1. God revealed His glory in dimensions to varying groups of people in Israel

I’ve been studying  the cloud of the glory of  God and it is now  clear to me that the  cloud and the glory are entertwined. God  used the cloud to cloak  the exceeding brightness and fire which accompanies Him.  People would have died in the brightness and fire if He had not done so.  I also discovered that God showed His glory in degrees – the nationals saw the cloud, fire, heard the voice of the Lord, but did not know what He looked like. They had to stay afar off.  Meantime, the elders saw another dimension of glory – from a closer view, but Moses was the one who saw and spoke with  the Lord face to face, according to Exodus 33:

And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood [at] the door of the tabernacle, and [the LORD] talked with Moses

And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand [at] the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man [in] his tent door.

And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle (Ex 33: 9-11)


 2. Apostle Moses spoke with God face to face

The preceding text was written in a time of crisis.  The Israelites had just sinned by worshipping idols and were under threat of extermination. Although Moses had interceded for them, God was still angry. Moses had offered himself as a substitute, preferring to be blotted out of God’s book rather than seeing the nation entirely destroyed.  Things were at touch and go, because God was really very angry.  The people were in a state of repentance and those who sought  God went to the  tabernacle or church building. Moses also went there. As he did so, the Lord descended in the cloud and met him there.

The relationship between the Lord and Moses was one of close friendship and this was evident to all of the Israeli  nationals. Moses took the opportunity to plead with the Lord to spare the lives of the people, reminding Him of His promise to Abraham. The Lord agreed to spare the people based on Moses’ relationship with Him.  Moses then asked for something rather unusual. He asked God to show him His glory (Ex 33: 18).


3. But Apostle Moses wanted to see greater glory than what he had know previously 

Helloooo! Moses more than anyone else had seen the glory of the Lord. What more did he want?  I believe that he wanted a sign of God’s favor with Him. The people had provoked the Lord excessively with their idolatry. Moses himself had become angry the previous day and had broken the idol, poured water over it and forced the people to drink that mess.  He had also killed 3000 of the people.  Given the scenario, I believe that Moses was asking for greater reassurance than what he had previously received. He was in reality asking the Lord to show him more of the glory than he had previously seen.  Moses wanted to know God in a greater dimension. This tells us that we can never fully know the unsearchable riches of God – there are always greater dimensions of knowledge of God and His ways:

The Lord’s response was:

“I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
“But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock: and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by   (Ex 33 :18-20)
3. What did God mean when He said no man could see His face and live?
Moses and God were now in a discourse which was about two of them. This was not about  seeing clouds, miracles, directions etc, but about the personal relationship between the two. God had revealed dimensions of His glory to Moses, who had seen more than any other person of his time.  After all, he (and Joshua) had entered directly into the cloud.  However, Moses could have easily died  in the presence of more brilliant power, light and fire that we discovered are some elements  of God’s glory. Remember Paul was blinded on the road of Damascus  as the blinding the light shone on him? Daniel passed out in the presence of the power of  Chief Prince Gabriel.  More examples abound.
4. How did God protect Moses from death as He revealed greater glory?
God told Moses to stand on a rock and He would protect him by covering him with His hand and showing him his “back parts”.  In other words, He showed Moses a greater but muted picture, rather than the full light, brilliance, power and fire.  
5. Many people in the bible spoke with God face to face but did not die
Many preachers have not considered the fact that Moses spoke  with God face to face.  Abraham talked with the God family face to face (Gen 18) yet did not die.  God appeared many times in the form of  the “Angel of the Lord”  and spoke with many people who did not die.
We learn from Moses that we are to seek ever increasing revelations of His glory and never to be satisfied with the stage of relationship that we are at. God will certainly reveal Himself to those who diligently seek Him. I hope that your prayer is, “Lord, show me your glory”. You are blessed!!