Reading through the Bible together
The covenant promises of God to be with His people and to bless them were conditional and dependent on their obedience. The golden calf was a capital offense in the sense that it not only was a divergence of religious and social practice, but since Israel was now a theocracy--directly under the rule of God--it was also high treason. God now informs Moses that he should lead the people “which you have brought out of the land of Egypt” into the Promised Land. God would no longer accompany them. Moses now takes up the tabernacle from the midst of the camp and pitches it “afar off from the camp” indicating that God’s presence had left the people. It is at this point that Moses speaks directly with God seeking His will concerning the people. The text says that God assures Moses that He would go with them in their conquest of Canaan, but Moses was not content and wanted God to recognize them as “your people” (Ex 33:15-16).
Have you ever felt utterly separated from God after falling away from Him? The beauty of this chapter is that, notwithstanding the seriousness of the offense, God honors His servant Moses’ “for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” What a gracious God we serve! Moses longs to have even further confirmation of God’s promise and reassurance that God would be with Him and so he pleads, “Show me your glory.” No fallen man can stand in the presence of God face to face, but mutual respect and Moses' purity of heart at this moment brought the Creature and creator together. Do you want to feel God’s intimate presence in your life today? Put away all sin that might separate you from Him and ask Him to make Himself evident in your life. The same God who passed before Moses as he was hid in the cleft of a rock can reveal Himself to you. He is the same gracious Jesus who came to save you from your sins.
School of Religion
Southern Adventist University