Monday, October 25, 2010

thoughts about Exodus 33

Moses meets with God and the whole entrance into the Promised Land is up for grabs. God says He’ll make a nation from scratch out of Moses - scrap Israel and start over. How do you respond to that? A giant “do over” is a golden ticket. I would have been tempted, not just for My Name, but just the practicality of it all. Hey, this has not been working very well, let’s start over. You know the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. It would have been a pretty reasonable move on Moses part to take God up on his offer.
Moses somehow manages to see bigger issues than mission completion or that his legacy at stake. It was about God and His glory. God’s reputation was always the primary end, and how His mission was accomplished was more important than attaining the Promised Land itself.
Moses is totally dialed in. But, to add another layer to it all, God had said He will bring His people in safely to the Land, and will route the enemies of Israel. And that He will send an angel ahead of them to get the work done. On that one alone, I’m probably fine with God’s plan. I’d take a promise of victory with a militant angel running point. But God says He won’t be going with them. I wonder, would I have missed God’s caveat if I had been there. (Victory without God’s presence? Hmm, surely God must know what He is offering. It is His idea, after all. Take the angel and the land, and call it “a deal.”)
But Moses doesn’t shake hands on it. God’s presence is the main thing. “Show me Thy ways…may your presence go with us…Show me Thy glory.” The clear and unmistakable presence of God was what Moses was all about. Nothing else mattered in comparison. Though Moses’ leadership mission was clear, it was more about his connection with God. It had not always been so. Forty years earlier, it was about getting the job done of getting Israel out of Egypt. It made sense, but proved to be a 40 yr cul-de-sac of spinning around the desert with sheep, until the burning bush lit up the landscape and he found himself on holy ground in the presence of God. And after those initial days and weeks where he experienced the power of God’s presence to do what no leader could ever hope to pull off, Moses had now integrated the main thing, the only thing that mattered in spiritual leadership. Try leadership without God’s presence and you are left with strategy, large group maneuvering, and motivation, or maybe just manipulation. For Moses, that was not going to fly.
So now, he meets with God, he is angered by rebellion against God, and he is jealous for God’s glory, whose name is “Jealous.” He waits on God without food or drink in order to write down His commands. He is consumed with meeting God – on the mountain, in the tent - and he spends so much time with Him, that his face shines with His glory. God’s presence and light permeate his life, even physically. His face is lit up by God’s presence. When people see Moses, they see on his face, well the imprint of God, His transforming work brought on by His Spirit.
When other’s look at my face, what do they see? (I mean, except for the freckles and ears that are just a little oversized...) Do they see someone being transformed into His image, someone connected in heart and mind to the Creator and Redeemer? Its a tough question, but one must look in the mirror from time to time and do some honest assessment.