Read Exodus 33:12-23
12 Moses said to the Lord, “It is true that you have told me to lead these people to that land, but you did not tell me whom you would send with me. You have said that you know me well and are pleased with me. 13Now if you are, tell me your plans, so that I may serve you and continue to please you. Remember also that you have chosen this nation to be your own.”
14 The Lord said, “I will go with you, and I will give you victory.”
15 Moses replied, “If you do not go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16How will anyone know that you are pleased with your people and with me if you do not go with us? Your presence with us will distinguish us from any other people on earth.”
17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do just as you have asked, because I know you very well and I am pleased with you.”
18 Then Moses requested, “Please, let me see the dazzling light of your presence.”
19 The Lord answered, “I will make all my splendour pass before you and in your presence I will pronounce my sacred name. I am the Lord, and I show compassion and pity on those I choose. 20I will not let you see my face, because no one can see me and stay alive, 21but here is a place beside me where you can stand on a rock. 22When the dazzling light of my presence passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back but not my face.”
This passage seems to describe our sense of God's presence and absence all at once. God promises to go with Moses and the Israelites; but he warns: "I will not let you see my face, because no one can see me and stay alive..."
Moses prays: "...tell me your plans, so that I may serve you and continue to please you."
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