Like Moses’s face made radiant by standing in God’s presence on Mt. Sinai, God’s people are transformed by life in His presence.
We long for transformation. We long to change ourselves into happier selves, our homes and communities into better places of peace and cohesion, and our nation into a place of greater love and optimism.
We are also stumped in our attempts to achieve transformation. The hopes of yesterday are undone by the troubles of today. We look for solutions in self-empowerment, blaming others and blaming circumstances. We look for help from within, from friends and authorities driven by a kind of strong-arm mentality: If we can only push our ideas through, get our opinions out there, rally others to our program—then things could really be different. But our solutions don’t solve the problems.
The gospel offers a radically different answer. It doesn’t sit easy with us, largely because it has so little to do with our abilities and efforts. We want to do something, to fix things fast. But the gospel message of salvation begins and ends, not with our work, but God’s. Our position is shockingly and uncomfortably passive.
God declared to Moses: “I am coming to you.” Not the other way around. He also comes to Moses “in a dense cloud” (Exodus 19:9). This, too, is unsettling. We’d like Him to appear with a clear program; preferably, it should be obvious and efficient. In other words, we want it to look exactly like our plan. Why are His ways so shrouded in mystery?
Part of the answer is that He comes “so that the people will hear” when He speaks (Exodus 19:9). There is to be no confusion about whose kingdom we are dealing with. God has not come to fulfill our plans, but to show us His plan. We are called to listen and obey.
And we’re called to hear and receive with faith. God tells Moses He’s come so that the people will hear “and will always believe [Moses]” and the messages God speaks through him (v.9). God calls us to pay heed to His ministers; Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and the rest of the prophets have voiced God’s plan for transformation through the ages. Do we truly desire change? Do we long for a different world? Do we long for the coming kingdom? Then hear and obey the Word of the Lord.
Today, the veil that covered the face of Moses has been removed, the dense cloud dispelled, and the mystery of the gospel revealed. Christ has opened access to the throne of God for you and me, and just as Moses’s face was transformed by the presence of God, so also we, “are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In a world that is constantly hungering for answers, we have the promise of real transformation, personally and culturally, in the presence of God. If we abide in Him, and He in us, we are made into the likeness of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. His is the kingdom we are to seek, not our own. And with the coming of His kingdom, all these things will be added (Matthew 6:33).
Written by Caleb Faires