The rule in my home growing up was that, if you got spanked at school (which still happened in the 70’s), you got spanked at home. When my Mom found out that I had been disciplined at school (which happened more than once!), she would say, “Wait until your father comes home.” Those were long, unhappy hours of waiting and wondering “What is Dad going to do?” In fact, the dreadful anticipation of what Dad might do was often worse than the reality.
Now go back to the Israelites camped out at Mount Sinai. They had sinned against Yahweh by lasciviously worshipping a pagan god. Moses had averted their complete destruction by interceding for them. But then at the beginning of Exodus 33 God told Moses to go on and lead the people to Canaan “…but I will not go with you” (33.3). This was the worst possible news.
In response, Moses made one of the best decisions of his life by refusing to go anywhere. He wasn’t about to try and lead the Israelites without God.
So, the whole nation just waited and wondered, “What is Yahweh going to do with us? What’s going to happen to us?” They took off all their jewelry and finery. When Moses went to talk with God, they all stood at the entrances to their tents and watched and prayed, waiting and wondering.
We’re not sure how long this excruciating waiting lasted. Eventually, Moses worked up the courage to make a speech to Yahweh about it. Here’s my paraphrase...
“God, these are your people, not mine. I’m not going anywhere unless you go with me. You said that I have found favor in your eyes. Now please go with us.” (For the real thing read 33:12-17).
God replied, “I will do the very thing you have asked...” YES! What a relief! The dreadful waiting and wondering was over.
The question is, why did God agree to go with the people?
God tells Moses, “…because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Moses found favor with God and, as a result, all the people whom Moses represented enjoyed the benefit of God’s presence.
Does this sound familiar? It should.
On two occasions during the life of Jesus, God spoke audibly from heaven, declaring his pleasure in His Son Jesus (Matt. 3:17; 17:5). Jesus found favor in God’s sight, in a much more complete and perfect way than Moses did. As a result of Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father, all those who are “in Christ” enjoy the full benefit of God’s presence in their lives. Through faith in Jesus, we become “co-heirs” with Him, inheriting what he deserves for his obedience. Our whole hope is wrapped up in Jesus having found favor in God’s sight.
Moses’ life was a shadow of the reality which is found in Jesus.
Now the challenge is to live up to this grace and calling which we have received. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us today.