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Exodus 33:12-231NIV New International Version Translations
12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” 14The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” 18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”


The Book of Exodus relates the forming of the children of Israel into a church and a nation. We have seen true religion shown in domestic life, now, we begin to trace its effects upon the concerns of kingdoms and nations. Exodus signifies “the departure;” the chief event therein recorded is the departure of Israel from Egypt and Egyptian bondage; it plainly points out the fulfilling of several promises and prophecies to Abraham respecting his seed, and shadows forth the state of the church, in the wilderness of this world, until her arrival at the heavenly Canaan, an eternal rest.

Biblical Truth3

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.

Items for Discussion

  • We often have thoughts that ponder the subject of what God’s face may look like – What do you think God looks like?
  • Moses is pretty clear that he is very uncomfortable with the thought of not having God nearby – Do you believe that we as Christians today feel the same way? If we did, how might Christianity be different?
  • Why is it that mankind, including Moses, could not look at God’s face?
  • Reread verse 21 – Who’s face do you see in this verse?
  • How is it that Christ’s face could be God’s face?


Ephesians 2:10
10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


It is said that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of the divinest compositions of man and it embraces every doctrine of Christianity. Covered specifically are doctrines peculiar to Christianity and then those precepts common to it.

Bible Truths4

For we are his workmanship – We are his “making” – ποίημα poiēma (Greek). That is, we are “created or formed” by him, not only in the general sense in which all things are made by him, but in that special sense which is denoted by the new creation; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 5:17. Whatever of peace, or hope, or purity we have, has been produced by his agency on the soul. There cannot be conceived to be a stronger expression to denote the agency of God in the conversion of people, or the fact that salvation is wholly of grace.

Created in Christ Jesus – On the word “created,” see the notes at 2 Corinthians 5:17.

To do good works – With reference to a holy life; or, the design for which we have been created in Christ is, that we should lead a holy life. The primary object was not to bring us to heaven. It was that we should be “holy.” Paul held perhaps more firmly than any other man, to the position that people are saved by the mere grace of God, and by a divine agency on the soul; but it is certain that no man ever held more firmly that people must lead holy lives, or they could have no evidence that they were the children of God.

Which God has prepared in advance – The word here used means to “prepare beforehand,” then to predestinate, or appoint before. The proper meaning of this passage is, “to which good works God has predestined us, or appointed us beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The Greek word used here – προετοιμάζω proetoimazō – occurs in the New Testament nowhere else except in Romans 9:23, where it is rendered “had afore prepared.” It involves the idea of a previous determination, or an arrangement beforehand for securing a certain result. The previous preparation here referred to was, the divine intention; and the meaning is, that God had predetermined that we should lead holy lives. It accords, therefore, with the declaration in Ephesians 1:4, that he had chosen his people before the foundation of the world that they should be holy: see the notes at that verse.

Items for Discussion

  • Evolutionists would not understand this verse at all – What does it mean to you to know that “you,” before your parents even created you, were created in God’s mind?
  • Why is it important to know that each of us were created for a purpose, do to good works?
  • What does it mean to be created “in” something?
  • What comfort do you receive knowing that we were “created in Christ Jesus?”
  • What happens when we fail to achieve the “good works” that God had intended us to do?
  • How do we know if we are on track doing what God wants us to do?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we challenge ourselves, our families and friends to seek the true purpose of our creation?