Exodus 33 – It’s Not Enough… Or Is It?

Wow, Timmy made me think yesterday. Risking our own salvation for the salvation of our friends and family members is huge! Moses’ left us a good example of how to be humble and think of others. But was it enough to ask God to forgive the Israelites for worshiping the cow? Or was there more he could do?

1The Lord said to Moses, “Get going, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I told them, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ 2And I will send an angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 3Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I did, I would surely destroy you along the way.”

4When the people heard these stern words, they went into mourning and stopped wearing their jewelry and fine clothes. 5For the Lord had told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and fine clothes while I decide what to do with you.” 6So from the time they left Mount Sinai, the Israelites wore no more jewelry or fine clothes.

7It was Moses’ practice to take the Tent of Meeting and set it up some distance from the camp. Everyone who wanted to make a request of the Lord would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp.

8Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would get up and stand in the entrances of their own tents. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside. 9As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10When the people saw the cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they would stand and bow down in front of their own tents. 11Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.

Moses Sees the Lord’s Glory

12One day Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ 13If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”

14The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”

15Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

17The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”

18Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”

19The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. 20But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. 22As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”


We see in this chapter that God tells Moses to move on, to keep moving forward with the people into the Promised Land. But Moses can’t go alone, without God’s presence.  God now informs Moses that he should lead the people “which you have brought out of the land of Egypt” into the Promised Land. God would no longer accompany them. Moses now takes up the tabernacle from the midst of the camp and sets it “up some distance from the camp” indicating that God’s presence had left the people. It is at this point that Moses speaks directly with God seeking His will concerning the people. The text says that God assures Moses that He would go with them in their conquest of Canaan, but Moses was not satisfied and wanted God to recognize them as “your people” (Ex 33:15-16). He wanted God to claim the Israelites as His people. Therefore, Moses was not satisfied and knew it was not enough to intersect for them, he needed God to reclaim His people as His! But you see, the covenant God made with the Israelites was based on conditions. The worship of the cow was treason against God.  We see that a lot depended on their obedience and it is the same for us today. Although we are saved by the sacrifice of Christ, He asks us to keep his commandments if we love Him (John 4:21). I think it’s fair game because God not only promises us a life of abundance, He answers His promises, offers eternal life BUT it is all up to us to make the decision.  The thing to be thinking of is: time is running out. The bible and prophecy tells us that the end is near and Jesus will soon return!

But have you ever felt absolutely separated from God after falling away from Him like the Israelites felt? Went into mourning because you did things you weren’t supposed to? I have…but the beauty of this chapter is that, no matter the seriousness of the offense, God honors His servant Moses’ “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” What a gracious God we serve! Moses longs to have even further confirmation of God’s promise and reassurance that God would be with Him and so he pleads, “show me your glorious presence” because it was not enough for him. No fallen man can stand in the presence of God face to face, but mutual respect and Moses’ purity of heart at this moment brought the Creature and creator together. Do you want to feel God’s close presence in your life today? Put away all sin, take off all the ornaments that surround your life that might separate you from Him and ask Him to make Himself evident in your life. The same God who passed before Moses as he was hid in the cleft of a rock can reveal Himself to you. He is the same gracious Jesus who came to save you from your sins. Think about how satisfied you are with your current relationship with Jesus..is it close enough?

There is always room for spiritual growth in my life. God bless.

Alejandra Zepeda

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


One thought on “Exodus 33 – It’s Not Enough… Or Is It?

  1. Pingback: First ever Blog Award | A Taste of Daily Candyfloss

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