Exodus 33:17-23 – And the Lord said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name." Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the Lord said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." Then the Lord said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen." (NIV)
How often have we thought of God as a punishing, angry God? We think of Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and we cringe at such an awesome, holy, but wrathful God. But for God's chosen ones, this experience is not ours. We experience a God who is holy, just, mighty, but loving, caring, intimate and personal. Our God is no force, or energy, which is impersonal, uncaring and irrelevant. The God of the Bible, knows those who are chosen by name. The Lord knows them intimately, lovingly, personally. The Almighty One is pleased with those God chooses. Did you know God is pleased with you? That God would choose you, too? That was why Moses, confident of God's intimate love, was able to ask for a deeper revelation, a deeper intimacy with the Almighty. Asking to see God's glory, God (who is always caring), does something very tender. God places Moses in a cleft in the rock. Then God covers him with God's hand! How truly protective! Scripture teaches that no one may see God's face, nor come into God's Presence, lest they be consumed by God's holiness — like the moth flying too close to the flame. So God protected Moses by first placing him in a cleft in the rock, and then covering him with God's own hand.
God does the same for us, also. Jesus is our covering. Through Jesus, God is present with us. Jesus is God With Us. Jesus is also the "Rock of Ages" who was cleft for us. In Jesus we find refuge, hope, and a new future. If you have never done so, come to Jesus and find out just how wonderful is the God we serve.
Prayer: Almighty God in Jesus' name we come before you. We praise you for providing a way for us to come into your Presence. Now, as we enter a New Year, we ask that you would continue to be with us, to protect us, to care for us, and to love us. Grant us courage that we may live for you daily to proclaim your goodness. Amen.