moses said, “please show me your glory.” and the Lord said, “i will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘the Lord.’ and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. but,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” and the Lord said, “behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” [exodus 33:18-23]


moses saw God.

let that sink in for a while. let that just sit on your heart and mind. moses saw God.

however, notice what he did not get to do – see God face to face. why?

God is holy, perfect in every facet of his being. but, he is so much more. his holiness means he is not like us in any way. early church fathers used the word other to describe him. describing and defining God’s holiness and his glory is tough because we are using humans words trying to describe the utter majesty and overwhelming greatness of God’s presence. God is so great, so overwhelming and pure, that in his presence, on our own, we will die.

“you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”


God had to “cover” moses so he would not die. don’t miss the power of this truth. God had to cover moses if he were to gaze on any part of God’s glory and live.

this is the same with you and i.

we have to be covered by God to be in his presence, because in and of ourselves, we are that sinful. and, God is that holy! how does God cover us – through the person and work of Jesus.

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [gal 3:26-27]


the word “baptized” means completely submerged. this is not speaking of water baptism that shows our faith in the work of Christ to save us. this speaks of what God does to us at salvation: he “covers” our soul in the person, the holiness of Jesus. because of this, we can be in God’s presence now. and one day, we will be in his presence face to face and we will not die!

moses saw God.

you are in his presence now.

you will see God face to face one day.

may this truth, this hope, this love poured out, lead us to worship … now!


for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. now i know in part; then i shall know fully, even as i have been fully known. [1 cor 13:12]

for the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. and they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. and there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. [rev 22:3-5]


LORD, hear my worship, receive my worship – not because of my good thoughts, intentions, or work. hear them and receive them because of Jesus and his work. may my words, may the overwhelming gratitude and praise of my heart bless you this morning! in Jesus name amen!


~ john ryan