“Show Me Your Glory”

Ex. 33:18 Moses asks God, “Now show me your glory.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then in chapter 34 God describes his nature as he reveals himself,

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Ok, so I really connect with the profound revelation of God’s character in the early part of verse 6 and 7. God’s glory is his compassion, love and faithfulness…also the depth of his forgiveness. Oh but wait, we have to tack on to the end of that, “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.” Is that also supposed to be a comfort. Surely it is intended so, but it also raises the serious question, “who are the guilty?” If all have sinned (Rom 3:23), both Jew and gentile, then are the guilty here simply the ones who not only continue in sin but also actively support it’s propagation with no intent to be reconciled to God or to repent? And that “third and fourth generation” thing doesn’t quite have the same aroma as “maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

There always seems to be this balancing opposite in scripture, when describing God, that keeps you from going wholesale one direction or another. The God of wrath v.s. the God of love, compassion and forgiveness.