Bible Reading: Exodus: 33:12-23
“Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight” (Exodus 33:13)
Giants in Scripture teach us how to pray. Here in Exodus, we learn that Moses’ prayer of intercession for the people of Israel is exactly the same as Paul and Timothy’s prayer for the church in Colossae (see Praying for our Church).
What were the prayers of great men who feared the Lord? What were their deepest longings and cries? And so, what should be our innermost desire, our innermost plea to God?
Moses’ famous prayer after he came down from Mount Sinai and saw the idolatry and sin that had taken place teaches us Moses’ innermost desire. God said to Moses that He would send an angel to go before Israel into the promised land because He Himself could not go without consuming His “stiff-necked people”.
God promised to drive out all the other nations so that Israel would have the promised land. He promised that they would prosper in the land flowing with milk and honey. Yet, was Moses satisfied? Indeed, he was not. Instead, he brought the people of Israel to mourn, and he went to approach God in the Tent of Meeting.
Examine your heart. What is the desire of your heart? If God promised all the world’s goodness, the satisfaction of your heart in earthly pleasures, would you be content? Or, does your heart desire one thing alone, which is God Himself? Do you seek God only for His blessings, or do you seek to get to know Him and know His favour?
See what Moses searched for. Moses came to the Lord in prayer with a broken spirit. Yes, he came to intercede for Israel but ultimately, he sought to make straight one thing: Is my God pleased with me? Is the Lord’s favour upon His people?
Plant such prayer in the innermost part of our hearts. May this be the one thing that we seek in this life; God’s favour. Apart from such, nothing else matters, albeit God blesses with flowing streams of abundance or morning meadows of earthly bounty. If God’s favour is not on us, our life is meaningless, and hell awaits us.
How did Moses ask for God’s favour? In a three-fold manner, He prayed, “show me your ways, that I may know you in order to find favour in your sight”. Moses asked God to reveal plainly how He was going to work. He says, “Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” Moses prayed that God would show Himself as their God by leading them and not forsaking them.
When God answered, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do,” Moses did not stop his prayer there. He asks for one more thing: “please show me your glory”. To see God’s glory is an impossible task. Any man who sees God will perish immediately because a sinner cannot stand before the Holy God. What Moses is asking is, “even though I have to die, show me that You are the LORD and let me personally know who You are. Then I will know from experience that You are my God and that Your favour is upon me and Your people”.
Moses sought life and death to know God experientially. We may know about God from books and Bibles. We may know about the God our church leaders speak about. But, do we know God because He has revealed and spoken to us personally? Do we know God because He showed us His glory?
May this be our personal prayers and also the prayer of our church. May we seek God’s favour and His favour alone.
Lord, show me Your glory. As You were pleased to reveal Yourself to Moses because of Your promise to Isaac, Israel and Jacob, please reveal Yourself to me today in this current age. You are an unchanging God. You are still faithful to Your church today. Lord work amongst us and show us Your glory that we may know You, that we may know that Your favour is upon us. Have mercy on us and remember us behind the cross of Christ, who has redeemed us and clothed us in righteousness. In Jesus’ name, amen.