . gracious” (34:6). “The goodness of God is manifested towards those who are ill-deserving.” God gives the opposite of what we deserve.
3. Longsuffering. “The LORD God . . . longsuffering” (34:6). Longsuffering is God’s patience whereby His love overshadows His justice.
4. Goodness. “Abundant in goodness” (34:6). The goodness of God motivates Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of goodwill towards people.
5. Truth. “The LORD is abundant in truth” (34:6). Jesus said, “I am the . . . truth” (John 14:6). Truth is that which is consistent (accurately represented) with itself, and corresponded to reality.
6. Forgiving iniquity (34:7). “The ability of God to act in love to people because their sin price is paid.”
7. Judging (the negative side of God’s holiness). God’s holiness is positive and pure. God’s judgment is His punishment against anything that is rebellious to His person and plan. No exceptions even to the fourth generation.
G. HOW CAN WE SEE GOD? (10 PRACTICAL COMMANDS)
1. Prepare. “Be ready” (33:2).
2. Meet God first and early. “Be ready in the morning” (v. 2).
3. Go where God is. “Come up . . . on top of the mountain” (34:2).
4. Yield yourself completely. “Present yourself there to Me” (34:2).
5. Private and alone. “No man shall come up with you” (34:3).
6. Obey God’s Word. “Moses . . . went up . . . as the Lord had commanded” (34:4).
7. Pray to remove spiritual blindness. “Whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Cor. 3:16, NLT).
8. Recognize what God shows. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding . . . the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
9. Let your sight of God transform you. “Are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).