Our Intimate Relationship with God: His Desire, His choice, His Work!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
12 Moses said to the LORD, “See, you are telling me: Lead this people. But you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said: You are my intimate friend; You have found favor with me. 13 Now, if I have found favor with you, please let me know your ways so that, in knowing you, I may continue to find favor with you. See, this nation is indeed your own people. 14 The LORD answered: I myself will go along, to give you rest. 15 Moses replied, “If you are not going yourself, do not make us go up from here. 16 For how can it be known that I and your people have found favor with you, except by your going with us? Then we, your people and I, will be singled out from every other people on the surface of the earth.” 17 The LORD said to Moses: This request, too, which you have made, I will carry out, because you have found favor with me and you are my intimate friend.
18 Then Moses said, “Please let me see your glory!” 19 The LORD answered: I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim my name, “LORD,” before you; I who show favor to whom I will, I who grant mercy to whom I will.f 20 But you cannot see my face,g for no one can see me and live. 21 Here, continued the LORD, is a place near me where you shall station yourself on the rock. 22 When my glory passes I will set you in the cleft of the rock and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand, so that you may see my back; but my face may not be seen. Ex 33:11–23 NABRE
The New Testament does not say that men conciliate God, as we really ought to expect, since after all it is they who have failed, not God. It says on the contrary that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19). This is truly something new, something unheard of—the starting-point of Christian existence and the center of New Testament theology of the Cross: God does not wait until the guilty come to be reconciled; he goes to meet them and reconciles them. Here we can see the true direction of the Incarnation, of the Cross. Accordingly, in the New Testament the Cross appears primarily as a movement from above to below. It does not stand there as the work of expiation which mankind offers to the wrathful God but as the expression of that foolish love of God’s which gives itself away to the point of humiliation in order thus to save man; it is his approach to us, not the other way around.
Moses is not the only one to have the struggle he describes in this passage from Exodus. We all do, we all face situations where we don’t want to go another step further, because we simply do not have the strength.
It may be that we can’t deal with the people we are called to serve, as Moses often struggled. Or maybe we see how impossible the task is, and we know it cannot be done with God’s presence. Maybe we perceive the situation as being unfair, (whether it is or not is actually not relevant -get used to this idea: life isn’t fair!)
It might be more personal, the struggle that you have that you don’t want to face. It may be that you have to be freed from a sin that has its hooks in you, like Israel faced so many times in the desert. It could be some dark area that God wants you to be freed from, but it is so hard to break free.
Moses keeps telling God – I can’t go there without you! If you are my God, please help, if I have an intimate relationship with you, don’t leave me alone. He’s pleading for what every other religion tells us is impossible.
For God to come to us, as we are crushed, oppressed, weary and broken. As we know the law that condemns us or the people we care about all to well.
As Pope Benedict XVI points out, this is where things are different with Jesus, with the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. He comes to us, He always has! He came to Adam and Eve in the garden, He came to Abraham (even when he was trying to pass off his wife as his sister!) He came to Hagar at the well. He came to David in his sin, and encouraged Moses and even Hosea to deal mercifully with the unfaithful, and gave them the strength of heart and soul to deal with those trapped in sin.
He even gives us glimpses of Him, as He ministers to us. Yes, the obvious glimpses of His faithfulness in the past, to those who are broken like us, in need of healing, like us. In need of knowing we are in His presence.
But glimpses as well in the sacraments, especially Holy Communion, the feast were we see the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, who takes away our sin.
Who comes to us, and we hear Him as He promises, “your sins are forgiven.”
He comes to us… He brings us through the transformation that is repentance and makes His presence known, and that His presence is, as this translation puts it, that of an intimate friend.
This is what Advent is all about, as we meditate on His coming to us, in all our need!
May we realize our need, the same need as Moses, and may our eyes be opened to His presence.
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 372). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Posted on November 25, 2015, in Devotions and tagged Abiding in Christ, cHesed, cleft in the rock, God's mercy, intimate relationship with God, Jesus, Moses, Pope Benedict XVI, prayer, struggle with God, the face of God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.