Life of Moses: Moses the Intercessor

Peter Barnes: Exodus 33

(9 June 2019)


– background in Ex.32:1-6. God responds by saying He would fulfil His promises to them, but He would not go with them – Ex.33:1-3. Three times Moses intercedes for His people before God.

1. The threat of God’s absence.

– 33:2-3. God had spoken to Moses face to face, as it were – 33:7-11.

– 33:12-14. Literally, ‘My face will go with you’.

A. W. Tozer: ‘If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 per cent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 per cent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.’

2. Moses desires God’s presence and glory.

– 33:15-16. Moses does not just want the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey; he wants God Himself.

– What is the difference between the Israel and the nations, the Church and the world? Ex.33:16-17; Isa.1:8-9; 1 Cor.4:7.

– 33:18. Alexander Maclaren writes of Moses’ last soaring desire’, but Calvin thinks that Moses was rather improper and immoderate. God is sovereign and totally holy – 33:19-20. How do we get to 1 John 3:2?

3. We see God’s presence and glory in Christ.

– 33:21-23; salvation is from God’s righteous and holy judgment. In Christ we see God’s glory – John 1:14, 18; 8:58; 14:8-10.

– We cannot see God and live; in the Old Testament Moses was allowed to see the back of God and live; with the coming of Christ, we must see God in Christ in order to see God and live.