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January 29 Today’s Reading: Exodus 33-34
How did the Lord God show Moses His glory?
Moses asked the Lord God to show him His glory (v. 18). In response to that great request, the Triune Jehovah declared, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (v. 19). Then He told His servant exactly how He would reveal His glory to him and how He reveals His glory to His chosen in all ages. — “And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”
Before any sinful man can behold the perfections of the infinitely glorious, righteous, and holy God, he must be put into a place of security and peace. Moses had to be put into a cleft of the rock before he could see God. That Rock was Christ. He is the Rock, the Rock of Israel, the Rock of Ages, the Rock of Refuge, Salvation, and Strength. Blessed be His name forever! — Our God has provided us a place of shelter in the cleft of the Rock.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, grace has hid me safe in Thee!
Let the water and the blood from Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power.
It is only in the cleft of the Rock that you can behold the glory of God. In North Carolina there is a mountain called “Grandfather Mountain.” As you drive along the highway, you can look at that mountain from many different places, and wonder where it got such a name. But, if you drive on until you get to the north side of it, you can look up from its base and see clearly and distinctly the image of a man with a flowing beard. And so it is with us. Come with me under the shadow of the cross. Come there as a penitent sinner. Look there upon that visage more marred than any man. Realize that the Sufferer hangs as the guiltless Substitute, dying for your sins. And you will see in Him the glory of God’s goodness. His beauty will ravish your soul. But the only place to behold that glory is in the cleft of the Rock. Until you see God’s glorious goodness in Christ, any sight of the thrice holy Jehovah will terrify you.
“Till God in human flesh I see, my thoughts no comfort find;
The holy, just, and sacred Three, are terrors to my mind!”
Look at the beautiful picture that we have here of the believer’s absolute security in Christ. — “Thou shalt stand upon a Rock.” We stand before God today and for all eternity upon this blessed Foundation; and we shall not be confounded.
“Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.”
The Lord God said, “I will put thee in a cleft of the rock,” because no sinner can put himself into Christ. We were chosen in him, redeemed in him, accepted in him. And we were “created in Christ Jesus.” Then, God said, “I will cover thee with my hand.” Not only is the believer in Christ. He is protected by the Father’s hand. “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man shall pluck them out of my Father’s hand!” (John 10:29). “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
Here is the great superiority of the Gospel over the law. The law had only a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of those things. But look at the blessed fullness of the Gospel — “God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).