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In Exodus 33, Moses has a most interesting conversation with the Lord. God has assured Moses that His presence will go with the Israelites into the promised land and that He will give them rest. Moses responds,

“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (vv. 15–18)

The Hebrew word translated glory in this verse literally means “weight, mass, or substance.” In essence, Moses is saying to the Lord, “I want to know who You are on the inside. I have seen what You do, but I want to know why You do what You do. I want to know Your heart. I want to know You.”

That is quite a request! I think it is one that the Lord doesn’t hear too often. People want His help. They want answers to prayer, but to want to know Him is something altogether different.

God’s response to Moses’ request is very illuminating. “Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion’” (v. 19).

What is God like on the inside? What is His substance like? What is His glory? Goodness, compassion, and grace. “God is good” is not just a cliché or a slogan. Goodness is God’s very nature and essence.

There is a tale about a young man who was hiking high in the mountains. The terrain was rugged and the air was frigid. As he walked along, he heard the faintest of voices. “Please help me,” it said. Looking around, he saw a rattlesnake coiled up on a boulder. “Please help me,” the snake said. “I will die if I don’t get out of this cold. I’m not warm-blooded, you know. Please help me.”

“You’re a rattlesnake!” the young man replied. “Even if I could help you, I couldn’t trust you.” “Please,” the snake softly hissed. “You could take me down to a lower elevation where it’s warmer. That would save me and I promise I won’t harm you.”

“Well, I guess I could put you in my pack and carry you down,” the young man said. “And you promise that you won’t bite me?” “Yes, I promise,” said the snake. “Okay, I’ll help you.” He picked up the snake and put it in his pack.

When he reached the sunny, lower elevation, he took the rattlesnake out and put it on a warm rock. After laying in the sun for a few minutes, the snake said, “Please come closer, I would like to thank you for helping me.”

The young man stepped closer only to have the snake lash out and bite him on the wrist. The young man screamed in pain and knowing that his life was now in jeopardy, he said, “But you promised you wouldn’t harm me!”

“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” said the snake as it slithered off.

The lesson is pretty clear. Things (and people) will act according to their nature. It is something that we can and should expect, and we shouldn’t be surprised when it happens. The same is true of our Creator. His very nature is goodness and He always acts in accordance with that. We should expect it. In fact, we should count on it.

God is good…and He wants good things for you. Discover how you can experience all the goodness He has in store for you with Bayless’ latest booklet, “Expecting to See the Goodness of God.” Request this powerful resource along with our 2024 desktop calendar when you give to help bring our living Jesus to the world through Answers with Bayless Conley!

Bayless Conley

Author Bayless Conley

Bayless Conley is a pastor, author, and Bible teacher known for his clear presentation of the gospel and the way he applies the life-changing truth of God’s Word to everyday life. Each week his broadcast, Answers with Bayless Conley, is impacting lives around the world in many languages on TV and online.

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