Exodus 33:1-11 / Read
Today we find both a significant challenge and an amazing opportunity as we read and reflect on what God is saying to us through this passage. Through God’s interactions with his people at Mount Horeb, we see the terrifying effects of human pride and restorative power of the Gospel.
Pride is self-love. Pride says that we can - we deserve - to live on our own terms no matter how it impacts others. Pride makes us walk with our heads held high (“stiff-necked”), unwilling to admit that we need others and unwilling to respect those with authority over us.
Pride is self-worship and, therefore, idolatry. We give ourselves the praise due to God and elevate our preferences over his commands. In essence, we tell him that we’re good on our own.
But if and when we grasp the reality of life without God, it is utterly distressing (vv. 4). Our pride fools us to believe that we can make it alone, but how dark and heavy life becomes when God is truly absent! Apart from him, what can satisfy our longings? Who will comfort us when life is crushing? To what will we hold on in the midst of life’s unpredictable change?
The Israelites felt this weight and were terrified. They were convicted of their pride and knew they needed to change. They needed God back as God.
Moses continually stood in contrast to the Israelites as a man willing to humble himself before God - to keep God in his rightful place - and, in turn, enjoyed an intimate relationship with him. The Lord spoke to Moses “face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” (vv. 11)
The great opportunity before us is that Moses’ life can be our life. It was what God intended from the beginning and what he reiterated in the terms of his covenant: “I am your God; be my people. Follow me, worship me, love me and you will enjoy the fullness and blessing of my presence.”
Jesus bore the wrath of human sin in himself “to bring you to God”. (1 Peter 3:18) Those who believe this - who have humbled themselves and believe their need for God’s saving grace - have had their relationship with God restored and can stand with him face to face, speaking to him as a friend. Anytime. Anywhere. No “tent of meeting” required.
What most grabbed your attention from today’s reading and commentary above?
Do you sense God saying anything to you about your relationship with him? Is there anything about your attitude toward him that needs to change?
If you are a follower of Jesus, do you believe that you have direct access to God at any moment? What might you do to live more and more into that reality?