But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. (Exodus 11:7)
During the last of the ten plagues, Moses spoke boldly against Pharoah: the Lord will go into the midst of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. This plague was the climax to the story of God’s deliverance of His people, after the Egyptians had undergone lengthy suffering and before Pharoah finally cast the Israelites out of his land in devastation from the loss of his firstborn. At the end, the Lord had gained victory and displayed His majestic powers. The Lord had shown that He does make a difference between the Egyptians and those who He calls His own.
This is the day which You have made, Lord.
Help me to rejoice and be glad in it.
Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people. (Ex 33:3)
After the Israelites worshiped the golden cow, God said that He would not go with the people, but would send an angel instead. So, God showed the Israelites that their perverseness made this severe punishment necessary for them. However, even in His judgment, He remembered to show mercy to them. The Ten Commandments and related laws defined Israel’s relationship with God. To obey those laws was to act righteously, because such obedience maintained the covenant between God and His people. As David wrote, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Ps 103:7-8).
So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Ex 33:17-18)
After the Israelites worshiped the golden cow, Moses spent forty days and nights interceding for the people. Finally, God honored Moses’ bold intercession, and He promised to restore His relationship with Israel. Yet Moses was still not satisfied, and He wanted more in his personal relationship with God. We may have been Christians for many years, but have we ever really longed for some personal experience or direct knowledge of God? We all ask for personal blessings, but how much do we desire to know God Himself? That is what Moses asked for: “Show me Your glory”.
Recently, some brothers and sisters who had not come to church in a long time came back to attend service. I was both surprised and glad to see them again. When I told other members that they had returned, they also reacted with surprise and joy. However, our reactions made me realize one thing – in a sense, we were surprised because we were not expecting them to come back. In a sense, though we must have prayed for these lost sheep at one point in time, we were surprised because for a long time, we may have forgotten about them.