Show Me Your Glory, part 19: The Hand of God and the Cleft of the Rock

“And Yahweh said, ‘Behold, there is a place beside me and you will stand upon the rock.  And while my glory passes over, I will set you in the crevice of the rock and I will hold protectively my hand over you until I pass by.  Then I will turn aside my hand, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.’”

(Exodus 33:21-23)

 

Once again, God covers his people.  We need to be reminded of this over and over as we struggle with doubt and sin.  God protects them even from eternally falling away and he protects them even from the things that are too wonderful to know!  One may not see the face of God and live—though that might be the heart of Moses, it would be too much for Moses’ eyes to handle.  Thus, God covers him.  Oftentimes we want to know more of God’s plan or more of God’s glory than is good for us to know.  We sometimes get frustrated that God does not give us a crystal ball to see our futures.  Where will I go beyond seminary, what will my son grow up to be, what effect will my ministry have…  These are things that would likely harm us were we to know them.  Thus we must recognize that sometimes God closes our eyes to some of these truths for our own protection. 

At the same time, here is Moses in the presence of the transcendent God of creation.  That prospect, in itself, ought to cause us to cringe!  Who are we, oh sinful man, to approach such a God.  Yet, Moses did in faith, and God preserved him with his hand.  Sometimes I think that we take the prospect of coming before the transcendent God a little too lightly.  Admittedly we do not stand on Mount Sinai in the presence of God, surrounded by his glory-cloud, but we do go before his throne in prayer and in worship.  While we ought to revel in the privilege, we also ought to see it as the awesome privilege it is and to recognize that it is God’s Son that is protecting us from being consumed by the wrath of a Holy God as we come before him in all of our fallen-ness.  Oh, dear Christian, what a God we have.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,

A wonderful Savior to me;

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,

Where rivers of pleasure I see.

 

With numberless blessings each moment he crowns,

And filled with a fullness divine,

I sing in my rapture, O glory to God

For such a Redeemer as mine!

 

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock

That shadows a dry, thirsty land;

He hideth my life in the depths of his love,

And covers me there with his hand,

And covers me there with his hand.

-Fanny Crosby

 

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