Saturday 29 May 2021

Bible Book:

The Lord replied, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' (v. 14)

Exodus 33:7-23 Saturday 29 May 2021

Psalm 139


Chapter 33 features the penultimate story in Exodus with only the delivery of the new tablets with the Ten Commandments  coming after it (chapter 34). By this point Moses and the people of God had journeyed through the wilderness for some time. They had escaped Egypt, and moaned about the food and the lack of water. They had been given some instructions on how to live and built a golden calf. Throughout the whole time Moses has led them and been the intermediary between God and themselves.

The conversation we have in these verses is another such moment where we see Moses speaking directly with God. In verses 7-11 we are given a description of Moses entering the tent of meeting (or tabernacle) and the pillar of cloud, which was God’s presence descending. The second part of the text from verses 12-23 is a conversation, or maybe we should call it a negotiation, between Moses and God.

I can understand Moses’ need for reassurance. His request to God to "now show me your glory" in verse 18 is a bold one, I would be happy just to hear God’s voice so clearly while speaking to him. Yet for Moses there is a need for more. Maybe this is because their relationship has become so close (verse 17), or maybe Moses is worried that the people won’t listen to him if he doesn’t have more to show them. Whatever it is,  Moses pushes God until he gets to see a glimpse of the place where God has just been (verse 23).

This whole section is about presence. God promises his presence to Moses and the people throughout. Moses requests God’s presence goes with him and the people so the other nations see who they are. And finally he makes the request to see the fullness of God before him and not just in a representation of God’s presence like the pillar of cloud.

To know God’s presence is with us is to have the creator of the world in our midst. This presence reassures us that we are people of God and that where we go God is with us. In Jesus we know that God came and dwelled among us and through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit we know we are filled with his presence as we live in this world today.

 To Ponder:

  • How do you experience God’s presence with you each day?
  • How can we share this presence with others?


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