Lord, Show Me Your Mercy

August 26, 2019 Series: Exodus Scripture: Exodus 33 by Chris Strevel

I Will Keep My Promise to Abraham (vv. 1-2)

Israel’s sin at Sinai provoked God to his face. To offend and provoke God means that our sins are such a direct assault upon his loving kindness, holiness, and patience, that we break fellowship and covenant with him. Moses had done what he could to stamp out the image and its effects by having the ringleaders executed, but he knew that God was extremely displeased with his people. The outcome was uncertain. And now some very bad news came, a difficult command from the Lord. Move forward to the land of promise – which was good news – and I will send my angel before you – but I am not going with you – the worst news imaginable. We have encountered the Angel already in Exodus (3:2; 14:19; 23:20,23), the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Son of God, already functioning as the Word of God, leading and protecting his people. Hence, this angel is probably not him, but an ordinary angel, which would be wonderful enough, but the point is that now God is not going with them. They have broken God’s covenant, offended his holiness, and trampled his love. He will keep his promise to them; he will not go with them. He will keep his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he has a judgment to mete out to the wicked Canaanites, but his people have forfeited his comfortable presence.

But I Will Not Go with You (v. 3)

This is not because God is vindictive, for he has been merciful and longsuffering in the months since the people left Egypt. It is because he is holy. Sin is a provocation against his majesty and when he draws near in such wonderful grace, as he did with Israel, a treacherous abuse of love and mercy. When God covenants with us to be our God and makes us his people, which he does today in Christ, it is on the condition that we walk before him in faith and love. Now, he himself meets this condition by giving us his Spirit, who forms in us the very faith and love that are necessary if we are to hold fast to Christ to the end. But if we provoke God, as the Corinthians did, by our worldliness and idolatry (1 Cor. 10:22), if we receive his grace in vain (2 Cor. 6:1), then we grieve his Spirit (Eph. 4:30). His love for us does not alter (Zeph. 3:17), and even our sins cannot separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:37), but we can throw up serious obstacles to our enjoyment of his fellowship and bring his chastening hand down upon us. Then, he will not do many mighty works for us until we repent and turn back to him with all our hearts (Matt. 13:58). We must learn to take seriously again that his grace in Christ is not a license unto sin and does not excuse our carelessness and laziness. It is the strongest incentive to holiness (2 Cor. 7:1), without which we shall not see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). The reason for this is even greater for us than for Israel. We are brought near to the consuming fire with an intimacy and confidence they did not have, for Jesus Christ was not yet revealed. For us, we may go boldly to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). With such a privilege comes a heightened sense of God’s covenant nearness and lays upon us the holiest obligations to walk humbly before him (Heb. 12:28-29).

The Worst News Ever (vv. 4-6)

The horror of this decree was immediately perceived. It is bad enough for God to call them stiff-necked and stubborn, for along with pride there are few worse evils into which we can fall. God only dwells with the meek and contrite (Ps. 25:14). Stubbornness is like witchcraft in its dogged, perverse opposition to God and refusal to bend to his will (1 Sam. 15:23). Notice that it was their stubbornness that elicited this threat – like “not listening” that is the sin worthy of excommunication – contumacy, a determination not to bend one’s will to the Lord. But to leave them alone in the wilderness? The whole thrust of the covenant of grace is to enjoy his presence, but rebellion provokes him and forfeits this blessing. It is one thing to fall into even serious sins, come to one’s senses, and seek to repent before the Lord with earnest cries and sincere desire. He will never turn away from a man or woman who seeks him like this. But Israel had now shown a pattern of determined opposition to his word and offended his holiness by their idolatry and debauchery. When God condescends to walk with us, let us be very careful to walk humbly before him, as Hosea said (6:8). For whatever other blessings we enjoy or possessions, pleasures, and friends, if we do not have God with us, they will prove dissatisfying in the end and an eternal curse to our souls (James 5:1-3). It is God’s presence alone that is life and joy forever (Ps. 16:11).

As hardened as they were, this was the worst news imaginable. Most of this generation were unbelievers (Heb. 4:2), and their “carcasses fell in the wilderness” (Heb. 3:17). Yet, they understood enough to feel deeply the loss of the pillar of fire. Immediately they began mourning, but God did not finally relent because of their tears, and this is very compelling. Like Esau, it is possible to weep over one’s sins, but from a self-interested perspective – what I have brought upon myself – consequences – loss and heartache – embarrassment. True weeping is grieved that God is offended, his holiness insulted, and his love trampled in the dust. It leads to repentance, as the apostle wrote (2 Cor. 7:10-11). From the immediately ensuing history, it is evident that these were crocodile tears, or only the tears of a wounded child bitter at being rebuked and losing its privileges but not sorry at all for its sins. Nevertheless, to show their desire to do differently, they removed all their “ornaments,” jewelry and other beauty enhancing items. This was a period of outward mourning that was “from Horeb onward.” Israel remained in a state of mourning until they reached the Promised Land.

Wilderness Hope: Moses Pitches His Tent outside the Camp (vv. 7-11)

7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the LORD went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. 8 So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11 So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.

Sin Disrupts Fellowship with God (vv. 7-8)

What Moses called the tabernacle of meeting was not the tabernacle revealed on the mountain. This was not constructed until after these events. Perhaps he built a quick replica of it or simply erected another tent. The main thing is that he moved his own place of seeking the Lord outside the camp, for God, at least for the moment, said he would not go up with the people. This implied that the camp of Israel was not a fit dwelling place for God, and thus Moses left it. It must have been maddening to the people to witness this. Their leader was following God and leaving them – but he did not go too far away. Moses taught them two important truths by his actions. First, sin disrupts fellowship with God. We sin far too casually today and generally play fast and loose with God and with our commitments to him. There is very little resolve and self-denial to walk closely and humbly with him. Let this encourage us to make a more urgent attempt to flee sin and pursue holiness in his fear (2 Cor. 7:1). Our obedience does nothing to merit heaven, but it is the way we abide in our Savior’s love, and thus in communion with God (John 15:9-11). Let us not forget that God is a real person and that his love and grace do not discourage but encourage obedience. He has created us in Jesus Christ unto good works (Eph. 2:10), not to beat us up so that we finally obey but to humble and inspire us by his goodness to lead repentant and holy lives. We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ that we might glorify God in our body and in our spirit, all that we are (1 Cor. 6:20).

The second truth is that even when we have offended the Lord by our sins, we must nevertheless seek him. Those in Israel who were grieved over their sins went to Moses’ tabernacle to seek the Lord; they left the camp. It was obvious that they were in a sense walking away from their family and earthly connections. The Lord was offended by their sins, but provision was made to seek his favor and fellowship – what incredible grace! If he does not immediately relent and restore our “good feelings about him,” as we so often hear today, we should still seek him. To seek the Lord always in Scripture and in the lives of the godly entails a broken and contrite heart, for he is pleased with these sacrifices above all others – when we are cast down that we have offended him, judge ourselves before him, chasten ourselves before him morning and evening, and plead the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ as our only cleansing and reason that he should forgive us. Now all this to modern ears sound like begging and somehow beneath God’s grace, but tell this to David, as he prayed, lived, and then wrote Psalm 51. Tell it to the Corinthians, whose deep repentance Paul holds up to us for imitation. Tell it so our Savior, who did not think “strong groans and crying” (Heb. 5:7-8) to be beneath him in pursuing our redemption. The reason so many are uncomfortable seeking the Lord like this is the bad teaching they have received about the Lord, the cheap and easy views of grace they have picked up from their false teachers, and the resulting low views of Jesus Christ. Low views of him and his grace lead to cavalier views about sin or shallow dealings with God; high views of him lead us to weep over our sins, as Peter did, to keep seeking him at all times, and never to rest our assurance of his favor upon our feelings but upon the finished work of our Savior at Calvary and his ongoing intercession for us at the Father’s right hand.

Glory Outside the Camp (vv. 8-10)

Once the ringleaders of the idolatrous rebellion were executed, the disrespect they displayed toward Moses was quickly replaced by a return to veneration. When Moses passed outside the camp to the tabernacle, the people went to the door of their tents and stood. They watched him until he went into the tabernacle to intercede for them with God. When Moses entered, the shekinah glory cloud of God’s presence descended and remained at the door of the tabernacle. There the Lord talked with Moses, and the people knew that God was talking to him. As long as the cloudy pillar appeared at the entrance to the tabernacle, they stood and worshipped the Lord (v. 10). Thus, wherever God intends mercy, he stirs his people to pray, which is the very thing we see here. Yes, God is grieved and provoked with his people, and he has surely threatened to leave them, but this is intended to stir them up to seek him with fervent repentance. Whether our sins or some public calamity or what men called “disasters” strike us, the first thought of many is that “there is no God” or that God has abandoned us. But when we see evident tokens of his displeasure, as when a nation lacks wise leaders or his church compromises with the world in doctrine and worship, he is urging us to seek him. It may be that his glory, even in the face of Jesus Christ, is somewhat veiled or has withdrawn some distance from us, for he does sometimes withhold a sense of his comfortable presence, and we must then especially repent of our sins and plead the Lord’s promises to him, asking him to be favorable to us again and remember his former mercies.

Moses Face to Face with God, and Joshua Nearby (v. 11)

Could Moses truly be the meekest man alive then, and excepting our Lord Jesus Christ, the meekest who has ever lived (Num. 12:3), and record something to his own credit? Yes, for the Holy Spirit hereby guided and put his words into Moses’ mouth (Deut. 18:15), so that his humility led him to speak honestly about himself, not to glorify himself, but like Paul to magnify his office (Rom. 11:13). What the people saw at the tabernacle was indicative of the intimacy with which the Lord communicated with Moses – not like the other prophets, in dreams and visions, but more directly, audibly, as a man speaks to man, or in Hebrew, “mouth to mouth,” God and Moses talking together as familiar friends (Num. 12:6-8). Moses stands alone among the Old Testament prophets – in intimacy with God, clarity and immediacy of revelation, and also as contributing directly to our understanding of Jesus Christ and faith in him (John 5:47). Moses’ prophetic ministry was thus the great type of Christ (Deut. 18:15-18). God put his words into Moses’ mouth, even as Jesus Christ spoke as God’s living Word.

As Moses was a builder of Christ’s house (Heb. 3:1-6), it encouraged the small group of the faithful that their leader was a true mouthpiece of God – not with tricks and tyranny so often found in ancient idolatry but in very evident and incontrovertible proofs that God was present with Moses and speaking through him. Although the Lord had said he would not go with him, should not the godly have taken heart that at least the Lord was clearly speaking through Moses? And perhaps, as more and more of the people went outside the camp to seek the Lord, he would relent from his declared intention and instead have mercy upon his sinful people. And thus in times of spiritual declension in our day, let the leaders of the people often be in prayer to the Lord for them. There is no great working of the Lord without first a focused, intense, repentant season of prayer. Let Christ’s servants be in earnest about giving themselves to seek the Lord, as Moses did. And if like Joshua, we are not permitted to enter into closest fellowship with God, at least we may attend upon him as closely as possible. As great as Joshua would become, he was not Moses. But he would not have been as great as he was in the Lord’s wise stewardship of his church and nation had he not determined to stick as closely as possible to the Lord and to the Lord’s leader, Moses. Too many young bucks think they are fit to ignore older ministers, but let us take a cue from Joshua. He had no ambition but to be as close to Moses as possible and to serve the Lord through helping his servant. He would not leave the tabernacle, the visible symbol of God’s presence with his people and church. It is by serving in the lowest places that the Lord raises us up higher. After all, there is really no such thing as “my ministry,” every faithful servant of God knows, but if only I may wash my Savior’s feet and dry them with the loving tears of my service to him and to his precious church.

 

Relief: My Presence Will Go with You (vv. 12-23)

12 Then Moses said to the LORD, "See, You say to me, 'Bring up this people.' But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.' 13 "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people." 14 And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." 15 Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 "For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth." 17 So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name." 18 And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." 19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." 20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." 21 And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 "So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 "Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen." 

Faith’s Urgency: Not a Step Forward without You (vv. 12-13, 15-16)

The Spirit now takes us up on the mountain where Moses spent another 40 days with the Lord, interceding for his people and receiving another set of covenant tablets (the Ten Commandments). He does not tell us everything that occurred, but this series of exchanges between the Lord and Moses were worthy to be recorded for all time. They reveal more than anything else the meek and godly heart of Moses, as well as the glory and gracious heart of God. Moses began by hearkening back to the Lord’s declaration that he would not go forward with his people but would send an unnamed angel? But what is his name? I know your name, Lord, and you have said before that you know my name and that I have found favor in your sight. If this is true, show me your way. Be favorable to me. Remember that this nation is your people. Moses speaks urgently, reminding the Lord of his former promises to him and of the covenant relationship that God had with his people.

Remarkable, especially in today’s theological context, Moses pleads God’s grace, for clearly he knew that Israel had broken the covenant. Thus, if the covenant rested upon works, Moses knew that Israel had irremediably broken that covenant. There would be no way to obtain remittance of punishment. But Moses knew there was a way, for the covenant, not being based upon the goodness of the people, could not be forever lost through their wickedness! Thus, Moses not only implies that he is unwilling to move a step forward unless God relents and goes with him – a very bold declaration on Moses’ part, and one he would never had made had he not been absolutely persuaded of God’s great mercy – but he also reminds God of his promises as the basis for relenting and moving forward with his people. So large does God’s grace loom to Moses, that he dares to remind the Lord that they were talking about his people – not “your people” (32:7!) – but the people whom you have chosen to be your possession and dwelling place. And since it is the Lord God who has made this choice, why should the wickedness of the people surprise him? It cannot. He knows how unworthy and wicked they are. He loves them not for their sake but for his own mercies’ sake, and to keep his covenant of grace with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and ultimately our Lord Jesus Christ.

At a very practical level, when we feel that the Lord is angry with us for our sins, even that he has forsaken us or the church in the age in which we live, let us seek to make no deals with him or bring forward any goodness of our own, but do as Moses does here – simply but urgently remind the Lord that we are his people. That is to say, he has made a covenant of grace with us and sealed his promises with the precious blood of his Son. Yes, our sins testify against us, and there are some seasons that were the Lord to judge us strictly by his holiness, then we must be utterly cut off. But since he has judged us in his Son, he will never forsake his people. And when our fellowship with him is broken by our sinfulness, let us return to him on the basis of his mercy – plead his mercy, his bowels of compassions for us in the Lord Jesus, that our Savior loved us to the end, that we have sinned horribly against him and deserve to be cut off, but remember his promises and do not forsake us. Nothing works as well on the Lord as his own words, his own promises. But when we take them in our mouths, we had better be very zealous for his glory, as Moses was, not trying to manipulate him or honoring him with nearby words and faraway hearts, but sincerely drawing near to him through Jesus Christ and pleading his promises.

Moses would rather die a thousand times than move forward one inch without God. It is not only his intense sense of personal need of God that drove him to make this appeal but also God’s own honor. The warnings to Pharaoh had all been along the lines of Moses’ plea in v. 16: that Israel was God’s people, that he loved them, and now he was delivering them. And the plagues themselves, in that they fell upon Egypt while Goshen was preserved, this was God’s clear testimony that he was gracious to his people and that he dwelled in their midst. God’s people, Moses recognizes in a far better way than today’s blind egalitarianism, are separated from the people of the world. God has bound himself to those whom he shows his grace and mercy. Lord, he says, your own honor is tied up with having mercy upon us, forgiving our sins, and moving forward with us. What good is the land of promise outside the fellowship with the God who made the promise? And for ourselves, this is one way we must learn to plead with God – on the basis of what he has done for us, that he has bound and separated us to himself by his grace and goodness. How can he not forgive our sins? But of course, if we are to see the beauty of this plea, we must again recognize the sovereignty of God’s grace, and its separating, defining power in the lives of God’s people. Satan hates this, so he and his slaves instead preach equality. God’s grace makes no difference between men, but the gospel says otherwise (1 Cor. 4:7). All are sinners and deserving of God’s wrath, but his grace rescues multitudes and lifts them up from sin’s cesspool to walk with God.

Mercy: I Will Go with You and Give You Rest (vv. 14,17)

The Lord relents from his very real threat not to go with his people. “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest” (v. 14). “You” is singular; Moses will not lead the people alone, or even with the help of an angel. This was a huge relief to Moses and incredible grace on the Lord’s part. There is nothing that God’s leaders, great or small, need more than for God himself to lead them by his Holy Spirit – not their feelings or brains – for if they are truly authorized to speak for God, they will be servants to his people and seek nothing for themselves and be ambitious only for God’s honor, as Moses was. But this was not quite enough for Moses – what about your people, Lord (v. 16)? Notice Moses’ heart; it was not enough for him to have God, but he will have God for his people also. What good if I make it to the land of promise, what good if we make it to heaven, but God’s precious church languish under judgment and finally perish forever? The Lord grants this as well (v. 17). I will reaffirm my people, so to speak. You, Moses, have found grace, favor, in my sight. I will be merciful. I know you by name. This powerful last thought means that God knew Moses personally and intimately. It was in many ways the highest answer to Moses’ prayers to this point. He was terrified that God might withdraw his gracious presence. The Lord relents from this threat. He is entreated by Moses. We must remember that whatever his eternal and secret plans are, his threats and warnings to us are real. They are intended to work in us earnest supplication, pleading of God’s promises, and “giving God no rest or relief” until he “lifts up the light of his countenance upon us.”

Beyond Bounds: Show Me Your Glory (v. 18)

But this was not quite enough for Moses. He wanted more than knowing God “face to face,” hearing God’s voice, even God knowing him by name. He wanted more than fire on the mountain and shaking. He prayed, “Lord, show me your glory.” In the light of how personally Moses already knew the Lord, this was a prayer for nothing less than to see God without a veil, not in a figure, more than a voice, perhaps God as he truly was. I do not think that Moses was making a fine distinction or asking to see God’s unveiled essence. He knew his own limits! Had he not been with the Lord on the burning mountain? Moses may have passed the bounds here, as most affirm, but it was not because he was asking to cross a theological boundary but because he wanted to know God more directly in some way beyond what God had determined to show him and what Moses could safely bear. Moses had passed from deepest alarm to highest glory – the Lord is not going to leave me or these people but go with us – that his heart is filled beyond the breaking point with wonder and awe at the Lord’s goodness. It was not audacity or idle curiosity that prompted Moses’ request to see more of God’s glory but his intense thankfulness for mercies received and desire to know the Lord, really know him.

Condescension: All My Beauty Will Pass before You (vv. 19-20)

Moses’ request ultimately reaches its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ, for it is in his face that we see the glory of God safely (2 Cor. 4:6). Until then, God agreed – without a rebuke, mind you, which shows that Moses’ heart was in the right place, even if his love and wonder carried him beyond legitimate boundaries – to “let all his beauty pass before him.” I will show you something of my loveliness, Moses. The word here is often translated “goodness,” which is preferred by some interpreters, and there is perhaps a lingering sense that God’s beauty toward us is his goodness. This is the chief way that we know him, by his many mercies to us. For is this not also the meaning of “my name?” Not who God is in himself, his essence, for this would not profit us. We cannot understand or bear such brilliance. But God’s name, his love and covenant, who he is to us, this is what we must know. Thus, the Lord says he “proclaims his name” to Moses, preaches him a sermon telling him how beautiful and good he is.

Moses wanted to see, but God says, “I will do some more talking to you.” This is very important, for perhaps Moses’ greatest error here is the request to see. But the Lord brings his leader Moses back to the same lesson that Moses was to teach Israel. When it comes to knowing God, hearing his word is the critical thing, not seeing. Looking and evaluating by sight is what got Adam and Eve into trouble. Seeing is what all the blind heathen want in their gods. The true God speaks. He is known by his word. Moses must learn the same lesson as the people he leads. And so that Moses never forgets God’s incredible grace, the very first thing that God says to him about his name, the first part of the answer to Moses’ plea to see God’s glory, is a revelation of God’s sovereign grace. “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (v. 20). You do not control me, Moses. I love you, to be sure, and have heard your prayers, and will now proclaim more of my name to you. But do not forget that you are raised up to this height and have prevailed with me because I have chosen to be gracious and merciful to you.

The Lord does not say this to Moses – or to us (Rom. 9:14-16) – to grind our noses in the dust before him like a bully. But he knows that it is only safe for us if we are humbled before him. God says this to us because he knows who he is, and that if we forget who he is, we shall become presumptuous. We shall forget the great mercy he shows us to take us from the world of sin and blindness so that we may be his sons and daughters. A revelation of his sovereign grace and mercy at this point was wisely calculated to be the best inoculation against pride, unwise speculation, and ungrateful, unloving hearts. O, the Lord has heard my prayer – he did not have to hear it. He has forgiven our sins – he did not have to forgive them. His mercy is free, and it is sovereign. We are no better than the Egyptians, perhaps worse, but he has chosen to reveal himself to us. What grace! This is the true glory of salvation. It is the reason that the world hates Jesus Christ, the light of the world, and hates sovereign grace – all the glory goes to God in salvation, none to man. Man is humbled; God is exalted. If God is sovereign, if we have nothing to commend ourselves to him, if we deserve his condemnation, where does this leave us? With this one hope: God’s sovereign mercy. What does this hope do in all who believe it? It creates humility, incredible hope, wonderful steadfastness in adversity, and incredible freedom from worry. If the HOLY, HOLY, HOLY God has shown me mercy, he will never forsake me, for he always completes what he begins (Phil. 1:6). Let the world, the flesh, and the devil do their worst, but my God has taken me to himself, and I will hide myself under the shadow of his wings. 

Hidden: You Cannot See My Face and Live (vv. 21-23)

The Lord will show Moses something more of his glory, or perhaps we might even say that the clearer revelation of his majesty in words requires that Moses be hidden somewhat from glory. The Lord says: there is a place by me, in the cleft of the rock. Hide there, and I will pass by you. I will cover you with my hand so that you are not harmed by my back parts, the shadow of my glory passing by you. It is a moving, personal picture of intimacy – of Moses wanting to know more of God so that he might rest in him and be assured of his favor; of the Lord willing to draw near to Moses and relent from his threat not to go forward with his people; of the Lord now preparing Moses for his glory and hiding him with his own hand. Then, I will take away my hand, and you will see my shadow, my back parts. But you cannot see my face and live, my essence, as I am in myself – no creature can endure this, not even the mighty and sinless angels. It is simply impossible – except in Jesus Christ, all the glory we can ever imagine and handle, so to speak. In him we see the glory of God’s love and mercy, his favor and longsuffering to sinners. And this is what is profitable for us to know about God – not who he is in himself, his unchanging, eternal essence, but who he is to us, our merciful Father and covenant keeping God. As we shall see, with the shadow of God’s glory comes words of glory that leave Moses dumbstruck, for when God gives us his word, when God preaches to us, especially now in Jesus Christ and the gospel, it is our salvation and sufficiency.

Profiting from the Word and Searching Our Hearts

1. Why did God threaten not to go forward with his people?

2. Explains Hebrews 12:25-29 in this context of living carefully because God is with us?

3. Why is stubbornness such a horrible sin?

4. Describe the true sorrow that works repentance. See 2 Corinthians 7:10-11.

5. Why did Moses pitch a tent outside the camp?

6. When we have offended the Lord, how and why must we seek him?

7. What was God’s purpose in threatening to leave his people? (vv. 8-10)

8. What was different about the way God spoke with Moses? How is this a picture of Jesus Christ?

9. What should we do when we have offended God by our sins or perceived that he is angry with us on account of them?

10. Does this negate his grace?

11. Why was Moses not content to have God’s presence for himself alone – see v. 16?

12. What did Moses want to see? Why? How did he pass beyond proper limits with this request? Why then did God fulfill his desire?

13. How do we more clearly and safely see God’s glory?

14. Why did God declare his sovereignty at this point?

15. Does God have “back parts?” What is this significance of this?

16. What is the grace and intimacy revealed in God hiding Moses with his hand in the cleft of the rock?