John Piper defines God’s glory as the “going public of his infinite worth.” It is the radiance of his holiness and perfection. In the Bible, the glory of God was a showstopper. Ezekiel fell to the ground as he encountered it. Isaiah, under conviction, cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…” The shepherds feared the glory of the Lord as the angel came to announce the birth of Christ. Every encounter with God’s glory brings about a reaction.
- Recall a time when you sensed God’s presence at work in a powerful way. What was that like?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 34:29-35 (ESV)
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
34Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What changed about Moses after he spent time with God?
- Why do you think the people were afraid of this reflected glory?
- Who did Moses gather together first after he came down the mountain?
- Why and when did Moses wear the veil over his face?
- How are you different—your thoughts, attitudes, and actions—after spending time with God?
RESPOND TO GOD
God’s glory, radiated on the face of Moses, was too much for the people; they were afraid. Moses then put a veil over his face. The Law, the Old Covenant, was described as a ministry of death that came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of it (2 Cor. 3). The Law itself was “holy, righteous, and good” (Rom. 7:12), but it was meant to point out the sinfulness of man, not bring salvation, which has always been by faith. The revelation of God’s glory through the Law was limited and brought conviction. The resurrected Jesus revealed an unlimited glory that brought hope and freedom. Only through Christ is the veil on our hearts permanently taken away.
- Praise God that, as believers, our veil has been removed and we have seen the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4).
- Pray for those whose hearts are still veiled, that they might come to know the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.