“And he said, ‘Please, show me Your glory.’ 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.’ But He said, ‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.’”—Exodus 33:18–20 (NKJV)
You can tell a lot about a person’s heart by what they ask for. A long time ago, all I wanted were Star Wars action figures. The thought of them consumed me every waking hour. And guess what my dreams were made of? Yep, those beguiling plastic 3.75 inch touchstones of childhood that defined my very existence! If you were to wake me up at 4 a.m. and ask me what I wanted, without any hesitation, I could recite which figures I had to have in sequence from most to least desirable. And once December rolled around, watch out! The intensity was beyond description because it was officially time to tell everyone which action figures I wanted. There really wasn’t any way to hide my heart in those days.
A lot has changed since then. I no longer drift into my dreams envisioning miniature Star Wars characters. Today, the things that have my heart—my wife’s smile, my children’s safety, my parent’s health—are the focus of my requests in my times alone with the Lord. Because, even though action figures have been displaced by greater things, the principle that applied back then is just as true today. Our hearts are revealed by what we ask for.
With that as a backdrop, pay close attention to what Moses asks for here in this passage. He doesn’t ask God for wealth, length of years, or the respect of others (or Star Wars figures for that matter). Instead, Moses asks to see the Lord’s glory, which is another way of asking to see God in all His fullness without any barrier or obstruction between them. In asking for this, the heart of Moses is revealed because it shows that nothing mattered more to Moses than the One who appeared to him in the middle of nowhere, placed a supernatural calling on his life, and accomplished the impossible through him. Moses wanted to know the One who changed his life and how he could come closer to the very core of His very being!
For those who have experienced the transforming power of Jesus in their lives, there’s a familiar ring in this. When your life apart from God gets interrupted by Him, when your eyes and heart are finally opened to what He actually did for you on the cross, when His Spirit makes the historical personal, and when you begin to see Him expressing a new life through your life and the impossible becoming possible, your heart changes. And you start caring about different things. More than anything in this world, you’re drawn to the same desire as Moses—to be as close as possible to the Lord and to bask in His glory.
May our hearts be known by what we ask for as we seek a deeper, fuller, and clearer view of the One whose glory will illuminate heaven for all eternity!
Pause: What is Moses asking for here and what does this reveal to you about his heart?
Practice: Think about how Moses’ desire compares to yours and whether or not change is in order.
Pray: Lord, I could never fully comprehend You, much less handle the fullness of Your glory as long as I’m in this life. But in the meantime, I pray You would stir in me a desire like Moses, to want You more than anything else in this world. Amen.