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Service Archives > Biography of God, The > I'm God...and You're Not!

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I'm God...and You're Not!
Exodus 33-34
Skip Heitzig

Exodus 33 (NKJV™)
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, 'To your descendants I will give it.'
2 "And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
3 "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."
4 And when the people heard this bad news, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments.
5 For the LORD had said to Moses, "Say to the children of Israel, 'You are a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.'"
6 So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.
7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the LORD went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.
8 So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.
9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.
10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.
11 So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
12 Then 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 grace in My sight.'
13 "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people."
14 And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
15 Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.
16 "For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth."
17 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."
18 And he said, "Please, show me Your glory."
19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."
21 And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.
22 "So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.
23 "Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
Exodus 34 (NKJV™)
1 And the LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.
2 "So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.
3 "And no man shall come up with you, and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain; let neither flocks nor herds feed before that mountain."
4 So he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones. Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.
5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
7 "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation."
8 So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
9 Then he said, "If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance."
10 And He said: "Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.
11 "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
12 "Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.
13 "But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images
14 '(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
15 "lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice,
16 "and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.
17 "You shall make no molded gods for yourselves.
18 "The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.
19 "All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.
20 "But the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.
21 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
22 "And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end.
23 "Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel.
24 "For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.
25 "You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.
26 "The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."
27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.
30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.
32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.
35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Biography of God, The

The only way to know someone is for that someone to reveal himself/herself to us. We discover who that person is as he tells us about himself. Moses wanted to know God better and God tells Moses about Himself. This is the only place in scripture where God lists His own characteristics and qualities there are four phases to this touching story:

Thomas Jefferson. Martin Luther King Jr. Winston Churchill. C.S. Lewis. All outstanding men with amazing life stories, but in all of history, one biography stands out above the rest. The Biography of God gives an in depth look at His character and nature, and delves into the theological and personal profile of our Heavenly Father. As this series searches the scriptures to lead the believer to a discovery of who God is and how He is sensitive to the human condition, it will both lift up and humble at the same time.

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Detailed Notes

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I. Revolt


II. Request


III. Revelation


IV. Response




Think About This:

  1. Can you think of any times when God has made Himself known to you even during or after you’ve blown it? What does this tell you about the kind of God He is?

  2. Think of the heart cry of Moses in Exodus 33:18. How closely does this reflect your own pursuit in life? How about making this your prayer for the week?

  3. What are you prepared to do when you discover something new about God?

Transcript

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I wanted to tell you about the backdrop behind me where we have the name "The Biography of God," that's an actual photograph we got from NASA and it's a picture of part of the universe taken by the Hubble telescope. So, that's not some concoction, that's an actual photograph of our home, this universe. So I thought you wanted to know that.
Let's turn in our Bibles this evening as we continue this series, to Exodus chapter 32. I know it's says 33 and 34, but the story for us will begin in chapter 32 and we'll be in these chapters tonight and the next time we're together.
I don't know if I got this from somebody handing it to me or an e-mail, typically I get all sorts of e-mail illustrations and I like this one, I want to share it with you. It says, "Dear Tech Support at maleintellect.com. Last year I upgraded from boyfriend 5.0 to husband 1.0 and I noticed the new program began making unexpected changes to the accounting modules, like limiting access to flower and jewelry purchase applications that operated flawlessly under boyfriend 5.0. In addition, husband 1.0 uninstalled many valuable programs such as romance 1.0 and replaced them with undesirable programs such as NFL5.0 and NBA 3.0. Conversation 8.0 no longer runs and housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the program. I've tried running nagging 5.1 to fix these problems but to no avail. Please advise. Signed, Desperate" Tech Support writes back, "Dear Desperate, Keep in mind boyfriend 5.0 is an entertainment package while husband 1.0 is an operating system. Try to enter the command c:/ithoughtyoulovedme and immediately install tears 6.2. Husband 1.0 should automatically run guilty 3.0 and flowers 7.0 which will take care of the problem but remember the overuse of this command will cause husband 1.0 to activate grumpy silence 2.5 and beer 6.1, an aggravating program that creates annoying snoring loudly WAVE files and incoherent babble viruses. Under no circumstances are you to install mother-in-law 1.0 or a new boyfriend program, these are not supported applications and will crash husband 1.0. In summary, husband 1.0 is a great program but has limited memory (laughs, I'm not going to comment), husband 1.0 is a great program but has limited memory and cannot learn applications quickly. Signed, Support Team."
Well you know getting to know somebody does take time and it takes a willingness, a willingness to disclose, a person has to be willing to reveal himself or herself to the other person. Now the first time I met my wife Lenya, I saw her from across the room, I was at my previous girlfriend's apartment for a potluck and I saw her over there. And so, she radiate and so I had a conversation with her, we talked about spiritual things because she had just become a Christian she asked about music and as time went on I thought, "I want to know this girl better." So after a few days I gave her a call and I took her out. Our first date was a concert at church, that was a good place to be. Our second date was at a restaurant, a seafood restaurant, see I didn't know her yet and I didn't know that at that time she hated seafood. So we went to a really nice seafood restaurant in Newport Beach, she orders chicken, but I was learning. Third date I took her to the beach so she could watch me surf, now no waves that day, this was all the Lord. As time developed we talked about each other's background and we disclosed our likes and dislikes, hobbies, etcetera. And about a year or so later, when we were out at another dinner, we were sort of reconnecting after a period of time, we talked at a deeper level about the things of God and what God was showing us and our hopes and dreams and aspirations. And very shortly thereafter I wanted to take it to the next level and I asked this girl to marry me. Now it's been twenty-seven years, I'm still getting to know her. It's still a process, it's a lifelong process, becoming one flesh doesn't happen overnight but it takes a lifetime to get to know somebody. And I will say this, based on this little illustration, wife 1.0 is a whole lot better than girlfriend 3.0 or 4.0 or 5.0, I like the one model program the best. And in getting to know her I've discovered that I need to do a couple things, I need to ask the right questions and I need to listen the right way. 
Now in these chapters we have a very unique place where God in heaven is disclosing himself to Moses. Moses wants to know God better than he's ever known him before. And God is in the process of telling Moses what he's like. It's one of the only places in the Bible where God gives a list of his own attributes. It's really God's autobiography. It gives a list of several things that he is and what he will do for Moses and for his people. But it begins as I mentioned, back in chapter 32. There's four phases to this and we're going to kind of sweep through these phases tonight. First of all is revolt, it's based upon a problem, a sin that had happened. Chapter 32, I call it the "Uh-oh" chapter, because they're just sort of humming along, the children of Israel are, until chapter 32 and it's like, "Uh-oh." And this marks one of the lowest points in their history.
Let's look at it in verse 1, "Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron and said to him, ‘Come let us make gods that shall go before us, as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'" So Moses is up on the mountain getting God's revelation. At that very time they turn to idolatry, very quickly, it's just so ironic that at the very time that God is giving revelation, they turn to man's imagination and they craft this image to worship. The question often comes, why a calf? Why a calf, why a cow? This is conditioned response, that's what it is. They've been in Egypt and the power and symbol of Egypt was typified by a calf. They worshipped in Egypt, Apis the bull and they'd been there a long time. So to them the symbol of power was a calf. Here's a little bit of the history. Apis the bull god of Egypt was called the renewer of life. And the legend said that a flash of light came out of heaven and struck a cow and Apis was born. Now they had looked at Mount Sinai and Moses was up there getting the commandments. And while Moses was up there, do you remember what they saw? They heard thundering, they saw lightning, they felt the earth shake. That reminded them of that legend, no doubt that's why they though, ‘We've got to make some image of God in his power, and that would be this cow. So, here's a more fundamental question: Why did they do this? Why did they make an image of God? Basically I think it's because people, and I mean all people, have problems with an invisible God, we have problems with it. We do, I think all people have problems, how do you have a personal relationship with a person you never see or hear audibly or touch, or view body language and expressions? It's very difficult. Some of you remember the old book turned into a series turned into a film, redone, H. G. Wells The Invisible Man. It was great at first to be invisible but after a while the invisible man discovered nobody trusted him because they couldn't see him. The didn't know if he was in the room or not, he's eavesdropping or what he's looking at. He became very untrustworthy and it became a very tenuous relationship to say the least. 
It's like the little boy who said, "Mommy, is God up there?" "Well yes of course he's up there." "Well, wouldn't it be great if he'd just poke his head out once in a while so we could see him?" Now what that little boy voiced is what we all yearn for to some degree. We want visibility, we want manifestation. We relate to Isaiah in chapter 45 when he said, "Truly you are a God who hides himself." And that's why we as Christians today look forward to sometime in the future when that will happen, we'll see him. We anticipate his appearing. Titus chapter 2, "Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We are waiting to see him face to face. Until then we're in the realm of faith. Not by sight, right? We walk by faith and not by sight. One day and we all want it, we'll see him face to face.
Now here's another question as we're dealing with this because this sort of is the setup for what's coming: Why is this so bad? Why is making an image, some representation of God such a bad thing? Let me give you a couple reasons why it's bad and why God thinks it's bad. Number one, because there is no image in all the earth that can represent God. You can see that, yes. God by his nature is unlimited, as soon as you make any kind of a visible representation, it is by its own very nature limited. How is something limited going to represent unlimited God? There is no image to be found in all of the earth, no painting that can totally adequately completely represent God. Isaiah 40p verse 18, the Lord speaks, "To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him? The workman molds an image. The goldsmith overspreads it with gold. The silversmith casts silver chains on it." So here you've got this calf that must have represented power, strength. But it said nothing of his love, his patience, his justice, his compassion; those moral attributes were completely left out by this embodiment of power. Number one, there's no image that can represent God in all the earth. Number two, because as soon a you make an image of God, you're creating God in your image. "I picture God as…, thus I'll create an image." That's idolatry. We're made in God's image and God says in the second commandment that Moses was receiving at that moment, "Ye shall not make God in any image whatsoever." Why? Because it's based on man's imagination rather than God's revelation.
Okay, so Moses finally comes down the mountain, sees what's going on, is very angry as is God, throws the Ten Commandments down at the foot as this thing, goes right up Aaron who he left in charge… I've just got to have you see this, go down to verse 21, this is like the most classic excuse you'll ever read about. Verse 21, "Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought so great sin upon them?' And Aaron said, ‘Do not let the anger of my Lord become hot. You know the people, that they're set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make God's that shall go before us. As for this Moses the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.' So they gave it to me and I cast it into the fire. And this calf came out.' 
And Moses is going, ‘Uh yeah, like I'm going to really believe that.' "Yeah seriously Moses I just threw stuff in and this cow just walked out.' This is lame excuse number whatever. We've all heard lame excuses, haven't we? "Well I put my keys down but you always put them somewhere else, that's why I lose them." Or, "The reason I'm late is because of my wife or because of my husband." We're good at excuses. I was actually privy to, it was handed to me, a list of real excuses that people pulled over by police officers gave to policemen for the behavior on the road. One guy ran two red lights and he said, "Well it's a V-8, you try stopping it." Seriously that's what he said. People that were pulled over for speeding, here's an excuse, one said to a police officer, "I had to speed to get in front of you, I'm hurrying to the service station because I'm running out of gas." It makes perfect sense, officer didn't buy it, wrote him up a ticket. One guy said, "Well I'm late for a funeral." That was his excuse for going fast, of course the truth is if you keep doing that it may be your funeral that other people are going to.
Lame excuse, this was a revolt against the nature of God and the very commandment of God that Moses was receiving. It marks one of the lowest points in all of their history.
Before we move on, I want to plant something in your heart: what excuse, let me rephrase that, what lame excuse do you have for not coming to Jesus Christ? What are you hiding behind? What is your excuse? "Well, I'm not coming because…" But you're going no further to rectify that situation, or to assuage the hunger that's in your heart. We'll get back to that.
Let's move to the second thing, second phase of this, and that is the request. Now, because of the revolt with the golden calf, God will remove his presence, at least that's what he'll say to Moses. He's saying, "I'm not going with you guys any more. Instead I'm going to send my angel in its place." So look at chapter 33 beginning in verse 2, "And I will send my angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, (the Termite, oh that's not in there, excuse me) the Jebusite; 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." When the people heard these grave tidings (in other words, God's going to send a substitute, an angel but not himself, these grave tidings) they mourned and no one put on his ornaments." Not only were the people disappointed but Moses was disappointed and Moses now goes to have a long talk with God. A conversation with God, to talk to him about this very issue, to express his own heart.
Go down to verse 18 of this chapter, chapter 33 and verse 18, here's the request, "And he said, ‘Please show me your glory.' And then he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.' But he said, ‘You cannot see my face (that's what he was asking for), For no man shall see me and live.' And the Lord said, ‘Here is a place by me and you shall stand on the rock, so it shall be while my glory passes by that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and will cover you with my hand while I pass by. And then I will take away my hand and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.'" Moses wanted to see God. Moses wanted to experience everything he could of God that is possible while he is in this human body. Now notice the request: Please, show me your glory." Let me tell you word the word is, in Hebrew it's kabod and it means to be heavy. And it generally speaks of a person's weighty reputation. His weighty reputation or honored position. One translation says, "Please I want to see your own self." In other words, "Look, God, I tell you what I want, I not only want you with us and y9ou said you were going to send your angel, I want to see a full disclosure of your glorious person." It's not too different from the disciples who said to Jesus, remember Phillip? "Just show us the Father and that'll be enough for us." It'd be enough for anybody, wouldn't it? We want to see God the Father, show us the Father and it will be enough.
Now in verse 20, God makes it clear that human beings in their present constitution could not look upon God. It'd sort of be like a bug getting close to those bug zappers. You know, they're drawn to the light and Gzzzt! You can't see me and live. God did let Moses experience some manifestation. I don't know quite how to describe it, it's put in what I call anthropomorphic terms, but it's enough to get the idea that he had some glorious experience with God.
Now I've got a question for you: Why did Moses ask for this? And don't answer this too quickly, think about it. Why would Moses say, "Show me your glory." Now what I want you to think about is what Moses had already experienced in his life. What Moses had already experienced when it comes to God is far more than all of us have experienced with God put together. He saw a burning bush and heard God speak out of the bush. He saw a body of water open up, provide dry land and cover up miraculously the Egyptian army. He was able to see healings, he was able to see miracles. He saw and experienced the plagues of Egypt. Why did he ask for this? Here's why: I don't care who you are, I don't care how spiritual you are, I don't care how theological and how knowledgeable or well-informed you are, at our deepest level this is what we long for. Even though we experience some presence of God when we gather and when we're alone, we want God to be visible.
Let me show you what it's like and you can related to this. Whenever I travel away from my family, I miss my family. You know, I carry pictures of them. Now I can carry them on my little phone but I used to carry actual photographs of them. I used to have a little frame, bedstand frame and there was a picture of my wife on one side and my son on the other and I'd always open it up wherever I'd stay and put it on my bedstand. And there was a picture, a representation of them, I could look at it. It was never enough, I would never sit in that hotel room and go, "I don't need to come home, I've got these pictures. Good enough." I'd call on the phone and I'd hear their voice but that was never enough. In fact, all looking at the pictures did and hearing their voice was simply accentuate the loss that I felt. I wanted to be home and see their glory. I wanted to see them face to face.
So here's Moses, he'd seen so much already, he's not satisfied. And you know what? You'll never be fully satisfied until then, until you see his face. Now listen carefully, all of the worship experiences that have been so great, whether it's at a retreat or privately or at a church service or at a special worship event; where you go, "Wow! I experienced God so much tonight." It's never enough. You never stop and go, "I never want that ever again, I'm satisfied now with that one experience." All that does is accentuate the loss. You've known God partially, now you want to know him fully. This prayer of Moses, "I want to see your glory." We can understand that, in fact I'll go a step further: Worship now on earth is never meant to satisfy us, it's never meant to quench our thirst. All of the Bible reading we have now was never meant to satisfy us or quench that thirst either. What it's meant to do I believe is simply whet our appetite for when we see him face to face, and then we will be totally satisfied.
Listen to this from a book, I love by Tim Stafford Knowing The Face of God, he writes, "I believe this longing can only be fulfilled when our eyes are opened on the loving and glorious face of God, such will some day be our joy. But not yet. The Bible does not hint that our intimacy with God can be satisfied through prayer or through ecstatic worship experiences or through the Bible. If Moses could not get what he wanted then we should not be too surprised at our own sense of incompleteness. Our longing is a mark of God's touch. We long to know him completely because we've come to know him in part." Now I'm going to add a little P.S. to that: Moses did get his chance at being satisfied. Some years later, not on Mount Sinai but on the mount of transfiguration when he along with Elijah saw Jesus in his glory as did the disciples. The foretaste of the future, that's Luke chapter 9.
So if Moses didn't get what he longed for, what did he get? Well now we move to third phase and that is the revelation. This is what God did do, this is chapter 34 now, the heart of it all. Look at verse 5, "Then the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord." Isn't that interesting) And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and fourth generation." That's what he got. Moses did not see God directly. He heard God's words. And God, this is interesting, proclaimed the name of the Lord and gives a ninefold description of his character. So important is this passage of scripture that twelve more times in the Bible the scripture will point back to this when God gave his autobiography to Moses and said what he is like. But I want you to pick up on this: what did he get? Moses got no sign from heaven, he got no vision of heaven, there was no apparition, no face of Jesus in a tortilla or the appearance of anything, like he thought he would get when he said, "Please show me your glory>" This is not what he expected. 
What did he get? Words, he got words. You go, "Words? He says ‘Show me your glory' and God says ‘You can't see my face but I'm going to give you some words.'" That's right, Moses got words, glorious words that described who God is to us and what God does for us. Gave him words, it's as if he is saying, "I'll tell you who I am, Moses; let me tell you what I'm like, let me give you my autobiography. Oh, and by the way Moses, I'm giving you this because it's all you need. This is all you need. Have you noticed that sometimes we think we need something and God knows exactly what we do need? And doesn't give us what we say we need but gives us what we really need. Remember Paul the apostle begged that God would heal him and God said, "You don't need that. My grace is sufficient for you, my strength will be made perfect in your weakness. Here's Paul thinking he needs a miracle, God says you don't need that, all you need is me, my strength, my grace. And here's Moses saying, "I need to see your glory." "Moses, what you really need are my words." This is where we enter into the relationship with God by faith. God is not giving him sight but faith, "Believe what I'm telling you about me." 
Remember those two disciples in the New Testament, after Jesus rose from the dead, they didn't know he was risen, they thought he was still dead, they were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, their heads were hung down. And Jesus came alongside of them and what did he do? He gave them a Bible study, it says "He expounded the scriptures all the things pertaining to himself." He didn't give them a sign, didn't give them a miracle, no display of glory, just words, a Bible study, explained the Bible to them. And do you know what those two disciples said? "One said to the other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us on the road and while he opened the scriptures to us?'" Boy, that's interesting. It doesn't say, "Didn't our hearts burn within us as he was glowing over there in a corner?" Didn't say he was glowing. "Didn't our hearts burn within us as we were talking to him?" No, the heart burn came from Jesus talking to them and what he told them wasn't anything they'd already heard, they grew up Jewish, they'd heard the scriptures growing up. Jesus taught them a Bible study and yet they said, "Our heart burned within us." Here's why: It wasn't because it was a new revelation, it was simply a new application of the old revelation. And Jesus was saying, "This is all you need." And their hearts burned within them.
Everything you need, and I say this with all sincerity, is in the pages of this book. Everything you need in life is within the pages of this book. I believe that, I've lived my whole life believing that. I believe what Peter said in II Peter chapter 1 that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godly living through the knowledge of him who called us. 
I heard about a man who went on a cruise, he had saved up all his money to buy a ticket to go on a cruise. He was so stoked but he knew he only had enough money for the boat. He was thinking to himself, "I don't have enough money for the food that it's going to cost, it would be very expensive on this cruise." So he brings bread, peanut butter and jelly. That's what he could afford. He had the ticket, walks on the boat and in his suitcase is all this bread, peanut butter and jelly. So imagine this poor guy, day after day he walks by the beef and the lobster and all of the trimmings. And he goes back to his hotel room, pulls out the bread, spreads out a little peanut butter and eats his little toast in the corner with his jam. And this went on day after day, until finally walking by that line of those delicacies got to him, he couldn't take it any longer. He finally went up to the porter and he says, "Look, I can't take this any longer, I've been on this cruise almost two weeks and this is like the last day. I'll do anything to eat the food that's in that line. I'll wash dishes, anything. And the porter laughed at him and said, "Didn't you know? When you buy the ticket, the food's included." That poor sap. The food was already his. He didn't know it so he didn't appropriate it. 
Everything you need, every tool you need for every bit of life is given to you in the knowledge of God. Yet I meet Christians all the time who are searching for something more in the Christian life. I hear it in their prayers, they want more power, they want more of the Holy Spirit, they want more blessings, they want more glory. They want more, more, more. And God is saying, "It's yours. It's a package deal. You get the ticket to the boat, you get the meal."
Here's my question: Are you as excited about his words as you are about his wonders? There's a lot of Christians that would have to say no. Are you as excited about his words as you are his wonders? 
So, God proclaimed his name and gave these attributes and those are the attributes we're going to look at next time. Nine of them are listed. These are the prominent characteristics of God's reputation. That's the idea of the name. "I'm going to proclaim my name." The name is closely associated with the person's reputation. And these on the list form his autobiography. God is saying, "This is what I am and this is what I'll do." As if to say, "I'm God, Moses, and you're not." 
Okay, so let's close with this: Here's the fourth and final part of this is the response. Verse 8, "So Moses made haste (or he hurried) and he bowed his head toward the earth and he worshipped." Please mark that Moses did not get what he asked for but he still worshipped God. After God revealed himself to Moses. You don't read anything in here where Moses said, "Excuse me but this is not what I signed up for. I didn't come for this. I want tingles, okay? I want to be moved emotionally. I want more than just words, I want wonders." And there's no record that he said that because when Moses saw god as he is in this verbal description of his attributes, he also saw himself with new insight. He saw God, "That's who God is." He saw himself with new insight. And Moses worshipped as if to say, "It's really not about me is it God? It's really not about what I want or how I feel. You are God and I'm not." This is the appropriate response, it was one of worship. And we need to revisit this today in our generation because frankly this has been and is the Me Generation, "What's in it for me? How will I be blessed? What will I get out of it?" That's where Moses was at, "Show me your glory." 
Several years ago, we weren't even in this building, so this is twenty-four years ago when we were in our previous building, some of you are still alive to remember that. And remember it was a second service in that building on Snowheights, this couple came in, they were visiting, and it's just the way he asked the question that just sort of, I'll admit it, rubbed me the wrong way. He kind of coked his head back, "Hi, I'm So-and-so and we're just visiting today to see what you have to offer." I should have just shut up. But I couldn't help but saying, "Well good but I'd like to know, what do you have to offer?" And again, I shouldn't have said that, but it's what I felt, so I was honest. And I think that probably at its core is appropriate. 
It's not about us, it's not about what God does and performs for us, it's all about God. What are you offering him? What are you bringing to him? He's the focus and the center.
So that's the story, those are the four phases of this story. The revolt, the request of Moses, the revelation God gave him and the response of worship. And we'll zero in on those attributes next time because this is God telling us what he's like. But I want you to leave with three lessons tonight. These are the practical lessons to walk away with, these are the lingering lessons that you should take home and I should take home. Number one, longing is part of loving. Longing is part of loving. Longing for God, "I want to experience God." That's part of loving, that's part of God's touch as Stafford said, there's nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, God responds to that longing, right? Remember we read in Hebrews, he's the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Longing is part of loving. But in seeking him know this, the rewards will come but you won't be fully rewarded until you see him face to face, that is the ultimate reward. There'll be payoffs til then but the real reward will come when you see him because you can't handle seeing him now. So God, when he says, "You can't see me and I can't show you my glory," he's not saying no, he's simply saying not yet. Now children learn that not yet part. They grow up, "Dad, can I drive?" You don't say, "No." You go, "Not yet. You're only twelve, one day you'll drive." Or when it's November and you hear a Christmas song like I did tonight and you think, "Christmas is around the corner." And then pretty soon you'll start hearing more of those Christmas carols and seeing packages and trees go up and that taste is in the air and it gets to be December 22nd and children see the packages under the tree and they think, "I want to open that. At least just one or two or all of them." Then you say, "No," but you say, "Not yet. You will." I remember one Christmas Eve I snuck out of my room, went under the Christmas tree and I started going for a bicycle that I knew was under this big shroud, it was obvious. And I started to go for it, my mom tiptoed in the room and she said, "Not yet. Go back to bed. You will in a few hours be able to open that." 
So longing is part of loving, that's the first lesson. Number two, worshipping is better than wondering. Rather than wondering, "Does God not love me, is that why I don't experience or feel or see more than I experience or feel or see?" Worship is a far better response than wondering. Just worship him. In fact, I'll say this, every time God reveals himself to you in any way through this book and you find out something about him that you didn't know or it's reinforced, the proper response is to worship him. Because God is saying, "This is what you need. This is all you need." And you're saying when you worship, "You're right, it's enough."
Third lesson and we'll close with this, invisible does not mean unavailable. Invisible does not mean unavailable. "Well I can't see God!" It doesn't matter. The most important truth is God can see you. Not that you can see God. Whether you can see God or not is irrelevant. God knows you and God can see you. David wrote in Psalm 139, "Where can I go from your presence? Where can if flee from your spirit? If I go up to the heavens, you're there. If I make my bed in the depths, behold you are there."
It's the same truth Job came to grips with. He said, "I go forward to find God and he's not there. I go backward, he's not there, I can't find him." But then he said, "But he knows the way that I take." So, invisible certainly does not mean he's unavailable. That's where we enter in by faith rather than by sight.
Years ago, true story, on television was a circus act. It was televised, it was made for live television. And one of the great acts in the circus was the Bengal tiger act where the trainer gets locked into a cage with several Bengal tigers. So the lights go on the cage, the trainer snaps the whip, all the tigers are in the cage. He goes on, the doors are locked behind him, the people are booing and hissing, the camera zeroes in. Just then, all of the electricity went out, all the lights went out. For twenty to thirty LONG seconds, that trainer was in a cage, how would that feel to you? You're in a cage with tigers, they can see you, you can't see them. Spooky, huh? It is, unless rather than tigers looking at you, it's the lion of the tribe of Judah. It's the everlasting God who sees all and knows all and whether you apprehend him or feel him or touch him or hear him or see him, he knows the way that you take. And he asks you to trust him with the words that he gives you.
And finally, back tot hat question that I just threw in there: What excuse is keeping you from committing your life to Jesus Christ? "Well I'm going to wait a little longer, I'm going to hear a few more things, I have a few more questions." Well, join the crowd, I've got a few more questions too. But something will happen to you when you give your life to Jesus and you find the big question, why you're here, gets taken care of. I'll guarantee you he'll change your life if you let him. Don't' hide behind any more excuses.
Our heavenly Father, we thank you for the time, thank you for your word, thank you for the words of life that you have preserved throughout the ages given to us in the Bible, the inspired inerrant word of God. We can apply and they're as fresh today as when they were spoken to Moses. Lord, we relate to his cry, "Show me your glory." We relate to it, all of us do. And one day we will. But until then you've given us your words, to listen to, to believe in and to apply. I pray that our longing would ever increase until the day we do see you face to face, I pray that we'd be worshippers rather than just wondering why this and why that. The response would be, "It's enough, Lord. We praise you, we worship you." And Lord I pray that our knowledge, that you see us would carry us through the difficult times. Father, finally for those who don't know you tonight, for those who've been struggling with this issue of coming to Christ, those who have put it off and put it off. Or, their life is not in tune with you, not walking in obedience with you, they've walked away, they're not obeying. Lord, I pray they'd come back to you and they'd trust you and in humility they too would become worshippers of God by first coming to God and asking Jesus to forgive their sins. Father thank you for these hands and these lives around the room, you can put them down now) We pray that as they invite Jesus to do what they could never do, that is save them. As they cooperate with your calling them, we pray Lord they'd always look back to this night as the night of the threshold change. I pray they'd never be the same. We know they never will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
10/12/2008
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Can God Be Known?
Hebrews 11:6
Skip Heitzig
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Today we start a brand new series of messages I'm calling, "The Biography of God". The very subject matter of "God" is the loftiest of all subjects and the pinnacle of all pursuits. As we discover who God is and how He is perceptible to the human condition, we will be both lifted up and humbled all at the same time. The great transition that must be made, however, is to not stop with gathering information about God but by believing and acting in the light of that information, thus truly knowing Him.
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10/19/2008
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Is Anyone Up There? Looking For Clues
Romans 1:18-22;Psalms 19:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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We all remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and her three friends come to approach the "Great Oz". Out of the corner of their eye, they notice a man pulling levers behind a curtain-working the mechanical, smoke-breathing Oz. The man then reacts by announcing, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" But how can they not? The man is the explanation for everything to them. They discovered that Oz didn't really exist! So how do we know that God exists and isn't a fabrication or projection of our own imaginations?
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10/26/2008
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"Now Hear This!" How Does God Speak?
Psalms 19
Skip Heitzig
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This is the age of communication. Cell phones, email, text-messaging, i-chatting and YouTube broadcasting are as common as coffee. (Some people are even talking the old-fashioned way—face to face with the person.) So how does God communicate? How does His message, His biography get out to the world? And more importantly, perhaps, who’s listening?
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11/23/2008
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God: A Short Autobiography
Exodus 34:5-7
Skip Heitzig
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In studying the Biography of God, there's no better source than God Himself. This is one of the primary passages in all of Scripture about who God is; it is His own autobiography. This is God telling us about Himself. As God reveals to Moses who He is, he begins by declaring His name and then listing several of His primary character traits. It's not unlike meeting anyone for the first time. We get their name and then learn some things about them. As we relate to God, then, these experiences are what we can expect to find.

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12/14/2008
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The God Who Knows-It-All!
Psalms 139:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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A little boy climbed his neighbor's apple tree when he saw their car leave. He didn't realize while he was stuffing his pockets full of apples that another neighbor was watching through a pair of binoculars and saw the whole thing! God isn't spying on people, trying to catch them doing something wrong; but God is aware of everything. Such a truth has a profound effect on us: it can either be very comforting or else extremely unsettling. As we continue with the biography of God, let's consider what God knows.
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1/4/2009
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Godisnowhere
Psalms 139:7-12
Skip Heitzig
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1/11/2009
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My God is Bigger than Your God!
Psalms 139:13-18
Skip Heitzig
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There are so many different belief systems out there! Some people have a god that isn't very big and can't do very much. He smiles a lot but is weak and helpless to act. It's not a whole lot different from ancient times, really. The Syrians once said that Israel's God was "a god of the hills and not of the plains" (1 Kings 20:28). Their view of God was limited and powerless. So what's your view? Does it match the Bible's description of our Awesome God?
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1/18/2009
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God's Most Unpopular Attribute
Isaiah 6
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Ask most people to tell you the first word that comes to mind when they think of God and it will be "love" or "grace" or "forgiveness." All of these are wonderfully comforting attributes of God, but another key attribute that is seldom considered is His holiness. Today we observe one man's encounter with God, and we learn some lessons about what it means to have a personal relationship with a holy God.
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1/25/2009
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I Don't Get It! How Can Three Be One?
Matthew 28:16-20
Skip Heitzig
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1+1+1=1. Is this New Math? No, it's the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. At the very heart of the Judeo-Christian faith is the belief that there is only one God. Yet the Bible clearly teaches the plurality within the Godhead--three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. What are we to make of all this? And why is it important? Today let's consider two major truth statements.
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2/1/2009
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Two Thirds is Not Enough
John 14-17
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"The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who would try to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind. But he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul" (Harold Lindsey and Charles J. Woodbridge, A Handbook of Christian Truth). Last week we discovered that Scripture reveals One God in three distinct Persons. Today we consider the personality of all three Persons in the One God and Their role in our lives. Further, how can we relate to the Triune God in practical terms?
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2/15/2009
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The Dark Side of God
John 9:1-7
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"If God is in charge and loves us, then whatever is given is subject to His control and is meant ultimately for our joy" -Elizabeth Elliot. That perspective (which is the biblical one) is far from the typical sentiment about pain. Most ask, "If God really loved me, how could there be evil and suffering in this world--especially for me?!" To study God at all, this issue must be dealt with: Why is God’s world so messy? Where is the evidence of His power and love in such a suffering world?
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2/22/2009
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GPS: God's Positioning System
Acts 21:1-15
Skip Heitzig
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Part of a relationship with anyone is knowing what that person expects. We wonder, "What does that person want from me in this relationship?" Relating to God is no different. So how can we know what God's will is for our lives? What kind of guidance can we expect? A notable example from Paul's life furnishes an excellent template for exploring this question. It was a confusing time, and many people didn’t agree with Paul's decision - but he felt it was God's will for him.
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3/1/2009
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How to Be God's Friend
Genesis 18:1-15
Skip Heitzig
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For the last fourteen weeks we've looked at "The Biography of God." In this loftiest of all subjects and the pinnacle of all pursuits, we've discovered Who He is, what He is like, and how to relate to Him. We must always remember not to stop with just gathering information about God--we need to truly know Him in a personal way. Abraham provided a model for us in how to do that as a friend. Four qualities form the template for being God's friend.
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.