Exodus 33:13
Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
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(13) Shew me now thy way—i.e., Thy course—Thy intention. Let me know if Thou really intendest to withdraw Thyself from us, and put a created being in Thy place or no.

Consider that this nation is thy people.—Moses glances back at God’s words recorded in Exodus 32:7, and reminds God that the Israelites are not merely his (Moses’) people, but also, in a higher sense, God’s people. As such, God had acknowledged them (Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:10; Exodus 5:1; Exodus 6:7; Exodus 7:4, &c.).

Exodus 33:13. Now, if I have found grace in thy sight — What favour God had expressed to the people they had forfeited the benefit of; and therefore Moses lays the stress of his plea upon what God had said to him. By this, therefore, he takes hold on God; Lord, if thou wilt do any thing for me, do this for the people. Thus our Lord Jesus, in his intercession, presents himself to the Father as one in whom he is always well pleased, and so obtains mercy for us, with whom he is justly displeased. Show me thy way — What course thou meanest now to take with us; that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight — That by proof and experience I may know how good thou art to them that seek thee, and may be assured that I have found grace in thy sight. He intimates that the people also, though most unworthy, yet were in some relation to God; consider that this nation is thy people — A people that thou hast done great things for, redeemed to thyself, and taken into covenant with thyself; Lord, they are thy own, do not leave them.

33:12-23 Moses is very earnest with God. Thus, by the intercession of Christ, we are not only saved from ruin, but become entitled to everlasting happiness. Observe here how he pleads. We find grace in God's sight, if we find grace in our hearts to guide and quicken us in the way of our duty. Moses speaks as one who dreaded the thought of going forward without the Lord's presence. God's gracious promises, and mercy towards us, should not only encourage our faith, but also excite our fervency in prayer. Observe how he speeds. See, in a type, Christ's intercession, which he ever lives to make for all that come to God by him; and that it is not by any thing in those for whom he intercedes. Moses then entreats a sight of God's glory, and is heard in that also. A full discovery of the glory of God, would overwhelm even Moses himself. Man is mean, and unworthy of it; weak, and could not bear it; guilty, and could not but dread it. The merciful display which is made in Christ Jesus, alone can be borne by us. The Lord granted that which would abundantly satisfy. God's goodness is his glory; and he will have us to know him by the glory of his mercy, more than by the glory of his majesty. Upon the rock there was a fit place for Moses to view the goodness and glory of God. The rock in Horeb was typical of Christ the Rock; the Rock of refuge, salvation, and strength. Happy are they who stand upon this Rock. The cleft may be an emblem of Christ, as smitten, crucified, wounded, and slain. What follows, denotes the imperfect knowledge of God in the present state, even as revealed in Christ; for this, when compared with the heavenly sight of him. is but like seeing a man that is gone by, whose back only is to be seen. God in Christ, as he is, even the fullest and brightest displays of his glory, grace, and goodness, are reserved to another state.Thy way - He desires not to be left in uncertainty, but to be assured, by Yahweh's mode of proceeding, of the reality of the promises that had been made to him. 9-11. the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle—How would the downcast hearts of the people revive—how would the tide of joy swell in every bosom, when the symbolic cloud was seen slowly and majestically to descend and stand at the entrance of the tabernacle!

as Moses entered—It was when he appeared as their mediator, when he repaired from day to day to intercede for them, that welcome token of assurance was given that his advocacy prevailed, that Israel's sin was forgiven, and that God would again be gracious.

Show me now thy way; the course and manner of thy dealings with men, and particularly thy purpose and will concerning me and thy people, and the method which thou wilt choose for the fulfilling of thy promise, and the course which thou wouldst have me take, and the way by which I shall conduct thy people to the Promised Land.

That I may know thee, i.e. thy mind herein; men are said to know God when they know his mind and will; or that I may experimentally know thee to be what thou hast promised thou wilt be to me and to thy people; or rather,

that I may thereby know thee, namely, that I shall find grace

in thy sight, as it follows; that I may be assured that thou wilt be reconciled to and present with me and thy people.

Thy people, both by thy own choice and purpose, and promise to their parents, and by their recognition of thee for their God, and their returning to thee again.

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight,.... Which he said, not as doubting whether he had or not, but as taking it for granted he had, and so argues from it, and improves his interest in it, in his pleading with God:

shew me now thy way: either the way which he himself would take, the way of his providence in bringing the children of Israel into the land of Canaan; or the way he would have him take, the way of his duty, how he would have him behave in conducting them thither; unless he means the Messiah, Christ, the way to the heavenly Canaan, to whom he seems greatly to have respect in the following part of this chapter:

that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; by which he might have a further evidence of his being acceptable to God, and having a share in his good will; as well as he would better know in what way grace is communicated, Christ being the way both of access into the grace of God, and of acceptance with him, and of the communication of grace from him:

and consider that this nation is thy people; though they had sinned against him in the manner they had done, they were a people he had chosen above all people to be his; he had made a covenant with them, and was their covenant God; he had redeemed them out of Egypt, and had called them from thence, and had wrought a great salvation for them, and had bestowed many peculiar favours upon them; and though for this their gross idolatry and sad apostasy from him they were unworthy of the relation, and he had thought fit not to call them his people, but the people, or the people of Moses, yet they still were his people, and he entreats he would consider the relation they stood in to him, and show mercy to them.

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
13. if, &c.] A common Heb. phrase: Genesis 18:3; Genesis 30:27 al.

] lit. make me to know. ‘Shew’ in Old English meant not only to let see, but also to let know, or tell: see on Daniel 2:2; Daniel 4:2 in the Camb. Bible, or the writer’s Parallel Psalter, p. 481. Cf. Psalm 103:7.

ways] His ways of dealing with men, Deuteronomy 32:4 : see Exodus 34:6 f.

that I may know thee, &c.] understand what Thy nature and character is, and shape my petitions accordingly, that so I may find grace in thy sight, and my future prayers may be answered.

is thy people] and should not, therefore, be left by Thee without a leader.

Exodus 33:13Jehovah had commanded Moses to lead the people to Canaan, and promised him the guidance of an angel; but He had expressly distinguished this angel from His own personal presence (Exodus 33:1-3). Moreover, though it has not been mentioned before, Jehovah had said to Moses, "I have known thee by name," - i.e., I have recognised thee as Mine, and chosen and called thee to execute My will (cf. Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 49:1), or put thee into "a specifically personal relation to God, which was peculiar to Moses, and therefore was associated with his name" (Oehler); - "and thou hast also found grace in My eyes," inasmuch as God had granted a hearing to his former intercession. Moses now reminded the Lord of this divine assurance with such courage as can only be produced by faith, which wrestles with God and will not let Him go without a blessing (Genesis 32:27); and upon the strength of this he presented the petition (Exodus 33:13), "Let me know Thy way (the way which Thou wilt take with me and with this people), that I may know Thee, in order that I may find grace in Thine eyes, and see that this people is Thy people." The meaning is this: If I have found grace in Thy sight, and Thou hast recognised me as Thy servant, and called me to be the leader of this people, do not leave me in uncertainty as to Thine intentions concerning the people, or as to the angel whom Thou wilt give as a guide to me and the nation, that I may know Thee, that is to say, that my finding grace in Thine eyes may become a reality;

(Note: Domine fac ut verbis tuis respondeat eventus. Calvin.)

and if Thou wilt lead the people up to Canaan, consider that it is Thine own people, to whom Thou must acknowledge Thyself as its God. Such boldness of undoubting faith presses to the heart of God, and brings away the blessing. Jehovah replied (Exodus 33:14), "My face will go, and I shall give thee rest," - that is to say, shall bring thee and all this people into the land, where ye will find rest (Deuteronomy 3:20). The "face" of Jehovah is Jehovah in His own personal presence, and is identical with the "angel" in whom the name of Jehovah was (Exodus 23:20-21), and who is therefore called in Isaiah 63:9 "the angel of His face."

With this assurance on the part of God, the covenant bond was completely restored. But to make more sure of it. Moses replied (Exodus 33:15, Exodus 33:16), "If Thy face is not going (with us), lead us not up hence. And whereby shall it be known that I have found grace in thine eyes, I and Thy people, if not (lit., is it not known) in Thy going with us, that we, I and Thy people, are distinguished (see at Exodus 8:18) before every nation upon the face of the earth?" These words do not express any doubt as to the truth of the divine assurance, "but a certain feeling of the insufficiency of the assurance," inasmuch as even with the restoration of the former condition of things there still remained "the fear lest the evil root of the people's rebellion, which had once manifested itself, should bread forth again at any moment" (Baumgarten). For this reason Jehovah assured him that this request also should be granted (Exodus 33:17). "There was nothing extraordinary in the fact that Moses desired for himself and his people that they might be distinguished before every nation upon the face of the earth; this was merely the firm hold of faith upon the calling and election of God (Exodus 19:5-6)."

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