Ah, Moses, my favorite Old Testament dude! Mentioned more times in the New Testament than any other OT figure, Moses is the only character among the lot of them granted the gift of actually seeing God. Conversations between the two of them were genuine two-way discussions. God listened to Moses. He actually changed his mind as a result of Moses’ petitions on multiple occasions. Truly Moses was God’s friend.
I love to read about their interactions. It teaches me much about friendship between the Creator of the Universe and us humble humans. I am encouraged immensely that God would consider ANY of us ridiculous creatures to be his friend.
Moses’ prayer in Exodus 33:13 is one of my favorite prayers recorded in the Bible. It is a good one for us all to pray for ourselves:
“[God] if you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”
Moses doesn’t ask for blessings, or even for wisdom as Solomon did. The short prayer is entirely God-centered. Moses first humbly acknowledges God’s sovereignty but then asks for something extraordinary… to “know” God. Can you imagine? To ask to KNOW God? That just wasn’t done in those days.
And as if that wasn’t bold enough, Moses steps out there even further into the immediate lightning strike danger zone and asks God, “Now show me your glory.”
But God is not insulted by this audacious request. Surprisingly, he complies… and Moses subsequently gazes upon the glorious backside of the most powerful force that has ever existed. And he lives to tell about it. Just wow.
So yes well, I’m no Moses, but this is my prayer for myself as well.
God, if you are pleased with me…
If by some divine accident, my stupid self actually stumbles upon something somehow that you find good… you know what, on the other hand scratch that appeal, please don’t even look at ME… just look at Jesus. Done deal? Okay good! Thank you!
Teach me your ways…
Yes, PLEASE, teach me your ways!!! I promise to do the needed work. I will read your Word daily. I will spend time talking to you and meditating about you every day. Please, God, please respond by opening up my feeble nearsighted eyes to understand better your holy ways.
So that I may know you…
God, I would never have the audacity to ask this of you except that you have told us to ask it. You have told us to “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” IF (here’s the big “IF”) “you remain in me and my words remain in you.” So there it is, in a nutshell, Moses’ entire prayer all summed up in one simple sentence from Jesus. Learning God’s ways and remaining in God are afterall one and the same, are they not?
And continue to find favor with you.
This prayer is a circular request. Lord, if you are happy with me, teach me how to keep you happy with me. And isn’t that how God almost always works? Everything that comes around, goes around. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. God the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Learning to live within God’s favor, knowing God, is a journey that takes an entire lifetime and then some. We’ll never really arrive there in our cursed time of exile in these physical bodies. But it’s a blessed quest with sweet spiritual rewards… little things like joy, happiness, contentment, and peace. It is a win-win scenario for all involved. The more we learn about God’s ways, the more we please him, the deeper our love for him grows, the deeper our joy and peace become, the more we learn about God’s ways, etc., etc. See? It is a beautiful divine never ending circle.
And then, some day, our independence day, we will also gaze upon the glory of God in person. And perhaps, just maybe, we’ll hear those coveted words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” from our friend, the Creator of the Universe.