Jesus, the Radiance of the Glory of God

Brian Mahon - 12/17/2023


Call to worship: Psalm 24 and Philippians 4:4

Text: Exodus 33:7-34:9


From covenant-affirming to golden-calf making, Israel has broken faithfulness with their God. Can sinners be reconciled to God? Can He be reconciled to us? Moses records a conversation between friends, he and the Lord. This is his concern, and God's glory is the answer. But what is that? Can His glory be described? Can we understand it? And if so, how so? To this end, God preaches Himself and, in doing so, reveals the 'backside' of His essential glory to Moses as a goodness weighted to do all that's necessary to save whomever He wills. And as that's hope for a world of sinners, Moses bows, worships, and pleads for Israel's pardon and perseverance as the people of God. The account is an advance upon the glory of God---knowing Who He is---a thing that, in so many ways, ultimately comes to a Head in Jesus Christ. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature! If you want to know Him, know, trust, love Jesus.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Sharing Moses' concern. (33:7-16)
  2. Seeing the Lord's answer. (33:17-34:7)
  3. Savoring Christ, the Radiance of God's glory. (34:8-9)


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Exodus 33:7-34:9. Consider it in light of the other passages for Scripture reading.
  2. What has just happened prior to the 'intrusion' of Moses' remarks about the tent of meeting? How does this inform our understanding of Moses' concern? What is/are Moses' concern(s)? Note also where the tent of meeting is established.
  3. Why is Moses compelled to ask God, 'Please show me Your glory'? Why would he think that to be the thing he most needs to see? Have you sought to define the glory of God? How does God define it? Perhaps it's better to ask, how does He 'layer' it? Or how would you put it all together from this text, 33:19-34:7? How do the ideas of divine sovereignty, goodness, grace, and justice compile a seminal depiction of God's glory or distinctive beauty, particularly as it relates to sinners? Why/how is the glory of God the answer to Moses' concern?
  4. What 'mystery' is there in the preached glory of God? Meditate on 34:7, considering the transition from forgiveness to justice. How does Moses respond to what God has preached? Do you think he finds it lamentable, an obstacle to hope, a revelation to be dissected, or, well, what 34:8-9 reveal to us? Why does he respond the way he does?
  5. How does this passage relate to the advent of Christ? How are we led to His glory, or what do we see of the glory of God in Him? How do these things find ultimate expression in Him---tent of meeting, the locale of that tent (and meeting with God), friendship with God (reconcilation), divine presence, saving sovereignty, (maybe, cleft in the rock, ha), the mystery at the center of God's essential glory (radiance), the manifestation of God Himself? What cause do we have, even clearer than Moses, to worship the Lord for what He's revealed to us in Jesus Christ?
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