“Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.” ~ Exodus 33:13
For the devotion today, I thought we would step away from Colossians for a moment and revert back to an Old Testament verse. In reading a book, this particular verse was used as a reference in regards to the topic that the author was covering. In looking at that verse, I put my reading on hold. There was some depth in Exodus 33:13 that I wanted to explore and so I began to study more. The theological richness of what is found here is deep, and I would not anticipate that we could cover it all here today; however, I want to share some initial findings and thoughts with you in hopes that you will be encouraged in moving forth in your relationship with God.
In this particular section, Moses is meeting with God in the tent receiving His commands on behalf of the people. By this point, in an expression of displeasure, the Lord has withdrawn His presence from the people and does not meet with Moses in the tabernacle. Instead, God has made arrangements to meet Moses in a different tent placed outside of the camp (cf. Numbers 2:2, 17) as an expression of His displeasure with the people. While meeting with God, Moses exclaims that God has not indicated who is to go with him, remembering that God had earlier said He would go with the people (3:12; 4:12, 15). The claim is that if God would go with them, then the people would indeed know that the Lord is God, as seen in verse 16.
What I want to focus on is Moses request in Exodus 33:13. Moses tells the Lord that if he has indeed found favor in the Lord’s sight, then he wants to be taught the Lord’s ways in order to know Him. Essentially what Moses has done is to ask to know God more. However, there is a strong connection here that is important. Moses recognizes that in order to know God, he must know God’s ways. “There is little room for mysticism in biblical religion; we do not know God by having some sort of inexplicable ethereal communion with him, in which our feelings are used as the evidence for our closeness to him. We know him by learning his ways (i.e., his revealed standards, revealed methods, and revealed benefits)—in other words by objective, rather than subjective, emotional, means.”
This past Sunday I preached at my home church a message from 2 Timothy 4:2 (to listen to this message, see the footnote at the bottom of the page). In that message I proposed that in order to know Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 19:13) then one must know the Bible, which is the Word of God. How can this be? As one knows Christ, they are transformed into Chrstlikeness, however, one cannot truly know Christ without knowing the Word. As much as we try these days, we cannot separate the two points. This is why in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 Paul can write, “You became imitators of the Lord when you received the word” (my own paraphrase). Paul connects the fact that in order to know Christ, you must know His ways. This is the same point that is made in Moses’ statement in Exodus 33:13. He recognizes that in order to know God, you must know His ways.
The Hebrew word Moses uses for ‘know’ in verse 13 is the same word that is used in verse 12, in which it is used to say God knows His people. How is it then that one can know God? It is stated that “to know God is to be in a right relationship with Him, with characteristics of love, trust, respect, and open communication. God himself is the focus, ‘a personal relationship growing out of a living encounter with God.’”
It is important to note that we read God’s word in order to know what is required of us so that we may obey Him. However, I think sometimes we lose the reality of why we are to obey and why are to be in the Scriptures every day……..it is to KNOW God. I must confess that sometimes I focus so much on the doing and the need to be doing, that I often forget why I am doing it. I am doing it because of the opportunity to build a relationship with the one, true God, who created me, as we should all be doing. We reap great blessing in being able to have a personal relationship with Him that ultimately results in our justification and sanctification, but we must first begin with seeking to establish that relationship. Therefore, my challenge to each of us is to know God by knowing His Word and statutes, not simply for the sake of head knowledge, not simply for the sake of ‘because we have to,’ but for the sake of finding the joy of experience that is in God.
One final thought for you to consider. A question that I will leave for you to research the answer. Immediately following this section, Moses asks to see God’s glory, which God allows according to His own directions. Therefore, are knowing God, and ultimately His ways, requirements for seeing the glory of God?
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 Robert P. Gordon, Exodus, Zondervan Bible Commentary, Ed. F.F. Bruce (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 103.
 Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 701.
 Willem A. VanGemeren Ed., New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis, Volume 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 413.