‘You have said “I know you by name and you have found favour with Me.” If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with You…’ Exodus 33v12-13
May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us and establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90v17
Its a nice ‘co-incidence’ to be back at Psalm 90 again – the psalm attributed to Moses – because this is my 90th post! Phew – amazing. Much appreciation to those of you who have been with me from the start – its been a prolific 6 months! I am ‘blessed and highly favoured among women’ 🙂
It seems Moses really knew about the importance of God’s favour. He knew that the key to life, to having our work established, is to live continually under the incredible favour of the Father’s blessing. Everything else flows from it – which is why it was His most fervent prayer. Notably here in Exodus 33, when he could have been asking for all sorts of other things, he is found saying, ‘Lord, if you are really pleased with me, this is my request: my greatest desire, is that you show me your heart, your motives, your ways of doing things, the things that make you happy… so that I can continue to please you’!
Its like being able to use your last wish to have as many other wishes as you like! Immediately the Lord changes His mind about not going with Israel but sending an angel instead: ‘My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest’ Exodus 33v24. This is a complete reversal of what He had just said! Then, perhaps knowing he’s on a roll, Moses says: ‘Now show me your glory’! And again the Lord answers him, revealing Himself in a hitherto unseen way, proclaiming His Name and character on the holy mountain-top.
This kind of favour has to be because God loves that kind of relationship: He can’t resist it – it is what He is looking for. Moses was ‘the most humble man on the face of the earth’ (Numbers 12v3): his submission and reverence, his obedience and yielded-ness of heart, his honesty and courage made his whole life a prayer that attracted God’s presence. He is the archetypal intercessor, carrying his people on his heart, tagging onto the end of his intimate prayer for continued favour, ‘Remember too that this nation is your people‘. He truly carried them all into the glorious cloud/courts of heaven with him! God saved them because of Moses.
‘God made known his ways to Moses, (but only) his deeds to the people of Israel’ Psalm 103v7. To stay in God’s favour, to know His blessing and enjoy His ear, we do have to go that little bit deeper – not just view things from the outside, point at them from a distance, but enter into heart relationship. I suppose it’s the same as any special friendship that deepens with mutual self-revelation. Jesus Himself said: ‘the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth’ John 4v22-24.
David also knew it: ‘The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes them to know His covenant’ Psalm 25v14; ‘Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame’ Psalm 34v5. This would seem to be a clear reference to Moses who had to cover his shining face with a veil so as not to dazzle people after spending time meeting face to face with God (2 Corinthians 3v7,13). Now we are all called to live in that favour and blessing, children of grace becoming like our Father, as ‘we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory and are transformed into his image, with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3v18.
I maintain that this is going to look different in different people’s lives and experience: it’s not always the same revelation of shining glory. Other Bible characters also knew God’s favour – Esther, Hannah, Mary, Abraham, Daniel, the people who were healed by Jesus – and they each had different revelation and testimony – a child, a people delivered, a body made whole. We must each be faithful to the particular revelation of God we have received (please see the Bee in my Bonnet on this). But Moses helps us see the centrality and importance of seeking the favour of the Lord. It’s the sunshine that breaks out from behind the clouds and the silver lining in the storm.