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Exodus 33:9-17

The book of Exodus is a very familiar book to most of us here this morning. The title is taken from its key event. The book is a record of God’s deliverance of His people and His systematic demonstration of His power over the false gods of Egypt. For 400 years the Israelites were held in bondage. They cried out for a redeemer and God heard their cry and sent to them Moses. After 10 dramatic birth pains, this infant nation is thrust out of Egypt and onward to the Land of Promise. That is the central event here.

Moses was their leader. In Numbers 12:3, he described as the ‘meekest man upon the face of the earth”. It is difficult to understand how a child reared by Pharaoh, trained in in all the arts and skills of Egypt, who had the wealth of Egypt at his finger tips and murdered a man in an attempt to deliver the Hebrews could ever be known as the meekest man upon the face of the earth. But he did; and he did so because God was at work in him.

After 40 years living in the wilderness tending sheep, no doubt Egypt was a distant memory to Moses. It was a chapter in his life that was closed, the pages had turned, never to be revisited again. But God had other plans. God reveals Himself to Moses, calls him, equips him and sends him back to complete a task he had attempted to do his way.

In chapter 33, we pick up the story. The children are en route to the Promise Land. They have crossed the Red Sea. They have already witnessed God’s mighty power in Egypt as well as in the wilderness. They encamped at the base of Mt Sinai. As they await Moses return, they fail miserable and construct a golden calf to worship. Things are off to a rocky start. In the previous chapter, God tells Moses He would destroy the people and start over by making a new nation through Moses. But Moses intercedes and prays for the people. Things at this point are rough. It is in these circumstances that Moses makes the request we read in verses 12-13.

The consuming desire in Moses’ heart was that he would ‘know God.’ This might seem to be a strange request. But understand this is not a prayer for salvation. Moses settled his relationship with God long before Exodus 33. No doubt his own mother, who served as his midwife, taught him the things of the Lord. If Moses had not already placed his faith in God before the burning bush, he certainly did afterwards. Note what we read of him in Hebrews 11: 24-29

24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

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