Posted by: Brad Stanford | April 28, 2014

Becoming God’s Back

Things that pass by leave marks and traces behind. Archeologists exist solely to find those traces, and figure out what they mean. Walking with God very much looks like spiritual archeology at times. God is moving so fast (while looking back and laughing, “Come on! Catch up!”), that often, all we have in front of us are the traces that indicate He was just here, and we’re on the right track. But that’s about all. If you stop to investigate too much, He gets way ahead, and we get way distracted.

In Exodus 33 we have this interesting story about Moses asking to see God’s glory. It’s right at a time where God has told Israel they are stiff-necked and He’s sending them to the promise land without His presence. He’s promised His angel, but He’s done parting seas and having no one believe the next time they run into trouble.

Moses pitches a tent far away from the Israelite camp and seeks God there. He asks God how the world will know His people have found grace in His sight unless His presence is with them.

Then Moses asks to see God’s glory. God ays, “I will make all my goodness to pass before you and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you.”

Now, Moses has been meeting with God and hearing from Him for a long time. His life is almost over. In the midst of this tension between God and His people, Moses is essentially asking to update His image of God. This is very similar to John the Baptist asking from prison if Jesus was the real deal.

There’s something about being a follower that makes you realize you’ve not quite caught the vision for this stage. Each mission or moment requires the joy set before you to get you through it. Moses had no energy to lead the Israelites any longer, but he knew from experience that being amazed by who God is was more than enough joy to give him the strength to get through the next thing.

We see how God has to hide Moses away for the initial pass, but after God has passed by, Moses gets to see His “back”, or more accurately, the leftover effect of God touching the earth. That experience got Moses caught up to who God was, and what He was doing on the earth. It was enough to last him the rest of his life.

The fastest path to catching up to God is doing what he did, be it eons ago, or seconds ago. It’s all the same to him anyway. Imagine it as tracking footprints: you’re looking for the next footprint so you can follow, and you see someone who needs help. Footprint! Help them. from there you see an opportunity to be patient. Footprint! Be patient. Next, there’s someone unlovable. Footprint! Love them.

Before you know it, you’re catching up to God.

This is why God is far less interested in keeping laws than He is in those who chase after Him. If you don’t exactly put your foot down in the exact spot God did, you can correct that with practice. But if you stop at each footprint and make sure that you’re worshiping according to law, or giving according to law, or anything else according to law, you will fall way behind the work He is currently doing.

However, if you keep stepping and stepping, attempting to land in God’s footprints, you will get better.

Did you know that repentance is simply agreeing with God? Well, check this out: when you’re trying to follow in His footsteps, He’s wanting that, too! So how is it that He will not fulfill the law through Christ in you? Of course He will. You don’t have to focus on the law to fulfill it.

After a few years of this, you can look back and see that you are not the person you were when you started searching. You’ve been transformed because you’ve done what He did, all in an effort to just to see Him. You now act like Him, move like Him, breathe like Him.

Now, when people ask to see His glory, he sends them to meet you.

You are the result of His brush with earth.

You are His glory.

Relax in that.

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