Summary: Moses was well trained, and educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action (Acts 7:22), yet, he needed God's guide to lead the people, so he prays to God, teach me the ways.
Teach me your ways
The text of Exodus 33:12-23 is the culmination of a series of new revelations of God’s identity and names throughout the book of Exodus. Moses pleads to see and know more deeply God’s “ways” (Exodus 33:13), God’s “glory” (Exodus 33:18), God’s “goodness” (Exodus 33:19), God’s “name” (Exodus 33:19). The Dialogue between God and Moses are revealed here. Moses' requests are three: Friendship of God, the Presence of God, and Glory of God.
Israel’s worship of the golden calf violated the first and important commandment about worshiping God alone and not worshiping idols (Exodus 20:3-5). This covenant-breaking act endangered God’s whole project of deliverance and dwelling amid Israel. without the surging power of that divine holiness destroying the people (Exodus 33:3)? The key question in Exodus 33:12-23 wrestles with was, How can the powerful holiness and glory of God live with and among a sinful people?(ref: workingpreacher.org).
1. Teach me Your Ways (Exodus 33:12-14)
Moses prayed to the Lord to ‘teach us to number our days’ (Psalm 90:12), it is translated with the following meanings: “Help us to understand how many days we have or the days left for us”. “Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” “Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly.” So that we will cultivate, develop and bring to you a heart of wisdom. Counting days and years make one wise, lead to wise living (Psalm 90:12).
Teach us to pray (Psalm 90:14-17), Fill us or Satisfy us with thy Mercy at the Fill us with your love, compassion, lovingkindness at the daybreak, Surprise us with love at daybreak as a mother does with her child. “Let the sunrise of your love end our night, pour abundantly your faithful love before we grow Older.” The discoveries of Christ and the love of God expressed in him, his pardoning grace and mercy are found on the day of our salvation (Psalm 63:3). This grace and mercy satisfy and fills us in an unexpected time, early, seasonably, as soon as could be "in the morning."
Teach me your ways: Moses was trained and educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action (Acts 7:22). The King's school had recruited and trained the students who have an aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve the kings. They learned the language and literature of that kingdom (Daniel 1:4-5).
Moses understood that all his education, experience in shepherding the flocks were not enough to lead the people, lead the life in the wilderness. He needed God’s teaching on the ways he should go and undertake. How could be life is very questionable.
J. I. Packer says, “A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about him.” We were made: to know God, and be known by him. Packer, the author of ‘Knowing God’ writes, “Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.” (ref:dashhouse.com).
Names are important. Because it refers to the personality and character of a person. God said to Moses, “I know you by the name”, which means God knows every need, every fear, every doubt, every vulnerability of Moses in this leadership and journey. God is making a statement about the deeper intimacy and relationship he has with Moses: God knows Moses than anyone on the earth. So Moses can rest in God. The same is true with us, When we struggle, when we face dark times, God says, “My presence with go with you, and I will give you rest. I know you by name.” (ref:standrewsenfield.com). Teach me, Lord, how to handle the situations, take decisions, relate with people, react to the situations and issues.
The ways of God are mercies and compassions. (Exodus 33:19). Thy way means Moses desires not to be left in uncertainty, but to be assured, by Yahweh's mode of proceeding, of the reality of the promises that had been made to him (Barnes’s Notes), the course and manner of thy dealings with men, and particularly thy purpose and will concerning me and thy people, and the method which thou wilt choose for the fulfilling of thy promise, and the course which thou wouldst have me take, and the way by which I shall conduct thy people to the Promised Land (Matthew Poole), either the way which he would take, the way of his providence in bringing the children of Israel into the land of Canaan; or the way he would have him take, the way of his duty, how he would have him behave in conducting them thither (Gill Commentary). Today, the way is unfolding to us that is Christ Jesus the TRUE WAY.