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Message 8: All My Goodness
Exodus 33:18–34:9 (CSB)
18 Then Moses said, “Please, let me see your glory.”
19 He said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name ‘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 added, “You cannot see my face, for humans cannot see me and live.” 21 The Lord said, “Here is a place near me. You are to stand on the rock, 22 and when my glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.”
NEW STONE TABLETS
34 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be prepared by morning. Come up Mount Sinai in the morning and stand before me on the mountaintop. 3 No one may go up with you; in fact, no one should be seen anywhere on the mountain. Even the flocks and herds are not to graze in front of that mountain.”
4 Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. He got up early in the morning, and taking the two stone tablets in his hand, he climbed Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him.
5 The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed his name, “the Lord.” 6 The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:
The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, 7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.
8 Moses immediately knelt low on the ground and worshiped. 9 Then he said, “My Lord, if I have indeed found favor with you, my Lord, please go with us (even though this is a stiff-necked people), forgive our iniquity and our sin, and accept us as your own possession.”
1. What I love about Moses is that he wasn’t easily satisfied.
- No matter how many times Moses encountered God, he always wanted more.
- All of us are born with a desire for more.
- But too often, we try to satisfy that desire with things, relationships, and experiences.
- But that desire was meant to be directed toward God, not stuff.
- Most of us would be happy with one of Moses’ experiences.
- Yet, the man who had spent all of this time with God longed for one more great encounter.
- This time, Moses wants to see all of God.
- The relationship between Moses and God is kind of confusing:
- Scripture says that no one had a relationship with God like Moses.
- God knew Moses, and Moses knew God.
- Yet, as great as Moses was, even he couldn’t stand to be fully in God’s presence.
2. God answers Moses’ request differently than he wanted.
- That’s the thing about God:
- He always shows up and does differently than we think He will.
- The greatest example of this is in Jesus.
- The Jews weren’t looking for their Savior in a manger.
- The Jews weren’t looking for someone who would cast out demons and forgive Roman soldiers.
- The Jews were looking for victory over Rome, not victory over sin.
- I would dare say, that every person who has ever had a great encounter with God has been surprised.
- We imagine what it must be like, but God does not bow down to our imagination.
- We try to picture God, but God cannot be brought down to that level.
- This is why the commandments prohibit graven images: Anything we “create” is tainted by sin and limited.
- As this Church anticipates the next move of God, I dare say that whatever we might be envisioning will not compare with what will be.
- There is a temptation to copy what has been, because what has been is easy for us to envision.
- But God is calling us to look for Him merely with the eyes of the past but with eyes of faith.
- Moses’ desire was to see God’s glory.
- Of all of his experiences and encounters so far, Moses still had not seen all of God.
- Think about it:
- God’s magnificence wasn’t fully displayed in the burning bush, the plagues, the miracles, the covenantal meal, or even 40 days on the Mountain.
- Moses understood: THERE IS MORE TO GOD THAN I’VE Experienced thus far.
- I believe many of us here are feeling this same thing:
- You’ve been around Church all your life, yet there is something fresh happening now.
- You thought you were living the life Jesus died to give you, yet now you are realizing that you settled for far less than what has been provided.
- You find yourself no longer satisfied with simple songs, pithy sayings, and cheap entertainment.
- You are digging deeper, praying harder, and worshipping with more passion than ever before.
- The closer we get to God, the more we want of Him.
3. God shows Moses His goodness.
- Instead showing Moses is “face”, He of allowed all His goodness to pass in front of him.
- God answers Moses’ prayer, but differently than Moses expected.
- God knew that Moses couldn’t grasp the fullness of God’s presence and glory.
- God knew what Moses could handle, and that was the train or back of His presence.
- Furthermore, God told Moses “I will cause my goodness to pass in front of you, and proclaim the name.”
- Think about how God chose to reveal Himself.
- He chooses to show him His goodness and proclaim the Divine Name.
- It could have been anything.
- God could demonstrate whatever He wanted, but it was His Goodness that God put on display.
4. What did God reveal to Moses?
#1. God is compassionate and gracious.
- If you or your people had just committed the greatest sin of all time, wouldn’t you be thankful for a God who was compassionate and gracious?
- When we forget how sinful we were, we forget how good God was to us.
- Christians should be the most compassionate and gracious people, yet unfortunately Christians are often hateful and mean.
- But if we would consistently reflect upon the God that we serve and love, it will lead us to be compassionate and gracious.
- I didn’t say “more compassionate”… because more speaks of degree.
- Jesus isn’t more compassionate than us, He is Compassion and Grace.
- Our goal isn’t to be more compassionate than the world, our goal is to be like Jesus.
#2. Slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.
- I’m thankful God isn’t a hot head!
- Not only is God not hot-headed; He is slow to anger.
- It doesn’t say that God doesn’t get angry.
- There are some loud voices in Christianity today that says God never gets angry over sin, or pain, or our depravity.
- It doesn’t say God doesn’t get angry, but He is slow to anger.
- This speaks to God’s goodness and rightness in being angry.
- God has a right to be angry.
- And when God is angry, He is just and right in being so.
- God has every right to be angry when we walk in rebellion and sin.
- Yet, he abounds in faithful love and truth.
- This faithfulness is Coventental faithfulness.
- In other words, God keeps His promises and has enough love and truth to abound and overflow.
- In a world desperately needing love and truth, God has more than enough to share.
#3. God is forgiving.
- Moses is desiring God’s glory.
- Instead, God declares to Moses that God is forgiving.
- I know many of us are praying for God to reveal Himself to our community and our nation.
- Maybe you are picturing a great judgment on sin.
- Maybe your picture of a revelation is an angel in the sky, or an earthshattering event.
- What if God wants to reveal Himself, again, as the God who forgives?
- This is what Jesus did: Father forgive them…
- Jesus told His disciples that we all must forgive as God has forgiven us.
- What if the next great move of God did not remove the people we hate but featured their forgiveness?
- Those of us who are forgiven must not forget that we, too, were in need of forgiveness.
- We must not deny forgiveness to others, in light of what God has done for us.
#4. God is just in bringing judgment upon the guilty.
- Not only is God good, and slow to anger, and abounding in love, and forgiving, but He does dispense righteous judgment upon the guilty.
- God can be both loving and a righteous judge.
- There is coming a day when God will judge all of humanity.
- We were all guilty.
- What matters is did we accept forgiveness through Jesus?
- The only difference between forgiven and guilty is the sacrifice of Jesus.
5. An encounter with God awaits us.
- Maybe you are sitting here thinking: This is fine and good but what about me?
- Sure, God is good.
- I’m glad He forgives us.
- But so what?
- What I really need is to see God or something.
- Yet, as amazing as Moses’ experience was, it doesn’t compare to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!
- It’s possible for us to mope around thinking “I wish God still did stuff like that” and forget that what God has given us through the Holy Spirit is ALREADY amazing.
- When Jesus came, that was amazing.
- But He told His followers that something BETTER awaited them.
- That “better” was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- God still desires to reveal Himself to our day and time.
- The ministry of the Holy Spirit makes Jesus alive in us.
- As great as Moses’ experience was, God did not dwell in Him like the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
6. As we long for God’s glory and goodness, can I encourage you to start where God tells us to start?
- We are to start with salvation through Jesus and Spirit Baptism!
- God wants to use you!
- God wants you to draw close to Him.
- You have to be obedient to start where God told you to start.
- Moses had to be obedient to God’s instructions before he would encounter His presence.
- We must be obedient by:
- Loving Jesus.
- Worship, Pray, Devour Scripture.
- Be filled with the Spirit.
- Yield to the Spirit’s leading and Gifts.
- Let God use you!
- Let us not miss out on what God is wanting to do in and through His people and in this time and place.