I usually try to steer clear of generalizations. You know, those generalizations which lump people into stereotypes or pre-judged groups because they bear resemblance or display certain common characteristics. Like what people say about blondes for example … how blondes have more fun! What??? Were you thinking something else people say about blondes?
How about southerners; northerners; racial profiles; republicans; democrats; white collar; blue collar; unions; men; women; the French; musicians; used car salesmen; government employees; preachers; old fogies; young people today; how about those people who usually dress all in black??? … Like my wife for example.
You can easily see that stereotypes and generalizations are seldom if ever accurate. I remember all of the sudden being exposed to more and different people types than ever before. When I got to boot camp I was amazed that people from all over the nation were just like me. Sure there were some differences but more than anything else, we were the same … except for those people from Missouri.
At first I didn’t put much stock in the notion that people from Missouri were generally a bit more stubborn and hard to convince than regular folk but then I got to know a few of them and that didn’t help my argument at all. I kind of felt bad labeling a whole state full of people as being a bit “questiony” but then came to realize that it wasn’t me labeling them … rather … they labeled themselves. Do you know that Missourians even put “The Show Me State” on their license plates and they hold “Show Me State Games” each year to celebrate this attribute of their, a bit overdeveloped sense of “sit back and prove it to me if you can” attitude.
Recently I thought maybe Moses had a bit of that old Missouri grit himself. In fact, if you will turn with me to Exodus 33 I’ll catch us up on what’s happening in the life of Moses around that time.
The year is near 1500 years Before Christ was born. Moses was a little over 80 years old and he had just led more than 600,000 Hebrew men on foot besides the women and children and a mixed multitude of people and their animals (Exodus 12:37-38) out of Egypt and across the Sinai Peninsula. Some estimate in all, not counting animals, there were reasonably 2 million people. Now let me give you a mental picture of 2 million people walking together across a desert. If they walked 100 abreast, the line would stretch out for over 15 miles. That’s a lot of people to manage and certainly Moses had his job cut out for him … but … Moses was also cut out for his job!
By the time we get to the accounts of Exodus 33, the Children of Israel had been in the wilderness for a couple of months and had been sustained by the daily bread which rained down from heaven each morning for food and they drank water which poured from a rock that followed them. These Israelites had heard the voice of God and then they had angered Him by making and worshipping a golden calf idol. Silly people …
A few days earlier God had given Moses the first two tablets on which He had written the Ten Commandments. Those tables of stone were broken by Moses in his anger over the idol worship incident at Mount Sinai. God wanted to separate Himself from these people at that point but Moses pleaded with Him and God agreed not to leave.
Exodus 33:11 So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
One day Moses said to God:
13 "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people."
Show me Your way … We find God’s response to this request in:
Exodus 34: 1 And the LORD said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.”
Give Me something to write on; The written word; God’s Word is His Way
The way of God is still seen in the written Word today. Without regard as to how many times it has been broken, how many idols have been made and worshipped … God’s Word is a Word of redemption and God’s Word is still God’s Way. Give Him your heart and there He will write His Word …
We always find the way in the written Word of God
A second request Moses had of the Lord that day is found in:
18 And he said, "Please, show me Your glory."
Please show me Your glory … For God’s reply look with me in:
5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
7 "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation."
· The name of the Lord; The Glory of God is found in His Name
God’s nature is in His name. Listen to God describing His Glory: The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy, forgiving iniquity and sin, justly judging the guilty from generation to generation.
· Today we need not be confused: (Ask God … He’ll show you!!!)
1. God’s Word is the way.
2. The Glory of God is to be merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth. He keeps mercy and forgives iniquity and sin, but demands we repent or be justly found guilty.