Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Power and Grace

Exodus 33 is a story that describes God's power juxtaposed with grace. Moses and the Israelites are at Mount Sinai, where God gave Moses the law. God then commanded Moses to take the Israelites to Canaan. In the first verse, the Lord said to Moses, “Go, leave this place, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, and go to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’  I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, or I would consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Exodus 33: 1-3( NRSV emphasis mine).

Then, in Exodus 33: 12-13, Moses said to the LORD, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” (NRSV emphasis mine)

God is mighty. More mighty than we ever can imagine—God's might can consume us, and we, also, are certainly a stiff necked people! Yet what does Moses do? He does not cower in fear, and feel sorry for himself, but he asks for the LORD's favor. Moses asks to be shown God's ways in order that Moses could know God and find grace in God's sight.

How amazing! We have the same privilege that Moses had to stand before God, whose very presence can consume us, and ask to know Him better. And the LORD will honor our request. That is the power of God. That is the grace of God.