Exodus 33:22 "So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by."
Moses had asked God for a new vision of His Glory just before he was given the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone on Mount Sinai. Moses said to the Lord in Exodus 33:18,
"Please, show me Your glory."
And God responded in verses 19-23, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But He said, "You cannot see MY face; for no man shall see Me, and live." And the Lord said (to Moses), "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock, and so it shall be, while MY glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
How often have we asked God to please show us His glory? I wonder how many of us have asked God for "a sign", or a glimpse of His power...or just a peek at what His plans are for us. I am certain that we have all asked for that at some point, and perhaps many times, in our lives. Whether it be so that we could increase our faith by some tangible demonstration of God's power and work in our midst, or maybe so that we would know how to proceed with our life's plans...whether or not to seek a new position, home, mate, church, or whatever the decisions we may be facing. In many cases, it could be that we are facing decisions about our health, surgeries, treatment plans, diets, or some other life changing situation...we could all say that we have honestly sought God's face and have earnestly desired to feel and see His power and glory expressed on our behalf.
In response to our quest for a witness of God's power and glory, what have we discovered about God and His relationship to us? Does He always answer quickly with a showy demonstration of majesty and power? Do lightning bolts flash through the sky and enlighten us with the answers we are longing to hear? Do we automatically receive wisdom and relief regarding our burden or pain? Most likely not. The reality is that we often have to seek long and hard and often to hear God's voice and "see His face"...or maybe the voice we hear and the face we see is not what we were hoping to hear and see. Oftentimes the response is not what we were wanting to hear, such as, "No", "Not Now", or "Trust Me".
There is an old hymn that helps to illuminate our minds on what the Lord was telling Moses that day...and it speaks to me today as well...
"A wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord, a wonderful Saviour to me; He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock where rivers of pleasure I see."
Chorus: "He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry, thirsty land; He hideth my life in the depth of His love, and covers me there with His hand, and covers me there with His hand."
"A wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord, He taketh my burden away; He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved; He giveth me strength as my day." Chorus
"With numberless blessings each moment He crowns, and, filled with His fullness divine, I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God! For such a Redeemer is mine!" Chorus
"When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise to meet Him in clouds of the sky, His perfect salvation, His wonderful love, I'll shout with the millions on high!" Chorus:
"He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry, thirsty land; He hideth my life in the depth of His love, and covers me there with His hand, and covers me there with His hand." (Fanny J. Crosby)
Yes, I would love to see God's glory today...I would love to feel His power in my life and hear His voice telling me which way to go in all situations. And perhaps I can see His glory...it surely is all around me everyday...just look outside...look up into the heavens...the sun, the moon, the stars...the sunrise, the sunset...the storm clouds, the rainbow after the storm...these are all demonstrations of His glory and power and majesty...and so is the still, small voice that says,
"Be still, and know that I AM God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10and again, the tender voice of God saying:
"This is the way, walk in it..." Isaiah 30:21
After posting this I thought of another song that goes along with this passage:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, from Thy riven side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save me from its guilt and power.
Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy laws demands. Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could NOT atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling; naked, come to Thee for dress, helpless, look to Thee for grace. Foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Saviour, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to realms unknown, see Thee on Thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee." AMEN.
Augustus M. Toplady