Exodus 34:1-35, Exodus 40:34-38, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Often when I’d come home after spending time with a particular group of my high school friends, my mom would say with a slight smile, “They’re rubbing off on you.” She could see the influence these godly peers were having on my words, attitude, and behavior, and she liked what she saw.
As the redeemer of Israel, Moses spent a lot of time with God. He delivered God’s promises and commands to Israel, and he often pled with God to deal mercifully with Israel’s sins. Moses was God’s representative to Israel, and Moses was Israel’s representative to God.
The time Moses spent with God forged a deep intimacy with his Maker. We’re told he spoke to the Lord “face to face, as one man speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). Not surprisingly, this closeness gave birth to a deep desire in Moses to see God in His fullness. So, in an intimate moment with God on Mount Sinai, Moses made a bold request: “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18).
Out of love and protection for His servant, God refused to show Moses His face because no man can see God and live. The Lord did, however, grant Moses’ wish, to an extent, by showing him the hindquarters of His glory. As He did this, God gave Moses a mini sermon on His name, “The Lord” (Exodus 33:19-23).
This intimate moment with God “rubbed off” on Moses. After writing a second copy of the Ten Commandments, Moses descended from Mount Sinai with his face shining with the glory of God. The blazing presence of God’s glory changed Moses’ countenance.
But, it wouldn’t last long. The glory Moses received that day soon began to fade (2 Corinthians 3:13). This fading radiance was a sign that Moses had not yet obtained the true eternal weight of glory he was destined to receive (2 Corinthians 4:17). He would have to wait in faith for a greater revelation, which would lead to a greater reflection of glory.
We know this is true because centuries later the scene is reenacted. Jesus asks Peter, James, and John to join him on a mountain to pray (Matthew 17). As Jesus prays, He is transfigured before them as “His face begins to shine like the sun,” when suddenly Moses and Elijah appear with Him, also ablaze in the radiance of the glory of God.
Long ago Moses saw the glory of God on Mount Sinai in the giving of the law. But on this day, Moses saw a much greater revelation of the glory of God on the Mount of Transfiguration—and he saw it in the face of the One who came to fulfill the law he gave. In a breathtaking twist, Moses, the lawgiver, sees the glory of Jesus, the law-fulfiller, who would die for us, the law-breakers, so that we might receive the same glory!
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Even now as we behold the glory of God by faith, staring into the loving face of Jesus Christ, we are changed into the glory we behold and love. We grow, Paul says, “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
So, stop. Stare. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He is the light of the world (John 8:12).
Written By Nate Shurden