Imagine you are speaking with a friend face to face, and think of how the flow of conversation goes … Perhaps begin with some pleasantries, and an exchange of information, “How are you? What have you been doing?” Once each has been assured of the others wellbeing, the conversation may move on to a discussion of feelings, and will most likely focus on one speaker, one listener at a time. This will go back and forth, one sharing, one acknowledging understanding, prompting questions or giving words of advice. Of course, every conversation is different, every friend specific, some you will share more with than others.
It is important that we see prayer as a two-way conversation, both speaking and listening to God, and to get to know His voice and be open and honest as with a friend. One man knew how to approach God in this way and that was Moses. When he or the people had an inquiry he would go to his “Tent of Meeting” and there “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11).
Moses felt he knew the Lord well enough to make bold requests, ask direct questions and expect response. God was pleased with Moses and knew him by name. However, later in the same chapter when he asks God to reveal His glory, the response is slightly different. “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you…but you cannot see my face, for none may see me and live.”
Since Moses had previously been speaking with God we can only assume that this is a characteristic of God that Moses had not yet witnessed, one much more intense and dangerous. It brought him through to a place where he knew God in a new and deeper way. In prayer we should ask God to do the same. The revelation that would come to us if God passed by with all His goodness and glory would be such an intense moment that the pleasantries and requests we are so used to making in our prayer “wish-lists” would seem insignificant. The friend we once knew only on the surface, would become someone who would change us completely by simply opening us to His presence.
“When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord ‘s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant” (Exodus 34: 33-35).
While our encounters may not conclude so dramatically, we too can be changed by the living God, up close and personal.
Dig Deeper: Exodus 33-34
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