Reflection on Exodus 33:12-23 (October 22, 2017)
I was invited to share a reflection with a Spanish-speaking congregation. This was my reflection, which was translated and shared with those who attended.
When Moses was praying to the Lord on behalf of his people, there was a separation between people and God. The people expected Moses to intercede for them. They had received a promise from God of the Promised Land, and were traveling through the wilderness trusting that promise. But a promise is not the same as a relationship, and at the end of Moses’ prayer we see that as God passed through the community, it was like they looked up just in time to see God’s back pass by. The relationship—the face to face conversation—was Moses’ responsibility.
But God invites them into relationship—even in the middle of the desert, and even though they don’t always respond to that invitation. They were no longer in Egypt, but they were also not yet in the Promised Land. And yet—even in the wilderness—they are not lost to God. “I know you by name, and you have found favor in my sight,” we hear in Moses’ prayer. “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Moses heard and could repeat these messages from God because he entered into God’s presence in prayer on behalf of his people.