God’s Glory Seen in Christ

“Moses said, ‘Show me Your glory.’ And the LORD said, ‘I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of 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 compassion. But,’ He said, ‘you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.’ Then the LORD said, ‘There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in the cleft of 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 be seen.’” Exodus 33:18-23

Moses was placed in the rock before He could see God’s glory. In the next few verses, God writes down the ten commandments once more, since Moses broke the law the first time (pun very much intended). Yet Moses is given this opportunity to see the glory of God. And how is it? By being placed in the rock.

The rock throughout the old testament is used to describe Christ. In the wilderness, He was pictured in the first rock struck once to give living water to all. Notice Trinitarian salvation here… God says the command (Father’s plan before time began), the Rock is struck (Christ died once for all), and out flows water (Holy Spirit). Also, Christ is pictured as the Rock that was to be asked for water. Moses ruined this picture by striking the rock the second time. Christ was struck once, but now freely gives to all who call upon Him.

Man has no right to see the glory of God. In fact, even having had broken the law (Moses quite literally broke all the laws in his anger toward the Israelites the first time), Moses had no merit to see God’s glory, because of his sin (just like we have no right to see God because of the sin that keeps us from Him).

However, God placed Moses in the rock, which is a picture of the Christ that would come (and for us, has come!), bringing us near to God, not only bridging the gap, but eradicating it entirely, having borne the full weight of punishment on our behalf. He took what we deserved (justice), pardoned us what we deserved (mercy), and has given us what we don’t deserve (grace).

So now, we are able to see God. Maybe not with our physical eyes like Moses, but in Christ, we have been brought to new life, called His children, and one day will pass through this earthly veil to that heavenly realm where we will be with Him for all of eternity, basking in the sunshine of His love and overwhelmed with how glorious He is.

Praise God for Jesus – the rock that was struck once but now freely gives.


3 thoughts on “God’s Glory Seen in Christ

  1. What’s the significance of the twice repeated fact that Moses couldn’t see His face? Or the covering of the hand? Or that God will give compassion and mercy to who He will, implying that He won’t to others or at least it is dependent on Him? Adding those to the metaphor, it seems ‘the rock’ only does a bit of the sheltering (a secondary role compared to the hand) and still Moses only gets a glimpse of the ‘back’ and not the ‘face’. And that God allows this much only to some, instead of freely to those who ask like ‘flowing water’.

    Also Moses is only commanded to speak to the rock in the Numbers account (num. 20:8) of the story and is told to merely strike it in the Exodus account (ex. 17:6).

  2. This is thoughtful and excellent commentary with some great principles drawn from it.

    thanks for sharing this.


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