Moses Sees God - Sort Of
12 Moses said to the LORD, "See, you have said to me,
'Bring up this people'; but you have not let me know whom you
will send with me. Yet you have said, 'I know you by name, and
you have also found favor in my sight.' 13 Now if I have found
favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you
and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is
your people." 14 He said, "My presence will go with
you, and I will give you rest." 15 And he said to him, "If
your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16 For
how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I
and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall
be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face
of the earth." 17 The LORD said to Moses, "I will do
the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in
my sight, and I know you by name." 18 Moses said, "Show
me your glory, I pray." 19 And he said, "I will make
all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you
the name, 'The LORD'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be
gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,"
he said, "you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me
and live." 21 And the LORD continued, "See, there is
a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22 and while
my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and
I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23 then
I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face
shall not be seen."
Here is Moses working on God to give him more insight into
who YHWH is, similar to his exchange back at the burning bush.
Here God grants Moses everything he asks for except, again, any
further insight into his name. Instead of I AM (what I will be),
he lets Moses know that God will be gracious to whom and when
God wants. The name YHWH will have to do. Also, God will pass
by but Moses will not see God's face, only God's back. This may
mean that God's existence and nature will be make known by God's
actions and deeds. God's presence will be with Moses and his people,
but God will also remain mysterious.
In addition to the closer relationship Moses is having with
the LORD, he successfully intercedes on the behalf of the Israelites.
Essentially God wasn't going with them in the wilderness after
the golden calf incident, but agrees to do so again. God shows
mercy and grace and is willing to start over.
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