intently gazing on the glory

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Exodus 34:27-35

27 And the LORD told Moses, “Rewrite these words, because these words show that I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. 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 spoke with them. 32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them everything that the LORD had told him in Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 Whenever 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, 35 the 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.

intently gazing on the glory

The Israelites initially saw Moses’ face and were rightly afraid. Moses used the veil from that time onward, until the glow faded. He removed it every time he returned to the meeting tent to talk with God again. The veil was not to protect Moses, but to protect the people from the consequences of intently gazing on the glory of the LORD as a rebellious, stiff necked people.[1] It was a reminder that the covenant and the relationship it governs is not quite what it could have been.

How different is what Paul says about new covenant believers. He says “we all, with unveiled faces are continuously reflecting the glory of the Lord, and being transformed into that same image from one level of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”[2] Like Moses, we can remove our veils, because our meeting tent time is continuous. But unlike Moses, our glow is not fading away, because we can intently gaze upon the glory of God from now on.

LORD, we want your presence – not occasionally, but perpetually.


[1] see Scott J. Hafemann, Paul, Moses, and the History of Israel. (London: Paternoster, 2005).

[2] 2 Corinthians 3:18.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jeff is a Christian missionary.
This entry was posted in discipleship, Moses, prayer, relationship with God, witness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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