Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent

Exodus 33:1-34:9

If the LORD Doesn’t Go with Us, Who Wants to Go?

It is now after the disaster of the golden calf.  The judgment of the Lord has fallen and many have died.  There is weeping in the camp and dreadful anticipation of what is yet to come.  Then the Lord speaks to Moses and tells him.  Basically, the Lord says, “Go ahead and go up into the land that I am giving you, but I will not go with you.  You are such a stiff-necked people, I might destroy you along the way.  You’re on your own.”  But then we hear something good.  When the people heard this, they mourned.

So they were not completely without affection for the Lord.  They understood that they had offended the Lord, and they understood that they had forfeited His presence.  Where would victory come from?  From where would reassurance spring?  So Moses went to work again, interceding for the people.  Perhaps this is a good place to remind ourselves of the importance of intercessory prayer.  Moses anticipates Jesus’ office as our divine intercessor at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33; Hebrews 7:25).  And we have the responsibility and privilege to pray for one another as well (1 Thessalonians 5:25).

And unlike yesterday when Moses appealed to God’s glory, here he appeals to the salvation of His people.  Moses wants the Lord to go with them that he and the people “might know you.”  And it is this that is our salvation – knowing God – for it is in knowing Him, not about Him, but knowing Him, that saves us.  So Moses appeals to God’s desire to save His people.

Then Moses appeals to God’s desire to have a people, His own people, a people set apart unto Himself.  “Is it not in your going with us … that we are distinct … from every other people on the face of the earth?”  It is God’s desire to have a people set apart unto Himself.  This is what the doctrine of election is all about.  God chooses a people to be His own, to be His prized possession, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, that we may glorify His name before the nations (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9).  It is an act of sheer grace on God’s part.  He doesn’t have to have a people.  That He should call a people unto Himself out of sinful humanity and save them through the death and resurrection of His dear Son is nothing other than sheer magnanimity.  But that’s how amazing grace is.  And to think that one day, we shall behold Him, and not just His “back” as Moses did, hiding in the cleft of a rock, but face to face.  For, “We shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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