By David Faust
At breakfast with a couple of men the other day, we laughed about dumb things we have said over the years. The conversation led us to observe that Jesus’ original disciples occasionally said some dumb things too.
It’s not hard to list several ill-advised comments they made to the Lord:
• “Master, don’t you care if we drown in this storm?” (If anyone ever cared about people perishing, it’s Jesus.)
• “It’s such a big crowd. How can we feed everyone?” (Catering a meal for 5,000 was no problem for the Creator who provides daily bread for his children.)
• “Let’s call fire down from Heaven to consume that Samaritan village!” (No wonder Jesus nicknamed James and John the “Sons of Thunder.”)
• “Can we occupy the prominent seats at your right and left?” (James and John’s mother seconded their ambitious, misguided request.)
• “Lord, do you want me to build shelters here on the mountain for you, Moses, and Elijah?” (As if Moses and Elijah would prefer Peter’s handmade shacks over the mansions they occupied in Heaven.)
• “Crucifixion—that will never happen to you!” “Lord, you will never wash my feet.” “Even if others deny you, I won’t.” (Peter said a lot of rash things.)
Moses wasn’t perfect either, but he said some very intelligent things to God that we would be wise to say as well:
• “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Moses realized that if God isn’t leading the way, it’s foolish to move forward. How can you and I be like a burning bush that stays on fire but isn’t consumed? Only if the Lord’s presence is with us.
• “Now show me your glory” (v. 18). This time Moses’ request was almost over the top. How can human eyes behold the limitless glory of God? The Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you . . . . 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. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen” (vs. 19, 22, 23).
Evidently a glimpse was all Moses could handle. Viewing God’s back was like seeing the afterglow of the sun after it sets or estimating the size of a ship by the magnitude of the wake it leaves behind. Yet, “Show me your glory” is a smart prayer.
If we open our eyes, we can catch glimpses of God’s glory every day. We can see it when hiking in the mountains, walking on the beach, and reading our Bibles. We can experience it in a grandchild’s hug and an aging saint’s handshake. We can see God’s glory on the face of a new believer emerging from the baptistery. We can taste it in the bread and juice of the Lord’s Supper. We can hear it in the reassuring prayer of an elder and in a new Christian’s enthusiastic testimony. Hearts attuned to the glory of God sense it in beautiful music and art, outstanding athletic plays, satisfying work, and conversations among friends.
Yes, we say and do dumb things, but Christ came to earth for flawed, foolish folks like us. Walking with him, we catch glimpses of glory even greater than Moses enjoyed. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
1. When and where do you catch glimpses of God’s glory?
2. How does God’s presence help you?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for February 15, 2015
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Exodus 30, 31
Exodus 32, 33