Jesus walked this earth … Jesus who is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15) and in whom “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9) Before the miracle of the incarnation when deity took on flesh, only one man in the history of the world had even come close to glimpsing the fullness of God’s glory. It was a brief and dangerous glimpse in which God allowed Moses to see his “back.”
What does that mean? Why did God only show Moses his “back?” Does God have a back? Does God have hands? Well, not really, at least not physical hands the way that we do. “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). So, what is going on in this passage and what can it teach us about God’s glory?
If you remember, Moses’ request of God was, “Please show me your glory!”
For this, I just want to focus on the first phrase of God’s response: “I will make my goodness pass before you…” Notice that Moses asked for God’s glory, but God offered Moses his goodness. So God’s glory must be closely tied to God’s goodness being displayed.
However, this is some kind of dangerous “goodness,” because apparently a full dose of was just too much for Moses to handle. It would have overwhelmed Moses’ feeble humanity and he would have died. So, as a gracious gift, God only showed Moses a short glimpse of his glory, as if from behind. His goodness passed by and then Moses was only able to see it, as if he were seeing the effect of God’s goodness after it had passed him by.
I think that this is an excellent way to think about God’s glory. And as people who want to reveal God’s glory to the world, this is something we can do today. You and I can reveal the effects of God’s goodness even now. We may not be able to show people the full Glory of God, but we can show them what life looks like when it has glimpsed the goodness of God’s glory. We can show people the effects of God’s glorious goodness in our lives. Because the truth is when you see Jesus in your life; and see the effects of his saving work in your life; then you have seen more of God’s glory than Moses ever did. You have seen what John testifies to in John 1:14, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Now, let’s pray that we can be people who display God’s goodness in our lives for all to see.
Pastor of Adult Ministries