Exodus 33-34:11

10 Mar 2024

Exodus 33-34:11

Passage Exodus 33-34:11

Speaker Ben Tanner

Series Exodus in Lent


Passage: Exodus 33-34:11
Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Our reading this morning is taken from Exodus, chapter 32, starting to read at verse 30. The next day, Moses said to the people, you committed a great sin. But now I will go unto the Lord. Perhaps I can make atonement for your sin. So Moses went back to the Lord and said, oh, what a great sin these people have committed.

They've made themselves gods of gold. But now please forgive their sin. But if not, then blot me out of the book you have written. The Lord replied to Moses, whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. Now go lead the people to the place I sprinkle, and my angel will go before you.

However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin. And that the Lord struck the people with a plague. The curse of what they did with the calf Aaron had made. Then the Lord said to Moses, leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt. And go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, I will give it to your descendants.

I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, perizzites, hierites and Jebusites. Go out to the land flowing with milk and honey. That I will not go with you because you are a sick Mexican, and I might destroy you. On the way, I remember heard Jesus said the Lord had said to Moses, tell the Israelites you are a stiff necked people. If I were to go with you, even for a moment, I might destroy you.

Now take off your ornaments, and I will decide what to do with you. So the Israelites tripped off their ornaments at Mount Hoyah. Now, Moses used to take a tent and pitch it at a camp some distance away, calling it a tent. Or anyone inquiring for the Lord would go to the tent outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood against them to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.

As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of crowd would come down and stay at the entrance. While the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of crowd standing at the entrance of the tent, they all stood and worshipped. Each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend.

Then Moses would return to the camp. But his yearning Joshua, the son of Nun, did not leave the tent. Moses said to the Lord, you have been telling me, lead these people, but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, I made you by name and you have found favour with me. If you are peace with me, teach me your ways that I may name you and continue to find favour in you.

Remember that this nation is your people, the Lord of God. My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Then make a temptation. If your presence is not faithless, do not send us up from this. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and your people unless you can go with us?

What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth? 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. Then Moses said, now show me your glory. And the Lord said, I will cause all my goodness to pass and pray to you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have mercy.

But he said, you cannot see my face, or no 1 may see any more. This is the word of all.

Please do have that package open. It's on your siber sheets if you need it, and that will be helpful for us as we go. It is strange, isn't it, how the same message of Christianity can be so different for different people? The same message of Christianity for some people, it's like this life altering, eternity shaping thing that means that we go through life with a confidence, even if through hard times, and confidence in our Lord for others, it's something that's kind of good and interesting, a culturally part of our life, but perhaps not something that we would think about all that much week to week. For other people, it's perhaps something that.

Well, it's a nice thing, but it's not a me thing. It's nice that there are christians around, but actually, that doesn't really have any pull on me. I don't really know that God that other people seem to be so infused with. What is it that God seems to have a pull on the hearts of some and for others?

What can we mean to this passage? I think it would be really helpful for us as we spend some time together. We're in Exodus. I'll catch you up if you've not been with us. God's people were enslaved to a tyrannical dictator, and he saved them out of that and out of genocide, through raising up this guard Moses, who was going to lead his people out of Egypt.

God's people, the Israelites, they met with God. And God met with their representative, with Moses on the top of the mountain. We see this kind of marriage between God and his people. As God says, what's it going to look like for me to live with you and you to be with me? And then last week we saw, and that is all thrown back in God's face.

God who said, let's be exclusive, don't make other gods look to these people there making a golden calf. You might notice utter betrayal. If God people are getting married at the top of a mountain, well, then the golden calf of last week, it's like an affair on the honeymoon. It's that kind of flat in God's face. This week we see the fallout of that.

What's God going to do? And he says to Moses, what I'm going to do is I'm going to be faithful to my promises. I'm still going to give you the promised land, I'm still going to give you political and financial and physical security. You're going to have all of those things, but you're just not going to have me. I'm not going to go with you because if I go with you, well, I might destroy you.

Such is my sense of justice.

Now I want to pause that for a minute because actually for some of us, some of us, that might sound like quite an intriguing or an enticing offer. God said to you, I can give you financial, physical security, I can give you a number of things, I promise. And actually you don't have to have me. No tabernacle, no sort of desire to pray or need to pray, no need actually to come to God for anything. That certainly they need to be awkward in front of him.

Maybe actually that's something that would say.

I quite like that, actually.

We like the idea of benevolent figure in the sky. Doesn't really have all that much to do with, but kind of gives nice things and stays his distance.

And yet God's people, they react in an interesting way. Did he notice how they reacted when he said that? It's there, number four. When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn. Hello.

And they were just think for a second, that's a strong reaction. It doesn't say when they heard these words, they thought, well, that's suboptimal.

They mourn, you know, the weight of that. This week they mourned the idea of God not going with them. Why? Later on when Moses is talking with God, he says that if you don't go with us, we want to stay here we forego all of those blessings will essentially wither in the wilderness, because without you, we don't want to go see. Moses has picked up on the people, picked up on something.

The people have picked up that the presence of God's glory and the praise of God's glory right at the heart of who they were going to be. The presence of God's glory and the praise of God's glory is right at the heart of who they were designed to be. And it's at the heart of who you're designed to be. Let's have a little look. Verse seven.

Little number seven. Now, Moses used to take tents and picture outside the camp at some distance away, calling it the tent of meeting. He's no longer kind of going up and down the mountain like a yo yo. He's meeting with God in a tent. A precursor to this.

This one that we looked at a few weeks ago. And anyone inquiring with the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out of the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrance to their tent, watching Moses until he entered the tent. Why? Well, we hear the pillar of cloud comes and stands in front, and what do they do?

Skip on a verse or two. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they all stood and worshipped. Each at the entrance to their tent, they stood and they worshipped. You see, God has created us as people who are meant to see the presence of God and to worship him. Now, some of us might be here, frankly, because, you know, mums would like us to be.

And if that's you, thank you for coming. It's great to have you here. If that is you, you might want to think, what is it about God who would create people whose purpose is to worship him? That sounds a bit like the kind of pharaoh is in the start of the story. Kind of a bit full of himself, perhaps.

Let me just quickly explain. So, within this passage, actually, there are hints that God is not a single person. God is a happy family. God is a holy spirit, and they are constantly pouring out love and adoration and glory of worship on each other. That's how the Godhead works, this beautiful, affirming, loving and worshipping community.

And so it's not that God is without worship before he creates humanity. So it's not that God needs worship from his people. That's not why he's made us to be worshippers. So why, then has he made, perhaps accept? I think the answer is, what's happening today.

It's mothering Sunday, isn't it? That mothering Sunday is the time of day when you sit there and you go, oh, God, I guess I've got to say thank you. That's not. Of course it's not. It's a day when we don't see something that's beautiful, motherhood.

And what do we do? We enjoy saying thank you, saying, oh, wow, this is a beautiful thing in creation. What do we do? We praise the wonderful gift of motherhood. And actually we enjoy doing it, or we should do, because praise of something completes our joy in it, doesn't it?

When you enjoy something, you spontaneously praise it. You see that little baby and you pick her up and you say, why isn't she beautiful? You show it to other people. Oh, you see that beautiful wheel? And you say, look at that.

Wow, that's fantastic. Or you do an amazing snowballing run and you look back at it and you go, oh, that was awesome, wasn't it? Because when we love something, we praise it and it depicts the enjoyment of it.

The amazing thing here is that God creates us to worship him, because to worship him is to feel, is to fulfil our deepest joys and deepest ones, as we truly see the beauty of God, as we see his glory, his presence there, that will be the very thing that we were created for, to give him glory and to enjoy him forever as the old sort of catechism.

But how do you do that? Some of you are sitting there and go, I love the idea. I love the idea of overflowing with joy and praise of God. But how I do that? How do I see his glory?

Well, there are four things in this passage, of which the fourth is the most important. So I'll fly through the first three things. What is it about people? Well, firstly, when they hear that God's not dealing with them, they do a really interesting thing. They take off their ornaments.

God says, take off your ornaments. Why is that? Some of you will remember back to last week, they made the golden calf. They don't remember what they made it out of. Gold.

Golden ornaments. Yeah. And they took their wealth and they put it into a golden car to worship them. Now, why is it that God has hit off your ornaments? Well, because often, if we want to know what it is that we are adoring and worshipping, follow your ornaments, those treasured things that, you know.

If you want to know what you worship in life, look actually at your banks base. That's a wonderful revelation of your soul. You want to know, if you value comfort above all things, well, look at your bank statement. Maybe you're spending your money on that. Actually, it's often a way that we know that we are.

Those parents love kids. If you love your kids, it is reflected in your bank statement. I can tell you that lots of people in the Old Testament, they're given this instruction of 10% of what they have. That's not because God needs it, but it's because God knows actually where you are. Ploughing your money is where your heart is going to be.

It might be that you're here in your day and. And actually that's a challenge to you. Where are you spending your money? You want to see God's glory? You want to worship him?

What are you worshipping instead? That's the first thing. Let me go on very quickly to the second thing. The second thing makes what Moses says as he speaks with God, he makes actually two requests. The first is there in verse 13.

If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so that I may know you and continue to find favour with you. It might be that you're here and you're one of those folks who would say, I kind of know a lot about Christianity stuff, but it doesn't really grip my soul. And if that's the case, let me ask you, what is the God who is not gripping your soul? What's he like? You see, quite often I speak with friends of mine who don't believe in God.

And the kind of God that they don't believe in is kind of them with a bit of spiritual, kind of spiritual sprinkled on the side, a kind of marble version of them. They're a bit stronger, maybe a little bit less rough around the edges. And what they do is they kind of grave God to be, be like that. And of course that's not glorious if your version of God is you, but a bit bigger, of course that's not glorious because you know what you're like. You know the good things and the bad things.

That's not a God that's going to capture your heart and draw you to worship. Moses doesn't say, let me make you. I mean, he says, teach me your ways.

Teach me your ways. Let me look at you, let me listen to you, let me find out those places, God, where actually you are different to me or you disagree with me, let you define yourself and broaden my view of you further than I would ever do so on my own. Let me come to you and listen to you and your word even when that makes me uncomfortable, let me know. You doing that?

The Lord God's glory. Touch your heart. You actually look at him. You do anything for a whole week. If you call yourself a Christian, if you're interested in this stuff, are you pursuing it or you just kind of leave it on the slide?

That's the second thing. Third thing. He asks to see God's glory. Do you see that? Show me your glory.

He says there in verse 18. Now show me your glory, God. Show me how glorious you are. That'd be a great prayer. Pray between now and Easter day.

God, please show me how glorious you are. Show me what it means to seek your glory. Show me your glory. Show my church your glory. Show my friends your glory, that they might be on you.

Most importantly, he allows God to show his glory. Now, what we see here is a partial view of God's glory. He says, you can't see my face. You can see my back. Do you want to talk more on that?

You can talk out of the service. You can see my back. I'm going to show you part of my drawing. And many of you will know. The way that God does this is he takes mazes and he actually puts him in a cleft of the rock, like a light rock is coming around.

And he puts his hand over, walks past, proclaiming his name, and he shows that maze back. Why, it's almost as if God's kind of protecting him, shielding him from God's glory. How is it that he is shielded? Why isn't he shielded? Why can't I see more?

Well, this goes back to the problem at the start. I remember God saying, I can't go with you, not even for a moment, because you're sitting at people. And my love does. This means, I will destroy you.

Moses, actually, he has a bit of an idea about how things might be put right in God. And we saw that right at the very start of the reading. What is it that Moses asks at the end of chapter 32? He says, verse 32, but now, please forgive blessings, but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.

I was trying and make things right for our people. And that takes you, God, a blotting me out of your book, so that somehow am I being blotted out might make things right? That's what happens. So be it.

I just had the right idea of the wrong person. In a few minutes time, we're going to come to a table where we're going to have a meal of bread and wine. That meal is speaking of the first Good Friday, the first Good Friday when what did jesus do? Jesus was like that clapped in the rock, the protected Moses. Jesus there dies.

He dies the death that you and I deserve. All the rebellion that we make against God for the ways in which we act injustly in this world and for all the messed upness that we have. And there as he does that, he provides a shield. A shield like the cleft of the rock that says, and now you can behold God's glory and not be peremptor, not feel his right. God, I'm going to be a shield for you so that you can behold the very glory of.

And beholding him, you can worship him and worshipping him, you find. You find the very thing that you remain.

I say that's the most important because none of the rest works without it. You can give all your money away, you can talk of praying, to drive, you can even read the Bible. But if you don't ask Jesus to be the person who will shield you and show you God's glory, but he has. He has done. And so what?

Well, so on this mother in someday, on this, this day of highs and lows and relations, on this day, let me invite you in, my Jesus. You're a hero. And God doesn't really brick your heart because actually you don't know that Jesus, if you don't know that Jesus, and I'm really happy to talk to you about that and your heart is cold, look at those other things. There are other things, but are you listening to him? Are you leading on him?

Are you serving him with your whole life? With your treasures? Are you asking to see his glory?

I wasn't going to say this, but I think I'll go very briefly.

I've been involved with a number of approach to death this week. It was an honour and a privilege to sit with Ken and Rebel and to see the difference that this made about. Thank you, Saviour Jesus. Ken spoke knowing of the day when he will see Jesus today we see his glory and we delight in it. But let me tell you something.

Our brother can see him more clearly than you do or I do. And he knew that. And therefore he approached his dad with confidence.

It was an honour to sit with him and to pray with others and to pray with the family because they knew that. They knew that this makes all the difference, makes a difference in life and it makes a difference in death. And one day, if we're trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ, if we are in that craft of the rock that we will not only see him again, those loved ones who have gone before us, but we will stand and we will behold and we will worship our saviour and there we will find the very purpose for which we will create.

Oh heavenly Father, thank you. Thank you so much for Jesus. Thank you that he is big enough and glorious enough that we could gaze on his beauty, on your beauty for all eternity. Father, I pray for those of us for whom our hearts feel cold or hard or distant. For us for whom you feel like a theory that not a person.

Father, I pray that you would help us to behold your glory, that we would find our purpose and our deepest joy in serving our Lord Jesus, in worshipping you and completing your joy.

Help us to do that I pray, Father. Lord, kids that are Henry, help us to identify them and with you. In Jesus name, amen.