Exodus 33

* The Lord refuses to go with Israel. (1-6) The tabernacle of

Moses removed without the camp. (7-11) Moses desires to see the

glory of God. (12-23)

1-6 Those whom God pardons, must be made to know what their sin

deserved. "Let them go forward as they are;" this was very

expressive of God's displeasure. Though he promises to make good

his covenant with Abraham, in giving them Canaan, yet he denies

them the tokens of his presence they had been blessed with. The

people mourned for their sin. Of all the bitter fruits and

consequences of sin, true penitents most lament, and dread most,

God's departure from them. Canaan itself would be no pleasant

land without the Lord's presence. Those who parted with

ornaments to maintain sin, could do no less than lay aside

ornaments, in token of sorrow and shame for it.
7-11 Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the

camp. This seems to have been a temporary building, set up for

worship, and at which he judged disputes among the people. The

people looked after him; they were very desirous to be at peace

with God, and concerned to know what would come to pass. The

cloudy pillar which had withdrawn from the camp when it was

polluted with idolatry, now returned. If our hearts go forth

toward God to meet him, he will graciously come to meet us.
12-23 Moses is very earnest with God. Thus, by the intercession

of Christ, we are not only saved from ruin, but become entitled

to everlasting happiness. Observe here how he pleads. We find

grace in God's sight, if we find grace in our hearts to guide

and quicken us in the way of our duty. Moses speaks as one who

dreaded the thought of going forward without the Lord's

presence. God's gracious promises, and mercy towards us, should

not only encourage our faith, but also excite our fervency in

prayer. Observe how he speeds. See, in a type, Christ's

intercession, which he ever lives to make for all that come to

God by him; and that it is not by any thing in those for whom he

intercedes. Moses then entreats a sight of God's glory, and is

heard in that also. A full discovery of the glory of God, would

overwhelm even Moses himself. Man is mean, and unworthy of it;

weak, and could not bear it; guilty, and could not but dread it.

The merciful display which is made in Christ Jesus, alone can be

borne by us. The Lord granted that which would abundantly

satisfy. God's goodness is his glory; and he will have us to

know him by the glory of his mercy, more than by the glory of

his majesty. Upon the rock there was a fit place for Moses to

view the goodness and glory of God. The rock in Horeb was

typical of Christ the Rock; the Rock of refuge, salvation, and

strength. Happy are they who stand upon this Rock. The cleft may

be an emblem of Christ, as smitten, crucified, wounded, and

slain. What follows, denotes the imperfect knowledge of God in

the present state, even as revealed in Christ; for this, when

compared with the heavenly sight of him. is but like seeing a

man that is gone by, whose back only is to be seen. God in

Christ, as he is, even the fullest and brightest displays of his

glory, grace, and goodness, are reserved to another state.
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