Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NOOK AND CRANNY


Ever been uncomfortable sitting on the couch or lying in bed for a while, then you find that Nook or Cranny that makes you not want to move from that spot? That new position gave you a new appreciation for the struggle you had to get there.

Moses had this same experience. In Exodus 32 we read of The Lord's people impatiently focusing their worship on their handmade Golden Calf. The Lord was not happy and dealt with them severely. Afterward, in Exodus 33, The Lord told Moses it was time to move on; time to aim for the Promised Land. The only catch was that The Lord said, "But I will not go with you because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way." (33:3)

Meanwhile, before the Great Trek to the land flowing with milk and honey - people with an inquiry of The Lord came to the Tent of Meeting that Moses set up outside the camp. Moses would come out of the tent, hear their request, go back into the tent, the Pillar of Cloud would descend at the entrance of the tent and the pre-incarnate Christ would meet face-to-face with him about the inquiry. (33:7-11)

Can you imagine having to inquire on behalf of a million plus people? The line would be never-ending. It is no wonder that Moses said what he said next - Lord if you are not with me or us, then what is the point? (Pritchard Paraphrase) Moses actually said,

"You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” (33:12-13)

Moses does a crafty but effective strategy with The Lord. Moses calls to God's remembrance (1) you were the one who charged me to lead these people, (2) you know me personally, and (3) these are your people. Why remind The Lord of these things? Because of the needs that would follow to fulfill The Lord's plan for his life. Moses said he needed someone sent with him, that someone preferably being The Lord Himself because his next request was to be taught The Lord's ways by The Lord. A clever request, because it worked. The Lord said, "My presence will go with you and I will give you rest." (33:14)

Then, I believe, just to reiterate, Moses makes one of the best, if not the best plea for The Lord's Presence in his life and the life of the people.

"Then Moses said to him, 'If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?'” (33:15-16)

What was the answer to the persistence of Moses? "And the Lord said to Moses, 'I will do the very thing you have asked because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.'” (33:17) However, the experience is taken up a level when Moses boldly asks for The Lord to show him - His Glory.

Evidently, The Lord's Glory is displayed in His face. His splendor and majesty are so great that no human can endure it and live. The Lord said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (33:20) This means to me that The Lord must have toned-down His Glory, for the lack of a better phrase, in order for Moses to meet with Him face-to-face earlier. Here, instead of the full weight of His Glory upon Moses, The Lord showed Moses His goodness, mercy, compassion and proclaimed His own name - Y'hovah (Jehovah) - I Am, the self-existent or Eternal One.

"And the Lord said, 'I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 'But, he said, 'you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.'” (33:19-20)

Then there came the time where The Lord actually showed Moses this. However, Moses had to be placed in the cleft of some rocks; between a rock and a hard place; in his nook and cranny. It was here that total focus on God's revelation could occur. Nothing could be seen to the left. Nothing could be seen to the right. Then The Lord appeared.

"Then the Lord said, 'There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.'” (33:21-23)

Moses was held and hid in his own cleft of the rock, his own nook and/or cranny to witness The Lord's revelation. However, he had to come to a place of total reliance on The Lord as the Leader and himself as The Lord's voice for The Lord's people. That place usually does not come until we can get some kind of assurance from God that He will go with us - like Moses searched for. For believers, since Christ's ascension, the deposit of The Holy Spirit is this assurance (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7). Now all that remains is for God to unveil His many wondrous facets as He hides you in your Nook And Cranny.