Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. – Exo. 33:21-22 NIV
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Moses in the course of his leading the Israelites to the Promise Land had formed the habit of pitching a tent outside the camp, which he called the Tent of Meeting, where Israelites who desire the counsel of the Lord will go to meet with him regularly. He also will often go inside this tent to meet with the Lord with the pillar of cloud stationed at the entrance at such times. Joshua, his assistant remained inside the tent whenever Moses leaves to return to the camp.
It was during one of these meetings with the Lord that Moses seized an opportunity that presented itself to make place personal requests before the Lord by letting the Almighty God realise that even though he had commissioned him to lead the people,
- God was yet to let him know who was going with him – Exo. 33:12.
- God was yet to teach him His (God) ways so he would not run foul of His laws – Exo. 33:13a.
He also in addition pleaded with the Almighty God not stop considering the Israelites as His people – Exo. 33:13b.
The Almighty God responded by informing Moses that His presence will go with them just as Moses made it clear that they have no intention to move if His presence was not going with them – Exo. 33:15-17. God’s agreement with Moses on his requests and His comments on being happy with Moses was quickly exploited by Moses who immediately asked that God allow him see His Glory – Exo. 33:18. The Almighty God also responded, letting him know that;
- He will cause His goodness (glory) to pass before him (Moses).
- He will announce Himself as the Lord while passing by.
- It remains His sole discretion to decide whom He chooses to have compassion on.
- He will not allow Moses to see His face as no one can see His face.
- Moses may however see His glory which He (God) will reveal to Moses if he could stand on a rock close to the Lord.
Of all the encounters of Moses with the Almighty God , this brief encounter and the content of the conversation he had with God, arguably formed the foundation of the solid and successful relationship that Moses had with the Lord and the exalted position that the Israelites of then and now place Moses in.
There is no doubt that the Christian today who also wishes to have a successful journey with the Almighty God can pick one or two guiding principles from this conversation between God and Moses.
Moses no doubt like many Christians, desired to see the glory of God and he did not hide that part of his mission as he quickly seized the opportunity of the mood of that conversation to express that personal desire. To see the glory of God in one’s life may be physical or spiritual. Most times, the world see the glory of God from the perspective of physical achievements but the glory of God must be seen also from the perspective of achieving spiritual achievements in a divine manner.
It was definitely a desire that he had been nurturing but only presented at the right moment by exploiting the mood of the conversation and was granted, though with the conditions that he must be standing on a rock, not just any rock, but a particular rock that was close to the Lord and which God Himself identified with.
This has remained a condition over the ages for anyone who desires to see the glory of God. There may be indeed many foundations that seem like rocks to man, but the Almighty God, like in the case with Moses recognised only one which he said was close to Him.
There is no doubt that this rock has also being revealed over time to be Jesus Christ who himself in one of his teachings encouraged all who wish desire to have a glorious and successful life, to build such lives on his words which he describes as the rock as any other foundation will be sandy foundation – Matt. 7:24-27. As revealed in today’s devotion, the primary step which the one who desires to see God in his/her life, must take will be to build a foundation on the Word of God. This Word itself is Jesus Christ as further revealed in the scriptures – Jn. 1:1-3.
It may however be a difficult journey still, if there is no proper understanding of this Word. One may truly desire to stand on the Word but mere awareness of its existence will not be sufficient. There must be a teaching process at every stage of the journey, not only to explain the new experiences using the Word as the yardstick but also relating them with past knowledge. That was, just as Moses put it, the only way the Christian will continue to know God and access His favour. Jesus Christ was very much aware of this requirement for man to be successful in life, which was why he made a provision for the Holy Spirit to fill that role in Christian lives – Jn.14:26; 16:5-16. Whoever desires to have a successful journey with God must ask for this Holy Spirit to provide appropriate and up-to-date knowledge required to negotiate those critical paths that are integral to success in life. Moses asked God for it and got it. You will also need to ask for the modern day teacher of the believer and you will get it – Acts 2:36-39. This is the same Holy Spirit that will remain and go with the Christian on their journey so that they will not be left like orphans – Jn. 14:18-24.
Although having the Holy Spirit will be a normal occurrence for as long as the Christian remains standing on the rock, there is the need to know that the Almighty God still holds the final decision on whom he chooses to have compassion on. To have compassion is to have pity or be sympathetic to ones cause, to the point of trying to provide a relief of some sorts. Walking with God in the Holy Spirit guarantees success with spiritual tasks and not success as defined from human perspective. It is at the Almighty God’s discretion to decide whom He wants to show compassion. The Christian must realise that operating with this template may not guarantee success the way the world see it so need not conclude that they have failed if for example, they are not rich financially, or do not have children or other worldly possessions. Those are achievements that come with the decision of God to have compassion on whom He chooses to have compassion on, for a reason best known to Him. Your success in life cannot be judged from the way the world see success but from achieving divine goals of life. Lazarus may not have been rich but made it to the kingdom of God just as Stephen was not a sinner and he was stoned to death. Moses despite his closeness to God could not force his entrance into the Promise land just as King David with all his actions remained one whom God never stopped expressing His love for. He did not even with compassion save His only Son from painful death, after all that is the divine purpose of his coming into the world. It remains his discretion to show compassion and being a beneficiary of his compassion is not in anyway a proof that such is walking with God.
Do all you can to have God with you on your journey in life by operating in these principles of Moses and as refined by Jesus Christ, and you can rest, assured that you will live a fulfilled life of success in the Lord in Jesus name. Amen.