The Prayer of Moses
In the darkest and most baffling moment of his life Moses found himself in anger, casting the Tablets of Stone to the ground. The people who had seen the hand of God move on their behalf, the same people who ate of the manna and the meat and drank of the water which poured forth out of a rock, the children of the covenant, were now dancing before an idol made of gold, given to them by the very God they now disowned.
Moses had done his best to represent God, yet the people were worshipping a golden cow created by a man. What were they thinking? It was not right. It was not fair. It was not the will of God. After three thousand died for their folly, there still was the sense that man was forever under the power of sin. Moses was perplexed by the events that were taking place as they took on a life of their own, developing faster than his ability to comprehend.
As covenant keepers we have experienced the anguish of broken promises and sin run amuck. We have viewed our life in its disarray and wondered how a covenant was turned to idolatry in such a short time. We were tempted to throw down the promises of God and simply walk away. But, like Moses, we ambled back up the mountain to meet with God.
Moses prayed for three things when he met with God for the second time. We read in Exodus 33:12-18:
Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ “Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” And He said, ” My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.” For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” The LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.” Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”
In this narrative we see Moses praying that he would, “Know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight.” When the promises are broken and the sin of life rolls over you like a steamroller, what are you to do? Most people turn from God and curse His name. What they fail to realize is that only He has the cure for the cancer that wants to eat your soul. We need to run to God, not run away from Him. Sometimes we are like a sea gull I found who had a broken wing. I was going to take it to a bird veterinarian to get it help but all it did was struggle and peck me. I finally bagged it and got it some help; yet it struggled against the doctor and me the entire time. We must seek to know God and to know His ways. Anything else is foolishness and will lead to destruction.
Moses not only wanted to know God and to know His ways, but he also desired to only go where God went. If Father God was not going there, then Moses was not going either. The heart of the covenant keeper must cry out as Moses cried out, “God I want your presence with me. Nothing else matters.” If God is not where I am living, I want to change. If God is not in my thought life, I need to stop what I am thinking. If God is not in the words that I speak, I need to stop speaking until my words reflect His presence with me. I want God’s presence with me in body, soul, and spirit.
Finally, Moses wanted to see God’s glory. Many people misunderstand this prayer. The reason Moses wanted to see the glory was not because he wanted an experience or because of what it would do for him. The purpose of glory is transformational. Moses wanted God more than anything else in his life. He only wanted to be where God was. His desire to see God’s glory was for the purpose of conforming his flesh further into the image of the Father God he loved. When one sees God, he is either changed into His likeness by means of the glory, or he dies. For the Christian, Jesus is the Glory. We need to be transformed into His image. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NASU
Moses saw the back of God and was changed forever. The covenant was empowered as a result of Moses’ prayer. Today you can walk in the covenant that appears broken by simply desiring to know God, allowing His presence to be with you and by allowing the glory of that presence to change you into His image.