Exodus 33-35 Please show me your ways that I may know and find favor in your sight

From Exodus 33-35

02 Exodus thumbIn Hebrew culture a person’s name says a lot about their origin and who they are. In today’s passage we consider the progressive revealing of the LORD’s name through Exodus.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

The first time the LORD revealed himself to Moses, Moses asked his name (Ex 3.13-15). The name he was given in Hebrew is transliterated ‘ahyeh ser ahyeh’ – ‘I AM WHO I AM’. This is where we get ‘Yahweh’ from.

The LORD is the living God, he exists, he is eternal.

Later on, during Moses’ dealings with Pharaoh the LORD revealed more of himself to Moses (Ex 6:2–8). God says, ‘I am Yahweh’.

Soon afterward, the LORD says he revealed himself to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as the God Almighty (‘El Shaddai’, ‘God the Mountain One’). Previously the LORD didn’t make himself known by name. Now he has.

Over time the LORD is revealing more and more of himself.

(Biblical Studies Press 2006 The NET Bible First Edition Bible English)
(Biblical Studies Press 2006 The NET Bible First Edition Bible English)

This brings us to today’s passage.

[12] 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 favor in my sight.’

[13] Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.

Consider too that this nation is your people.” (Ex 33:12–13)

The LORD knows him by name and favours him. When the LORD says he knows Moses by name, it reveals more than just a label to identify him. It suggests intimacy in knowing who he is, what he is like and having a relationship with him.

Does the LORD know your name? Are you in his favour?

Moses asks the LORD to show him his ways in order that he may find his favour. It is significant at this point that the LORD has already revealed most of the law to him already. Moses wants to learn more than just the law.

Moses constantly reminds the LORD about the people below, ‘consider this nation is your people’ because the LORD has begun to distance himself after the golden calf incident.

[14] And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

[15] And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. [16] For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” (Ex 33:14-16)

Moses requests again and again that the LORD will be with them. Moses knows the presence of the LORD will make them distinct from other peoples.

The presence of the LORD with God’s people makes them stand out from the world around them.

[17] And the LORD said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” [18] Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” (Ex 33:17-18)

Moses requests to see the LORD’s glory (Ex 14.4,17; 16.7,10; 24.16-17; 29.43).

[19] And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. [20] But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

[21] And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, [22] and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. [23] Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (Ex 33:19–23)

Moses asks for glory and the LORD’s goodness passes by. The LORD’s glory is his goodness. The two are used interchangeably in the passage. If we skip ahead a bit the LORD appears as a man. With hands, back and face.

[6] The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, [7] keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Ex 34:6–7)

The LORD passed before Moses proclaiming his name. The LORD is merciful, gracious, patient, steadfast love, faithfulness, forgiving, and avenger of wrongdoing.

Which of these stands out the most to you?

He keeps steadfast love (loving kindness) over thousands of his people. He remembers and punishes the families of wrongdoers for four generations.

The LORD in revealing more of himself has given a great blessing to Moses and all who follow him. Moses requested that the LORD show him his ways in order that he may learn how to gain his favour. The LORD has revealed his character and what he is truly like. These are the qualities the people of the LORD need to focus on.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.

God is normally hidden from human view because of sin (Isa 59.2; Eze 39.23; Dt 31.18; Mic 3.4) and people cannot know him unless the LORD chooses to make himself known (Job 34.29).

Story of Jesus

The LORD revealed himself and his name to Moses in a special way that he had not done for those before him. In these last days God has revealed more of himself through his Son (Heb 1.2-3).

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (Jn 1:14–18)

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.