“When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”
~Exodus 33:9, 11a
What a relationship Moses shared with God! The Bible tells us that he spoke with God face to face as a man talks with a friend. The intimacy of that relationship is hard to grasp! Obviously, Moses knew the Lord deeply, and more importantly was known by God just as deeply. Today, we’re going to explore the wonder of being known by God, the access that allows us to enter God’s presence, and the power we have as a known child of God.
Back at the beginning of Exodus 33, God told Moses to lead the people to the Promised Land. However, He said that He would not go up with them lest He kill the Israelites for their sin. Instead, God promised to send an angel to go before them and prepare the way for them. To us, this may have sounded like a wonderful promise! An angel would go before and lead us. However, Moses wasn’t satisfied with this arrangement. He wasn’t willing to settle for this option because he knew God and that God’s presence and personal direction was the best, not an angel God sent.
Therefore, Moses climbed the mountain again to petition God and ask that God go with them into the land He had promised. Let’s take a look at their conversation and what happened next.
“Moses said to the LORD, ‘See, you say to me, “Bring up this people,” but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.” Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?’
And the LORD said to Moses, ‘This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.’ Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The LORD.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.’ And the LORD said, ‘Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.’
This is a beautiful dialogue and a precious window into the heart of God and the close relationship Moses shared with the Almighty LORD. While it is a longer passage than I generally quote, it is worth reading through slowly.
The reoccurring phrase that pops out at me is ““I know you by name.” God said this of Moses, and it is a crucial part of their relationship. Moses would not have received the power, leadership, and authority that God gave him if he had not been known by God. This word “know” is that of intimate knowledge. It is the same word used in the physical relationship of marriage and denotes intimacy and closeness. Therefore, God is saying that He intimately knows and cares for Moses in a personal, close, and loving way. He is not familiar and aware of Moses, He knows him—knows him by name.
Because of this, God honored Moses’ supplication and promised to go with Moses into the Promised Land. He also honored Moses’ bold request and protected him from the danger he was unaware of. So Moses got to see all the goodness of God without fear of death. He saw God’s glory in its fullest possible extent this side of heaven and felt God’s gentle covering of protection as he sheltered in the cleft of the rock. His intimacy with God and personal, intentional relationship with the LORD of all led him into deeper places and amazing experiences.
What will we experience in our relationship with the Lord? Will we walk in deep places with our Savior? Will we grow our relationship and enjoy such intimacy that God could say what He said of Moses, “You have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name?”
I want that! I want the power of being known by God. I want my promise-based petitions to move God’s heart. I want to behold the glory of the Lord and feel His protective hand covering me in the cleft of the rock. I want what Moses had.
But in order to get that, we must be intentional to spend time with God. Moses’ relationship with God didn’t happen overnight. He spent many hours, days, and nights with God. He listened to God and obeyed His Word. Now, Moses is able to speak with God as a man speaks with a friend—freely, openly, and without fear. Oh, may we reach the same place of intimacy with our Creator!
While being known by God is such a precious and treasured thing, the opposite of it should be highly feared. Jesus shared a story about the danger of not developing a relationship with our Creator in Matthew 7.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Oh, what a tragic outcome that would be when we arrive in heaven! These men thought that they were doing works for the Lord, but because they never had a relationship with God, they arrived at the end of their life and discovered that it was all in vain. May that not be our story! We want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we’ve finished our life.
Therefore, take time to cultivate a powerful, intimate, and real relationship with the living God so that you might be fully known by Him and experience the power, privilege, and protection your Father wants to lavish upon you. May we be like Moses who behold God’s glory and walked with God in such a special, close way that everyone knew when he had been with God by his shining countenance. Oh, the joys of being known by God! So seek it, desire it, and begin to devote time to developing your relationship with your Maker, Creator, and Savior today.
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