If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people. (Exodus 33:13, NIV)
What a beautiful request! Today, I have made this my prayer. I pray that God would teach me His ways that the desires and longings of my heart may find joy as it drinks from the Fountain of Living Water. I echo what Moses said that I may know the Lord and may I know Him better. I pray that all of us would stop settling and being content with the “mud pies” this world offers and truly enjoy the fullness of God.
I think about the relationship that Moses had with God. I think of all the things Moses got to do and see. What is amazing is that while Moses had his faults and his struggles, he still longed for God. And He desired to know Him more and more. This man only a few verses later asks to see the glory of God (“Now show me your glory.” v. 18) and God shows him.
Throughout this section, Exodus 33:12-23, we see Moses showing his dependence and need for God. We see Moses even say to God “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (v.15) What I love about that is that God just told Moses in the previous verse the “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” But Moses didn’t want to leave without God. He wasn’t willing to go out on his own. He knew that the only way he could leave; the only way the people would be taken care of; the only way he could lead was if the Lord went with him. He was dependent on God to take him to where they needed to go.
That brings me to what Mary and Joseph did when they left Jesus at the temple (Luke 2:41-52). I understand that times were different and they were in a caravan and other factors, but THEY LEFT THEIR CHILD AT THE TEMPLE! Let alone they left the Son of God. They went on with their journey while leaving Jesus behind. And He was left behind for several days.
How often do we do that? How often do we leave Jesus at the temple? How often do we feel like God told us to do something and we go try to do it on our own only to fail? How often do we think we are doing God’s Will, but don’t rely on God to get it done? Every stinking day! Moment by moment I do this. I leave Jesus at the temple.
Another analogy, not that you need anymore, but I think about Jesus coming to my house and I say hello but I head off to work. I leave him at the doorstep. I don’t invite him in to change me. I don’t wait on Him to tell us when to go. I just head right off to my daily routine and leave Him there. Then I come home and there He is. But, I never let Him lead me. I never stopped and said, “If you are not with me, I can’t go do this.” I can’t even walk to the doorstep of work. I can’t do this task. I can’t love my wife like I should. I can’t lead our family. I can’t enjoy your ministry. I can’t even eat. I can’t even breathe if you are not with me. I lose focus of just how much I need God with me at all times.
There are times when I can recognize my independence, but the sin of hurriedness gets in the way. I recognize that I am not dependent on God, yet I don’t wait on Him. I don’t do as Moses did and simply say if you are not with me then don’t even move me from here. And Moses was willing to wait. He was wasn’t going to move until the Presence of God was with them.
Moses also knew what set him and the Israelites apart. He knew that the only thing that “distinguished them” was God (v. 16). That is true for us. We go to work, we go to school, we go to the store and how does anyone know how we are different than they are. Simple, it’s God. The only way people can see a difference is if we let God in, let Him change us, mold us, shape us and transform us. And let Him shine through us. I desperately want non-believers to see a difference in me and the Christian brothers and sisters. That is why I need God with me that I may be different in the way I act, the way I talk, the words I use, the example I set, the way I work. That is hard to do. But, I want to set that example that God can change a wretched sinner like me. While Moses asked God to remember the nation was His people, we need to remember we are God’s children and let God work in and through us.
I really like verse 17 as well, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’” How beautiful is that? I love the reminder of how it applies to us this very day. That while we have failed, while we have made countless mistakes today, God is pleased with us. And all because of Christ, we are His children. He knows us by name and has a plan for us. No matter how little our lives will matter in this world, God calls us valuable. He says we are important and we can make an impact on this world. This verse has reminded me of John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” God did the very thing Moses asked by showing him His glory (v. 23), and God reminds us through Jesus that He will still give us whatever we ask. Because Christ is our mediator and representing us, what an awesome promise Christ made to give us whatever we ask for.
God is pleased with me and us because of Christ. And because of Him we can be found in His favor. But we cannot settle just to know Him or to know Him by name. Then, we will never be satisfied or fulfilled. But, if we seek God and ask Him what Moses asked by saying “…teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you…” then what a beautiful thing will happen when God shows us and teaches us more about Him. What a beautiful joy to know more of the Almighty and have our relationship with Him cultivated in new and exciting ways.
The only way that we can do anything, lead these people, lead at school, lead at work, lead our families, lead at church, lead in our ministry is by waiting on God and not leaving without Him. The only way is if God is with us. He is with me on this journey to know Him better and have these verses take root. The only way they will take root and bear fruit is Him. I am the first to admit I need greater dependence. I need to not leave without Him. One way to know the Father better is to let Him work, let Him lead, let Him teach us and change us. I am willing. God help me be more willing. Help me to know You better.