Summary: Based on Moses’ desperate cry in Exodus 33 and 34, this sermon seeks to encourage people to seek God and not just religion.
Show Me Your Glory: Exodus 33-34
Associate Pastor Jeff Williams
When I was younger, I was invited to attend a birthday dinner for a friend at Ducks. Ducks was a five-star restaurant at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. It was very expensive and quite glamorous. We had the table overlooking the lobby and were able to see the world famous Peabody ducks march out of the elevator and into the fountain. I looked over the menu, tried to keep from choking at the prices, and chose the “blackened squab.” I found out later that squab in a type of pigeon. We were treated like royalty as we waited for our food. When the plates came each of us just stared at our fare. My squab must have been pretty scrawny because it was no bigger than a hockey puck! The plate was bare except for a broccoli spear and something that looked like a twig. I ate my dinner in two bites, which came to about $19.00 a chew, and decided that blackened squab was pretty good. The only problem was – I was still hungry! Everyone else finished their meals and we were all in agreement – time to head to Wendy’s!
The meal was fancy, it was some of the best this world had to offer, but it just did not satisfy. Instead of satiating my hunger, it made me salivate for a Spicy chicken sandwich and some French fries. It left me wanting more.
Although I just described an experience I had with food, this could also be a picture of our current spiritual lives. It’s so easy for us to just nibble around the edges of our faith and come away with an empty feeling. Eating at the world’s table, we often gorge ourselves, and we still wonder if there is something that really satisfies. In the quiet of our soul we want to scream, “We want more! We want more than just existing! We want more than dead doctrine and lifeless liturgies! We want more than just playing church! We want more than just learning more about God! We want to KNOW God. We want to experience Him. God, show us your glory!”
This morning we are going to meet a man who actually had the gall to pray that prayer. If Moses had a motto it would have been “I want more!” He was not satisfied with the status quo of his faith. He sought God, he hungered for God, and he talked to God “face to face.” There is much we can learn from Moses the “God Chaser” as one author calls him. Let’s begin by doing a quick review.
A burning bush and a reluctant leader
Last week Pastor Geoff Pfeil pointed us back to Exodus 3 and the encounter Moses had with a talking, fired up bush. In this experience, Moses is invited into God’s Presence. Moses “turns aside” from his flock and his fear to listen to the God who calls Himself “I am who I am.” The eighty year old barefoot shepherd stood trembling on holy ground as God commissioned him to be the deliverer of the people of Israel. Moses has a thousand excuses why he was not the right man for the job, but God dismisses each of them. Moses the murderer would become Moses the mediator. Moses reluctantly agreed and, with his brother Aaron as his spokesperson, headed back to Egypt for a showdown with his adopted father, the Pharaoh.
Moses stood before the most powerful person in the world and said, “Let my people go!” Pharaoh refused and experienced the wrath of God in a series of ten plagues, culminating in the death of each Egyptian first born son. A grieving Pharaoh relented and told Moses to take the Israelites and get as far away from them as possible. Moses led the people to the edge of the Red Sea and God divided the waters and a couple of million people hiked across to safety. When Pharaoh changed his mind and sent troops after them, they forget their life-jackets and were drowned when God puts the water back in its place. I would high recommend that you read Exodus 10-14 to get the full force of God’s power and provision for Moses and the people of Israel.
A Wandering, Wayward People
Rescued from the hand of their oppressors, the nation of Israel began their slow trek toward the Promise Land. They saw God do amazing miracles as He provided food and water in the middle of the barren dessert. Even with such Divine interventions, the people whined as much as they wandered. They even went so far as to wish they were back in Egypt where “they sat by pots of meat and ate bread to the full.” (Ex 16:3) Moses grew tired of mutinous threats and watching the people so quickly complain against God. Moses met with God on the mountain and listened as God gave the Ten Commandments, the laws to govern daily life, and the blueprints for the sanctuary.