“O, that will be glory for me, Glory for me, glory for me. When by His grace I shall look on His face; that will be glory, be glory for me.” So goes the words of the song “That Will Be Glory”. This should be the hearts desire of every child of God; to see the glory of our God.
Peter, James and John witnessed the glory of Jesus when they were on the Mount and Jesus was transfigured before them (Matthew 17:1-11). We will see the significance of this a little later in this message.
In Exodus 32 Moses had been up on the Mount getting the 10 Commandments on stone tablets, by God, and the people took it on themselves, using Aaron, to build an idol called the golden calf, to worship. The people had already heard the commandments (20:1-17), ”Thou shalt have no other gods,’ and ‘Thou shalt not make any graven image”. When he returned with the tablets of stone the people had rebelled against the LORD’s commandments and worshipped another god, and built a graven image to worship.
Moses breaks the tablets of stone; the whole law was shattered; ground the calf into powder, poured it into a stream, and made the rebellious ones drink the water (32:20). Moses also called for those who were on the LORD’s side to come to me (32:26).
The heart of a shepherd/pastor is seen in Moses as he prays, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Exodus 32:32 (KJV). Moses spends time setting up a special place outside the camp which represented the place to meet God the “Tabernacle of the congregation” (33:7). You will notice that everytime Moses went to the tabernacle the men stood at the door of their tents and watched as the “cloudy pillar descended on the door of the tabernacle”. When they saw this “cloudy pillar” descended to the door “they worshipped (v. 10).
Moses, the man of God, longed for the abiding presence of the LORD, and sought it diligently. He prayed to see God in His glory, and that if God was not with him and the people that they would go no farther (vv. 13-15).
OUTLINE OF Exodus 33:21-23 –
I. THERE IS A PLACE NEAR TO GOD TO WHICH WE ARE CALLED (v. 21). This is a place that is provided by God. It is God who provided the rock for Moses, on which to stand.
God desires for all those who know Him to come near to Him. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). God has always provided a place for His people. He provided a garden for Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:8). He provided an ark for Noah and His family to escape a flood (Genesis 6-9). The Lord Jesus Himself said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-3).
II. WE ARE TO STAND ON THE ROCK, AND HIDE IN THE CLEFT WHICH GOD PROVIDES (vv. 21, 22). The rock of course represents the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God. “That Rock was Christ”, says Paul the apostle (1 Corinthians 10:4). He even says that Rock followed them.
There is no surer foundation than the Rock which is Jesus Christ. He is the Rock upon which His Church is built (Matthew 16:18), and there is no other foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11).
When we come to the place God has provided for us, He hides us in the cleft of the Rock. God passed by Moses with His hand over Moses’s eyes protecting him from the glory that would have slain him.
III. IN THE CLEFT OF THE ROCK; COVERED BY THE HAND OF GOD (v. 22). Even though we may be in the place God has placed us we still need His covering hand to protect us from His glory. His hand is on display in the person of His Son. Jesus said to Phillip, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Jesus Himself was the incarnation of God. God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14), “(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (KJV). Jesus came veiled in human flesh, and though a man never sinned, never transgressed the law of God or man, but was obedient to the Father in all points, even unto the cross.
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me; let me hide myself in Thee”. Hidden from the glory of God that could and would consume us if not in that cleft of the Rock.
IV. THE GLORY OF GOD FROM THE BACK (v. 23). We are not given any description of the back of God by Moses. Therefore we are left to believe that this was completely satisfactory to Moses. He knew he had been in the presence of holiness, righteousness, and the awesome wonder of His glory.
One day we are promised that we shall behold the face of our Lord. All will look on Him whom we have pierced with thorns, nails, spears, and our sins. When we appear before the throne of Jesus Christ He will see only the garments washed clean by His own blood, and the judgment received will be for our rewards, for good or bad we have done (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 4:12-15).
Where are you standing today? I pray you stand on the Rock which is Christ, and that you are hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). When your life is “Hid with Christ in God” you are Standing On The Rock.
-Tim A. Blankenship