Aug 22 2011 - E100.22d – Exodus 34:1-35, Reflected glory
Once again Moses has to climb Mount Sinai to meet with God. Again he receives the covenant Law – the Ten Commandments – written of tablets of stone.
Moses again pleads with God that he may have mercy on this stiff-necked people; that he may forgive their sin and bring them into the inheritance he has promised them. In response, God declares that he will do such great things for his people that the nations round about will stand in awe of Israel's God.
For their part, the Israelites are to remember how God brought them out of slavery in Egypt and are remain faithful to their incomparable God; they must not adopt the worthless idol-gods of the nations whom they will dispossess. Israel is to be a light to the nations rather than embracing the darkness. We shall see how this calling plays out in the remainder of the Old Testament.
When Moses came down the mountain after forty days, his face was radiant with the reflected glory of God. His appearance terrified the people and Moses had to put a veil over his face to hide the glory. Only when he went into the Tent of Meeting to talk with the Lord would Moses remove the veil from his face.
The Apostle Paul refers to this strange incident when speaking of God's ultimate revelation of his glory in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 3:7-4:6). He writes that the same veil hides the glory of God from his fellow Israelites today when they read the Law. But the veil is removed when we come to Christ. He is the one in whom God has come to meet us and dwell among us. Before him the veil is removed and we see the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus. As God continually meets with us in Jesus, we see more of his glory and are transformed into his likeness "from one degree of glory to another". So we come to reflect the glory of God and the world sees the glory of the Living God in the lives of his redeemed people.
Glorious God, help me to live in your presence, to see ever more of your glory in the Lord Jesus Christ and to be made ever more like him by the transforming work of your Spirit. May your glory become my glory. May others see the beauty and glory of God shining through the broken lives of your people and be drawn to the Lord Jesus. Great God, shine in the darkness and let there be light; fill the whole earth with your glory.