“[Moses] persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.”
Hebrews 11:27 (NIV)
Hebrews 11:27 (NIV)
Have you ever been exasperated and felt ready to quit? That’s how Moses felt when he found out the Israelites had been worshiping a golden calf while he was on a mountain, talking with God. The legendary leader was so angry, he threw the stone tablets upon which were written the Ten Commandments, smashing them to pieces at the base of Mount Sinai.
Moses was exhausted and frustrated by the burden of leading God’s people and He was hungry for a deeper understanding of God’s power and goodness. In Exodus 33:18, Moses boldly asked the Lord, “Now show me your glory.” In other words, Moses desired to know God more fully. He wanted to experience more of God’s presence than he had encountered before. God graciously granted His passionate servant's request. He 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. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back, but my face must not been seen” (Exodus 33:21-23).
I’d like to suggest that God’s phrasing actually illustrates the way we see His active presence manifested today. We don’t see God’s glorious presence revealed before He acts. Just as Moses only was allowed to see God’s back, we only see the after-effects of His glory.
You don’t see Him thundering down from heaven before you get the cancer diagnosis. You see the after-effects of His glory when you come through the treatments and hear the words, “cancer free.” His work on your wayward son’s heart may not be visible to you for years, but you recognize the after-effects of His active presence when your boy quietly walks through the doors of your church sanctuary one Sunday and slips into the seat beside you. You don’t see the light of His presence shining in your daughter’s dorm room as you fearfully pray for God to somehow supply the funds for her college education. You see the after-effects of His glory as she walks across a stage sporting her cap and gown and receives her diploma. You don’t see God’s active presence heading in your direction; you see “His back,” the after-effects of our Lord’s extraordinary glory.
When you feel frustrated and want to quit, ask God to show you His glory, as Moses did. Ask Him to make His active presence more real to you. Then be sure to share the after-effects of His glory with fellow followers of Christ. It is glimpses of His awe inspiring glory that enable us to persevere as Moses did and fulfill our God-given purposes.
Let's encourage one another through whatever struggles we are facing today. What after-effects of our Lord’s active presence are evident in your life?
Adapted from Eyewitnessto Glory: Moses, Discerning God’s Active Presence (Chattanooga, TN; AMG Publishers, 2014),129.