The glory of God's holiness ... and the glory of His love
"Show me Your glory" (Exodus 33:18).
When we read "the Ten Commandments, we think of a revelation of God's holiness. This is not a comforting revelation: "When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”" (Exodus 20:18-19). we wonder, "Is this all that God has to say? Does His glory do no more than this - put the fear of death into us?" When Moses replies to their question, does he give us any hope? - "Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”" (Exodus 20:20). Here, he says, "Do not be afraid" - and he also speaks about "the fear of God." There are two things here - (i) a terrifying and crippling fear that fills us with despair - "There is no hope for us"; (ii) the fear of God which makes us think about turning from sin and turning to Him. Straight after this, we are told something else about Moses and the people: "The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was" (Exodus 20:21).Was there something extra special about Moses? No! He was a sinner, the same as everyone else - but God had a special purpose for Moses. He said to Moses: "Make an altar of earth for Me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause My Name to be honoured, I will come to you and bless you" (Exodus 20:24). Here, we have God's promise of blessing. It is connected to the offering of sacrifices. When we read this in the light of the full revelation of God's plan of salvation, our thoughts to Jesus Christ, God's beloved Son - "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). When we look beyond Moses and the animal sacrifices, turning our eyes on Jesus and His perfect sacrifice for sin, we see more clearly that there is more than the glory of holiness. There's the glory of His love. This is the glory that lifts us out of or sin, guilt and fear and into the peace and joy of God's salvation.