Summary: Moses had a need for the glory of God to go before him as he would then lead the people of God.
After Moses had come down from the mountain having received the commandments of God for his people, he came upon that wicked scene of idolatry with the worship of the golden calf. About three thousand people were killed for their disobedience. The next day Moses returned up the mountain to meet again with God and plead for their forgiveness. He even went so far as to ask God to remove himself from God’s book of remembrance if this forgiveness would not occur. God sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshipped the calf. Now we come to the time where Moses seeks God and his glory before he leads the people any further.
The Mediator’s Three-Fold Prayer
I. The Prayer For Himself (verses 12-14)
Moses said to God, "Show me Thy way." At this point in the life of Israel’s leader, Moses desired a deeper, fuller and more blessed knowledge of God for himself! Up until this point, Moses had known God by the burning bush, the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
Now in his journey with God, Moses had a deep need for assurance in his heart. Another words he was saying to God, "If your presence does not go with me-why bother? Here is the question that we must ask ourselves today: Do we ever go out to work for the Lord without the Lord? We can do things with our own strength but that is all that will be accomplished! Our own strength! How much better to have the assurance that God Himself goes before us, leads us, empowers us and sustains us!
II. The Prayer For The People (verses 15-17)
Moses by now had learned that God’s heart had longed to reveal its depth of mercy, and therefore he pleads that even sinful Israel should not be left by God, in order that some light from his Face might strike into a dark world. Moses was not content at this point just for himself but also for the restoration of the people. God graciously answered Moses’ request for both himself and the people. The presence of God would be granted to Moses and the nation of Israel.
Does not Jesus Christ our High Priest represent us in the same manner? He too knits himself so closely with us, both by the assumption of our manhood and by the identity of loving sympathy, that he accepts nothing from the Father’s Hand for himself alone.
III. The Prayer For God’s Glory (verses 18-22)
Moses made a request for which his spiritual nature craved! He wanted to see the utter glory of God. God’s answer was that of love, not denial! In verse 18 Moses asked God, "Please let me see your glorious presence." God answered him in verse 20 stating that, "You may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live."
Moses was directedto a place where God miraculously both protected him and shrouded him, while a manifestation of his Glory passes by. Moses was allowed to see, not the full manifestation, but a sort of "afterglow" which was left behind, which was as much as human nature could endure.
HUMAN LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT CAN GO NO FURTHER AT THIS POINT!
Whatever the singular thought of the lawgiver, as he gazed from the cleft of the rock at the receeding glory of God, we now see so much in Jesus Christ! The Christian child who looks upon the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has a vision which outshines the flashing radiance that shone around Moses.