If the Bible recorded your life story how would it describe you?
David is described as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Joseph, Mary’s husband, is simply described as a righteous man (Matthew 1:19).
Nabal lived up to his name which simply means “fool” (1 Samuel 25:25).
So how would the Bible describe you if your life was recorded in its pages?
It’s wise for us to consider the lives of those men and women who have gone before us and walked closely with God. We can read biographies of notable Christians and be encouraged and edified by their experiences.
It is even more beneficial to read the inspired record of the lives of people in Scripture. For both good and ill. As warnings and encouragements.
The Bible describes Moses as “the man of God” (e.g., Deuteronomy 33:1; Joshua 14:6). What a description! Moses walked closely with the living God. He lived in light of the promises of God. Even more so Moses lived to be in the presence of his God.
God promised to take his people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. A land flowing with milk and honey. A place where they would not be enslaved by a foreign nation. A place where they would enjoy the fellowship of God in their midst.
He would be their God. They would be His people.
As Moses was leading the people they sinned. God did not forsake His promises but He did begin to withdraw His presence. God told Moses to continue leading the people. But God also said that He wasn’t going with them.
Many wouldn’t mind going to the Promised Land even if God wasn’t there. Not Moses. Moses preferred the wilderness with God to paradise without Him.
That’s deep. You can read about this in Exodus 32-33.
We see Moses’ heart in what he prayed. The heart of the man of God.
“Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” (Exodus 33:12b-13)
Moses is pleading with God. He is interceding for his people. How he prays is so instructive for us if we, like Moses, desire to be people of God.
He begins with their relationship and an understanding of God’s grace. We can be made right with the living God through Jesus Christ. If that’s you then you can likewise pray with the understanding that God knows you by name and that you have found favor in His sight. Not because we’ve earned it. It’s because of His great love with which He loved us by sending His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
Moses builds from that foundation. Moses understands that if he understands God’s ways then he will understand God Himself. It was disobedience that led to the breach in the relationship. It is obedience that leads to a deeper relationship.
Some people get confused. They think they can earn their way to God through obedience. They can’t. Neither can you.
No one can.
We need grace. We need a Savior. Every moment of every day.
We start with salvation. Obedience becomes the path of intimacy with God. Of knowing Him better. We walk with Him. Along the way He discloses Himself to us. We learn to trust Him more. We learn to truly walk by faith and not by sight.
Moses prayed for this. Let me know your ways that I may know you.
Moses then ends up where he began. He prays to know God’s ways so he can know God so he can find favor in His sight. This isn’t an attempt to earn salvation. It’s a longing for deeper fellowship with God. Delighting in God. Living so that God delights in him.
God responds to this prayer by promising to accompany the people again.
But Moses isn’t satisfied. Moses understands that it is only the presence of God among His people which distinguishes them from everyone else. Moses doesn’t care about blessings without the Presence.
Moses wants to know God personally, nationally, and famously. He wants to be so close to God that the whole world takes notice.
Then Moses prays to see God’s glory. That’s bold.
God answers in a way. His glory is partially hidden. Either way, Moses’ heart is clear.
Moses wants to know God. He wants the people to know God. He wants to walk personally and corporately in the ways of God so they can grow in their knowledge of Him.
As a New Covenant believer I am so thankful that Jesus made this promise:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
We can pray just like Moses. Through Christ we can have confidence that God has known us by name. Through Christ God has made us His people. Through Christ we have a promise that when we walk in obedience to God’s commandments we are walking in love. God loves us in return and will disclose Himself to us through His beloved Son.
Will you pray and live like the man of God?
Will you value God’s presence and favor above all else?
Will you be distinct from all the other peoples of the world by the reality of God’s abiding presence in your life?