Exodus 33:18 Moses said, “I pray thee, show me thy glory.” 19 And he[the Lord] 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. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.”
“Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee”
21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand upon the rock; 22 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; 23 then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”
The old hymn, Rock of Ages, is what inspired my painting. God chose to reveal the truth of His moral code, written from His heart on a surface physically made by His own hand. Can you imagine the Lord of all Creation busily speaking every perfect thing into reality; and yet purposefully carving broken fissures and clefts into that solid, immovable mass of rock and calling it “good?”
We don’t have those stone tablets but we still have the ten truths for life that were on them. Can you imagine the permanence of God’s message as much more than two [or four] lost tablets but a message from the stone itself? Those Words have never been lost! Instead they have become a good and perfect place to hide as the Lord of all Creation passes by to reveal Himself amid the broken fissures and clefts. It’s a very different solid, permanent and immovable place of safety from which to witness the Glory we cannot bear to see — THE Rock.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
1 John 4
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. NIV
God is love
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them
In this world we are like Jesus
This is how love is made complete among us
so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment
The one who fears is not made perfect in love
because fear has to do with punishment
But perfect love drives out fear
There is no fear in love
We love, because he first loved us.
John 2:23 Now when he [Jesus] was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
When Jesus was a man, “many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people.” It’s so easy to assume Jesus’s perfect response to His in-the-flesh life was a foregone conclusion. He was fully God and still retained His shared knowledge with God but make no mistake about it, Jesus’s life in-the-flesh wasn’t a pretend life, set up to create a pretend identity with man. It had real risk and a real purpose. The reality of Jesus in-the-flesh life was risking the suspension of all His Sovereign rights to complete His identity with all people. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [to ease the anger or disturbance of a superior being] for our sins.”a
God felt the painful reality of what Jesus would endure in-the-flesh as if it were His very own…because it was. He was watching a part of Himself struggle to cope with living in a broken world trying to overcome the very flesh that had given Him life without those Sovereign rights. God did not miss the effect of fear, hunger, fatigue and temptation on His Son. The real purpose to Jesus’s life in-the-flesh that bears witness to His complete identity with all people is “Although he [Jesus] was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”b
Obedience to God in the circumstances of life completes our identity with Jesus and still has the power to move God’s heart from Law to Grace on our behalf.
a 1 John 4:10
b Hebrews 5:8
2 Samuel 22:31 “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. 32 For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? 33 God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.” NLT
Perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. [NRSV]
If you “accept and act in accordance with” Jesus what He says will establish a relationship of life between Himself and you. What makes that matter is this reality: Jesus IS God. The first assurance of John 15:7 is when you “abide” with Jesus, God Himself is alive within you and He understands the reality of whatever you ask. That makes His answer perfect for what He knows you need. The second assurance is God’s answer comes with a greater blessing “if you abide in” Jesus and let his words “abide in you.” Your relationship of life with Jesus makes you living evidence of the glory of God.