Exodus 33

  1. While the Lord heard Moses’ prayer and relented from the harm He was going to do at that time, He still rendered His judgment against them (33:1-6). As they prepared to leave, the Lord told them that He would no longer go with them (an anthropomorphic term that accommodates the Lord’s activities alongside man’s), rather the Lord would send His angel. Exactly who is this angel is unstated.
  2. Did Moses actually use his own tent as the Tabernacle (33:7-11)? The NKJV would suggest as much, whereas the NET, ESV, and the Chumash (English translation of the Hebrew text by Orthodox Judaism) reads that Moses took the tent, not at all suggesting it belonged to him. However, the Chumash does give a subtitle to this section as “Moses’ Tent.” In any case, the tent that was used as a “tent of meeting” was set up outside the camp
  3. Moses’ prayer (33:12-23). There are two points within this prayer that stand out to me 1) show me your way and, 2) show me your glory. I find these interesting because, no matter what else is said, it is Moses’ appeal to the Lord for guidance. Earlier, the Lord said He would not go up (33:3), but that He would send His angel before Moses and the Israelites (33:2).  However, we might ask if v. 14 (my presence) and v. 2 (my angel) are to be understood as the same. Some expositors make a distinction between the two. Because Moses was as fortunate to know the Lord the way he did, he appeals to the Lord for Him to show him (Moses) His glory. The Lord grants this, but with limitations.
  4. Application: “Show me your way, Lord.” A remark that is made by an untold number of people. The most appropriate answer is found in John 14:6; one can’t improve upon this answer, either. But, when it comes to the affairs of life, how do we know whether “this” activity or “that” activity is the Lord’s will? We appeal to the Lord with the same words, but are these words out of place? I am not so quick to say that they are, but if we have a proper understanding of the way of righteousness (John 14:6), we can readily understand and appreciate that in the affairs of life (moving, occupation, spouse, children, etc.) there is some appropriateness to this expression to our Lord in prayer.