Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’”
All through the Book of Exodus we see the greatness of God. We see God’s greatness and glory in the burning bush, the ten plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, and more. Perhaps more than any book in the Old Testament we see the power, the glory, the majesty, the grandeur, the sovereignty, and the holiness of our great God.
Then, after all of these incredible events, Moses makes this bold request of God: “Please show me your glory.”
The request reveals Moses’s passion for God. This is not a passion for what God can do for Moses, but a passion for God himself. This is a passion, not for God’s head, but for God’s face. For God himself.
Augustine once wrote: “Give me a man in love; he knows what I mean. Give me one who yearns; give me one who is hungry; give me one far away in this desert, who is thirsty and sighs for the spring of the Eternal Country. Give me that sort of man; he knows what I mean. But if I speak to a cold man, he just doesn’t know what I am talking about.” This describes Moses in Exodus 33.
God loved Moses’ request. And he says “Yes!” But note what God says when he answers: “I will make all my goodness pass before you.” Not his greatness but his goodness. When God reveals the essence of his glory to Moses, he will reveal his goodness. Yes, God’s greatness is vital, but apparently God’s glory is seen primarily in his goodness.
The next morning God does what he promised and reveals his glory to Moses: “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin’” (Exodus 34:5-7a).
When he reveals his glory to Moses, he proclaims his goodness, that he is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and loving, faithful and forgiving.
The glory of our God!