Good Monday morning! I have to tell y’all the craziest thing. Mary and I were looking over our remaining days of study, and I can’t believe it but were are actually nearing the end! I have to be honest with you, this has been hard for me. Not bad hard, but good hard. Time consuming hard. Overwhelming hard. Anytime you do anything for the first time, it’s challenging. You know what I mean, right? Considering its’ difficulty, you would think I would be ok with the study winding down; but I have to say that as I looked at our last few days together, I felt a lump in my throat coming on. It even surprised me! I think it has something to do with our remaining topics that we have before us (some of them are heart-breaking), but I think it also has something to do with just simply “the end” approaching. I do not like endings. Even happy endings are still sad endings…because they are endings! There will be plenty of time for me to be all sentimental at the end of our study, but know in advance, my heart is already overflowing! Our last day is scheduled for April 13, where we will say good-bye to our faithful Moses…see, there is that lump in my throat again! Thanks for coming along with us friends, we have been so honored! Now let’s get started with this week…
A Look Ahead this Week:
Monday: The New Stone Tablets & the Radiant Face
Homework: Read Numbers 1
Wednesday: Numbers…so what’s the point?
Homework: Read Numbers 13&14
Friday: Report of the Land- they rebel
Homework: Read Numbers 20:1-13
Exodus 34: The New Stone Tablets and the Radiant Face of Moses:
Last week Amy was so gracious to cover for me as I was MIE (Missing In Europe) and I hope you have had a chance to read her thoughts from Friday on Exodus 33. Today we get a front row seat as God grants Moses’ bold request from the previous chapter and physically passes in front of Moses.
I have to agree with Amy from last week and say again that the beginning of Chapter 34 is like Chapter 33 in that it is almost too huge to even touch. Conversely however, it is also too huge to ignore. Can you imagine this scene? Moses hiding in the rock; God, standing there in the cloud-proclaiming His Name. It’s kind of surreal, is it not? The Lord certainly chose to offer specifics in His title (compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and forgiving) in light of the events that had just taken place in Exodus 32. It’s no wonder Moses’ response was to hit the ground and worship. That kind of encounter merits nothing short of complete humility and reverence. Today however, let’s focus on the effect this kind of communion with the Lord had on Moses and further, allow the apostle Paul to shed some light (no pun intended J) on what this means for us.
When Moses came down from spending time with the Lord, he was literally glowing. So “radiant” was he that everyone was afraid to even come near him. It became disturbing to the point that Moses finally had to put a veil over his new, shiny complexion (Ex. 34:33). Wouldn’t that be great if spending time in the Word had that effect on us today? Just think, you could sit in church and know how much time your pastor spent preparing the sermon by how much light he was emitting! You could also judge the most Godly people to seek advice from or which people you should hang around if you wanted to stay out of trouble just by measuring their “watts output.” It’s a funny thought, and one, I admit, I’m actually glad isn’t reality since I would probably be just as freaked out as the Israelites.
In his second letter to the Corinthians however, Paul explains that there actually is some truth to this bright idea.
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3)
So, maybe we all should be glowing a little after all. Of course, Paul does not mean a literal “radiance,” but figuratively he explains in this chapter that once we are in Christ, we are not to imitate the Israelites’ fear of God’s glory, but instead to proclaim it! In fact, Paul tells us that for those who have been set free from the old covenant by Jesus, God has “made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor 3:6).” This radiance probably won’t be physical, but these verses promise that we have the ability to reflect Christ and to “shine like stars in the universe as (we) hold out the word of life (Phil 2:15-16).” What an illuminating connection Paul makes between the old and new testament (I’m sorry, I can’t help it).
Seriously though, what does that look like for you and me today? How are we practically to reflect God’s glory and the freedom we have in Christ to others? Of course there are all of the obvious answers: good deeds, sharing the gospel, and loving your neighbor as yourself; all beautiful ways to reflect the love of Christ. But in order to seek the Lord’s specific will for your life or for mine, let’s not find ourselves in the trap of suddenly “earning” our salvation by creating a list of “works.” Instead, let’s start by simply following the example of Moses. His radiance didn’t come from what he did, but from boldly entering into the indescribable presence of the Lord. You see, there is no substitute for spending time in prayer and reading the Word of God. I can look at my own life and see a direct correlation between how accurately I reflect the Holy Spirit and how faithful I have been in carving out time each day to sit at the feet of Jesus. Lately, I have been so overwhelmed with getting settled in our new home that I regretfully admit that I have not made spending time alone with God my top priority. And, as my children and husband will testify, it shows! But what should I expect? How can I pour out the Holy Spirit if I’m not being filled up daily? And please, do not make excuses for me. When my friend Jessica was once asked how to faithfully spend time in the Word she replied, “You have to fight for it!” That is so true. We are all busy, tired, and overwhelmed at times. Don’t let that be an excuse to skip out on God, but instead be the ammunition to fight even harder. These are the times that we need Jesus more, not less. If we desire to reflect God’s glory as Moses did, let’s start by asking Him to give you (and me) the strength and desire to seek and know Him more, allowing Him to renew our minds through His Word. Then we can discern His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
So this is how I am praying for us as I type:
Lord, let us be the light of the world, a town built on a hill that cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. (From Matthew 5:14-16)
Go for it girls! Our future is looking brighter already!
Your homework for next time is to read Numbers 1.
If you would like to subscribe to this study (and all the other stuff I write about here at Playing Sublimely) click here to do so, or go to the top right hand column of this page to enter your email address.