The glory of the Lord. We’ve heard that word, “glory” before, have we not? What exactly does it mean? To me, it’s the beauty of God, his majesty. It’s the glowing, brilliant light that emanates from the Father. The radiant light of God’s being that warms, encourages, and protects us, while revealing our own weakness and need for a relationship with him. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.
In today’s reading, we hear Moses asking to see God’s glorious presence. It was as if he needed some “proof” that God would do what he said and go with them to the Promised Land. After all that Moses had experienced in God’s presence, it seems hard to fathom he would have to ask God to show himself.
What is your practice of taking your requests to the Lord? Do you plead with him on your knees? Do you wait until Sunday morning and say a prayer in church? Do ask him for help like he’s your best friend? Moses set up a tent of meeting for the people he was leading. (Not to be confused with the tabernacle we’ve been reading about in recent posts.)
This was a special location set up outside the camp. People would approach the tent of meeting with their requests for God. Moses would speak to God on their behalf. It seems like this passage is out of place. I’m not saying it is, just that it seems like it.
Can you remember a time when you were punished for something? I can vividly remember being grounded for breaking the hall mirror as a child. Now that act doesn’t sound all that horrible, but when it happened after mom told me and my brother to stop playing in the closet (the door had the mirror), and we obviously didn’t, that was the bad thing. We didn’t mind her and what happened? Well, we were definitely in the dog house! Do you remember that phrase?
For the Israelites, their deed was so much worse. Disobeying a parent is one thing, but disobeying our Heavenly Father is an entirely different matter. God’s anger burned so much, he didn’t even want to see them. He even said he would surely “destroy them.” But God still loved them. He was going to look out for them despite his anger.
As Moses descended the mountain he knew his people had gone astray. Yet, seeing something you know is true with your own eyes can still be shocking. I’m sure Moses was hoping that the situation had gotten “fixed” or that perhaps God was mistaken. But God doesn’t make mistakes. It seems it was worse than Moses had expected.
And what about Aaron? Moses’ own brother had allowed this abomination to occur. Like Eve was deceived and tricked by the serpent in Genesis, Aaron told Moses, “they said to me…” as if that would make it better. Moses left Aaron in charge. He trusted him. Yet Aaron gave in, collected the gold for the idol, and “out came this calf.” Yeah right.
Do you have an advocate that looks out for you and keeps harm from coming your way? We all do. The Holy Spirit has that role for us. For today’s reading, it was Moses looking out for the Israelites. He had their back.
Picture this – Moses learns about the evil his own people have reverted to in his absence. God, who knows and sees all has told Moses what the people have done. How do you think Moses felt? He had just had this mountain top experience with God (literally) and is feeling on top of the world. He has just been given instructions from the Creator himself and is about to descend the mountain to share it with everyone who has been waiting. And then he hears God’s plans for their destruction.