“And Moses said to Yahweh, ‘See, you said to me, ‘lead this people up.’ But you did not reveal to me who you were going to send with me. And you said, ‘I have known you with a name and you have found favor in my eyes.’ And now, if I have found favor in your eyes, reveal to me your ways so that I may know you and so that I may find favor in your eyes. And understand that your people are this nation.’”
This in itself is a remarkable way to begin any passage; that a holy and pure God would condescend to interact personally with sinful men—especially in light of what has just happened with the golden calf incident! Yet this is part of the character of God. He is willing to condescend to us and to meet our needs, fallen as we are. By their apostasy, Israel had given up any legitimate claim they could have made to God’s favor (though no sinful man truly deserves God’s favor, but only wrath). Moses had sought to mediate for them with his own life, but God would not allow it (for the life of the Great Mediator was already committed for his people; Jesus had agreed even before the creation of the world to come in the flesh and to die for the elect). Yet, while God’s people deserve wrath, God chooses to show mercy upon them. This setting itself helps us to frame and to understand just what God means in verse 19, when he speaks of his showing compassion on those to whom he wishes to show compassion.
Beloved, do not take this lightly or casually. All too often we don’t take seriously enough the privilege we have in coming to God in prayer. Here is a God who is all-together otherworldly; he has no sin; he is infinite; and he is infinitely holy—everything we are not. Yet, God chose to come in the flesh that might know him and he chooses to listen when his people pray. Though, sometimes I wonder whether we really believe that when we go to pray. When you come before the High King of creation upon your knees, do you do so with an understanding that He is listening to you and is indeed present with you as you pray? Beloved, he is.
Friends, revel in the time you have to pray; never take for granted the access that you have to the throne room of God. It is a gift of his grace bought at the cost of the life of his Son. We could never pay the price that this wonderful privilege, but he gives it to those who ask for free. Oh, what wonderful God we have—who listens when we pray.