Moses asks questions and makes demands on God. To each question and demand, God promises one thing: to be present. What questions and demands do you bring to God? When have you glimpsed God’s presence? How has this presence addressed your questions and demands?
READ: Exodus 33:12-23 (Year A Proper 23)
Moses said to God, “Look, you tell me, ‘Lead this people,’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me. You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you. Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility.”
God said, “My presence will go with you, and I’ll give you rest.”
Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”
God said to Moses: “All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name.”
Moses said, “Please. Let me see your radiant presence.”
God said, “I will make my Goodness pass right in front of you; I’ll call out the name, God, right before you. I’ll treat well whomever I want to treat well and I’ll be kind to whomever I want to be kind.” God continued, “But you may not see my face. No one can see me and live.”
God said, “Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.”
- REFLECT: What do you like or dislike about this story? What surprises you? What questions does it raise?
- RELATE: When have you sensed God’s presence? When have you glimpsed God’s goodness? What, if anything, did it lead to? Talk about it.
- RESPOND: Is God calling you or us to any practical response now? Pray about it, then act, or talk to one of the leaders if it requires a group response.
- REPORT: If you or your household do take action, text or email a photo of that action to Sanctuary with a brief explanation. We can use it during the service or, with your permission, add it to the Facebook page.
Cartalk / Tabletalk
If this helped you talk about faith with your household, why not share it on social media? And why not flick us a small donation, to support our ministry of helping people of all ages grow in faith!