Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”
– Exodus 33:18-23 NASB
This passage foreshadows the coming of Jesus Christ.
As you can see, this incident takes place between Moses and God. It begins with Moses requesting to see God’s glory. God uses a crevice in a large nearby rock to shield Moses from the brightness that will be passing by, also putting His hand over the crevice. God then tells Moses that he won’t be able to see God’s face when it passes, but will be able to see God’s back after His glory passes. We can picture a very bright light passing the scene and Moses being shielded from it until it is safely passed. It feels like not being able to look at the sun at high noon but then being able to gaze on the sunset later.
This physical event was to foreshadow God’s coming to earth as a human being. The apostle John alluded to it in the beginning of his gospel when he wrote:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
– John 1:14 NASB
People did not know Jesus was God when He walked by. They knew He was special. They knew God was working through Him in a unique way. But it was only after He passed that we could see that He…was…God.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, You came to earth for our sake. You allowed Yourself to be rejected by us in the most painful and humiliating way imaginable – all to demonstrate beyond any doubt that You love us…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.