I would like to speak with you about Moses. And the particular thing that I would like to focus on is his shining face.
Iíve often been accused, especially in later years of my life, of having a shining face because I am balding and chrome reflects light very well. But think about Moses. After going into Godís presence, Mosesí face started to shine. It actually shone with what? With the glory of God. Now come over here in your Bible to Exodus. Iíd like for us to look at this experience.
Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.
His face was so lighted up, and so radiant, that other people could see it, but he was totally oblivious to the fact. And in fact, the people who saw it were afraid of him. And Moses had to put a veil over his face. Look at verse 35. They saw that his face was radiant. And then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.
This is interesting. I find that Moses went to speak with the Lord many times in his life. Moses was in Godís presence many, many times. How many times did Moses go into the presence of the Lord, especially up on Mount Sinai? I donít know, maybe six, seven, eight times. He was there with God. If so, only on the last time, only on the seventh time, did his face shine! Why didnít his face shine the 1st time or the 4th time or the 5th time? Why not until the last time? There was something different about the last time. And I hope that you will be wide awake during this sermon and catch some of those differences. In fact, Moses went up into the presence of the Lord many, many times. One time he even spent 40 days there with the Lord. And apparently there were two 40 day experiences. But only on the last time did his face shine. Why is that? What is the difference? Well, there are several differences, and if we can rightly understand these differences, maybe our face also will start to shine with the glory of Jesus Christ. You may want to take notes on this.
How did the new Moses emerge? What steps did Moses take that finally changed his life, that permitted his face to shine, and become radiant?
I would like to suggest that Exodus 34 has the answers. I would like for you to come to the 34th chapter, the first verse. The first thing that I see is a better preparation. Verse one, the Lord said to Moses, chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. So the first thing you have to do, youíve got to chisel out your stones. He chiseled them out of a much larger rock. Now how big the 10 commandments were, I donít really know. I suppose those two tablets in order to not be too fragile and too thin, maybe they each weighed 50 pounds. Maybe the two together weighed 100 pounds. I donít really know. But youíve got to chisel out your tablets. And spiritually, that means that youíve got to prepare your heart for God to write on. Right? Verse 2 says that he was ready early in the morning. The first hours of the day are the best times for you to chisel out your tablets of your heart. I read my Bible every day, which is true this morning. At my house I was reading the Bible. If youíre not reading the Bible, you are not chiseling out your tables of stone. You have to be exposing yourself to the Lord. And that needs to happen early in the morning. Did you come today expecting an experience from God? Did you come today expecting something different? I hope you did. Because God will reward those who expect something.
Number two, there was a better separation, a more complete separation. In verse 3, notice, no one is to come with you, or be seen anywhere on the mountain, not even the flocks and the herds may graze in front of the mountain. Nobody there, you have to come alone. You see, you canít be saved on the shirt tails of your wife. If youíre a husband, you canít be save by your wifeís experience. If youíre a wife, you canít be saved because your husband is a Godly man. You have to come alone to God. You have to set aside daily alone time with God. Esther was alone in the Kings harem. The only God-fearing person there. Daniel was alone in the prayer room three times a day. John was alone with God on the Isle of Patmos, and look at the revelation that he got. You have to have an alone time with God. Just you and God. Thatís what Moses did. There has to be a time when there is just you and Jesus. And that needs to happen every day.
Point number three. There must be exertion. There must be effort. Look at chapter 34, verse 4. It says, so Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning as the Lord had commanded him, and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Now that must have been an effort. Have you ever climbed a large mountain? It takes exertion. And when you are weighted down with two big, heavy tablets of stone, maybe a hundred pounds worth, Moses was mighty. He had to be strong, and it took a lot of effort to get up there, and he exerted himself. He tried hard. You have to try hard. To achieve a spiritual high point in your life you must put forth effort. You will never glow if you donít go! Sister White says you need to fight hard, stern battles with self to be an overcomer. And you can, but it takes exertion. It takes effort. Donít ever think that itís going to be easy, youíll just kind of slide in to heaven. It takes work.
Number four. Look at verse five. Observation. Verse five says, And the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed His name, the Lord. Moses listened to Godís words. He heard them. How do we know that? Because he wrote them down. Moses listened to God. You need to tune your heart to Godís still, small voice. You do that in the morning, it takes a lot of effort. Tune in, tune out the world. Whether itís pass-band tuning, or whatever it is, tune out the interference, tune in to Jesus. Every morning. Tune your heart to Godís still, small voice and you will hear things that will change your life. You will hear things that will feed your soul. You will hear things that will enable you to be a stronger Christian.
Number Five. Capitulation. Look at verse eight. It says that when Moses came, he bowed down to the ground. He bowed in total surrender. You need to yield your life to your Saviour. Yield your life to God. If youíre ever going to achieve a glow in your life, then you have to yield yourself totally to God. You have to surrender. And when Moses face finally lit up he didnít even know it was shining! Our spiritual glory is not something that we parade around, not something that we show off. It is given to the humble. It is given to those who surrender and sacrifice their lives. The truly humble faces who come to God are the ones that will shine. And Moses was like that.
Point number six. Elimination. You have to eliminate some things from your life. Iím going to skip way over here to verse 28. Hereís another thing that Moses did. In verse 28, it says, and Moses was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights without eating bread. Without drinking water. He did without. He eliminated food from his life for 40 days and 40 nights. Remove any impediments that will restrict the full flow of the presence of the Lord in your life. Moses went 40 days and 40 nights without any food, without any water, eliminating that from his life so that he might focus upon God. Try that some time. I donít want you to die. I donít want you to go 40 days and 40 nights without eating something, but fast in some way, some significant thing in your life. Try it. Clear your agenda. Throw out, maybe some books, throw out some DVDs, throw out some videos. Root out from your life something that is impeding you, that is holding you back from a true and rich spiritual experience. Clear out some of those shelves. Clear out some of that stuff that it might not hinder you from a full filling of the Lord.
Number seven. He had a dedication that he did not have before. In verse 8 it says, he worshiped God. He spent time with God. Moses spent 40 days. Now that is something. 40 days totally committed to God. He never did that in that way before. He tarried in Godís presence. He stuck with it. So many of you, I think, begin your Bible reading and you get through Genesis and you get hung up in Leviticus. Now isnít this true? It happens. You get hung up in the Chronicles. You need to persist in your worship, in your devotions, in your spiritual growth. You need to persist, you need to dedicate yourself. Stick with it. Donít give it up. We whip up a quick prayer and after waiting five seconds we toss in the towel, well it doesnít really work anyway. Spend time soaking up the Lord in your life. Spend time soaking up the words of God that are in your Bible.
There appear to me to be two 40 day trips that Moses spent with God. Two 40 day experiences with God. I could be wrong. But only on the second 40 day experience did his face glow. Now you might say, well Iíve read the Bible before. Iíve been to church before, Iíve prayed before and my face didnít glow. Well you be patient. Maybe it wonít happen on the first meeting. Maybe it wonít happen on the second or the third or the fourth, but eventually it will happen. Moses marched up Mt. Sinai, as far as I can tell, six, seven, maybe eight times. Twice He spent 40 days with God. And only on the last time did his face glow.
Notice seven things that were different about Moses that had never happened in his life prior to this point.
Point number one. He had a greater fitness for Heaven. He had a greater fitness in his life. Remember, Moses had grown a lot since the burning bush. Thatís a time when he was in the presence of the Lord, the burning bush time, and he had grown a lot. Remember how Moses stood at that bush? He stood there reluctantly, he was so timid. Mousy Moses stood before Pharaoh hiding behind Aaronís coattail. He was so shy, he was so timid. But the new Moses is different. It became evident at the discovery of the golden calf. Come back here to Exodus, chapter 32, and I want you to look a verse 19. Exodus 32:19, you can see here that they had the golden calf and Mosesí anger burned. You see that there? A fire was ignited in the heart of Moses, of this shy leader. And marshmallow Moses, if I can say it that way, had become mad Moses. Heís changed, heís different, he has some fire in his life. Heís got some spark in his life. He broke the tablets of stone. He burned the golden calf. He ground what was left into little, fine pieces of sand and gold mixed together, and he made them drink it! Well, Moses wasnít like that before. In fact, Moses couldnít even speak. He said, Aaron, you do the talking. He was so shy.
Before this time Aaron was Moses mouthpiece. And now the tables are turned and Moses is speaking, and heís speaking to his older brother and he says, drink that! You made that golden calf, you can drink it, along with everybody else. And Aaron probably thought, what has gotten into Moses? Something is different about my younger brother. And you know what finally did get into Moses? The power of God. The spirit of God had gotten into Moses. And Moses had righteous indignation against the sins that his people were committing. He was a changed man. He was a new man. Youíve got a new Moses here. Thatís the first point thatís different, that I see.
The second point, Moses offered himself in atonement. Exodus chapter 32 and verse 32, this showed, to me, right here in this verse, a spirit of supreme sacrifice. Moses offered himself. He said, well You know, Youíre going to have to strike me down if you donít help these people and be forgiving to these people. Moses became, here in verse 32, a type of Jesus Christ. He lost sight of self. He surrendered all. And thereís a lot of growth in Mosesí life that you can see.
Point number three. Moses, in chapter 33 and verse 18, he asked to see Godís glory. He never asked to see that before. This time he actually asked. And what you donít ask, you donít receive. If you have a problem in your life, you need to specifically ask God to help you in that problem. Moses asked to see Godís glory.
Point number four. Moses worshiped God this time in chapter 34 verse 8. Thatís something different. I donít see him doing that before. He worshiped God this time.
Point number five. He had effective prayer. Chapter 34, verse 29, Moses talked with God as he had never talked with God before.
And point number six. You can read this in second Corinthians over here in your Bible. Come over to second Corinthians, chapter three, and I would like for you to look at verse seven. Second Corinthians 3 verse 7. And hereís a whole experience relating to Moses and his face shining. Verse 7 says, now if the ministry that brought death which was engraved in the letters on stone came with glory so that the Israelites could not look steadily on the face of Moses because of itís glory, if fading though it was will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious. And so, what you see here, he beheld God. He really did. Verse 18 brings that out in a special way. Beholding will always change you. If you are beholding on your computer, on the internet, certain pictures that are lewd, you will be changed into lewdness. If you are beholding Jesus, you will be changed into the likeness of Jesus. You understand how that works?
And number seven. Hereís another difference that Moses had. Visits one through six with God were typical of the old covenant of works by the people who always failed. Only on the seventh visit did Moses emerge and experience the new covenant. I think he experienced the new covenant of righteousness by faith on the seventh visit. As God wrote the ten commandments on the tables of stone he also wrote them upon the heart of Moses. Moses was a new man. And you can read that in chapter 34 of Exodus. Let me read that to you. Chapter 34, you maybe even want to keep a book mark in here and go study this afternoon. Chapter 34, verse 6 and 7, this is really good. Hereís what Moses saw. He saw the love of God. Look at verse 6. He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate, gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Maintaining love to thousands. Forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Those are some mighty important words there. Moses saw that God was not harsh. That God was a loving God. That God was a special God. He saw Godís mercy, he experienced Godís mercy as he had never experienced it before, right in his heart. And when you experience the radiant, vibrant love of God in your heart, you will be changed. And Moses was changed. And Mosesí face shone.
Now Moses was not the only person whose face shone. Can you think of anybody else in the Bible whose face shone? Remember Stephen? Stephen there, the face of Stephen in Acts, chapter 6, verse 15, lighted up as an angelís face. His whole face lit up. Stephenís face did. Enochís face lit up. Anna the prophetess, her face lit up, Desire of Ages, page 55. John the Baptistís face lit up. Jerome and Huss, their faces lit up as they were being executed. Itís interesting to read all this. And Jesusí face. What happened to Jesus? On the mount of transfiguration. Come over here to Matthew, chapter 17 in your Bible. Matthew, chapter 17, verse 2. Speaking about Jesus, was transfigured before them, His face did shine as, what? His face shone as the sun. Thatís how bright it got. And His raiment was as white as the light. Both Jesus and Moses lit up, both Jesus and Moses lit up on a mountain. But only Moses was truly transfigured there. I would like to propose to you that Jesus, even though He looked transfigured, was not totally transfigured because to be transfigured means to be changed. And God doesnít change. God never changes. Jesus is God. What happened is that the eyes of the disciples were changed and suddenly they beheld Jesus in His glory. The veil was lifted from their eyes, and thatís how He looked changed. And all those whose faces shone became symbolic, they illustrate the truth that by drawing near to God you will become like God.
Your face. Will your face shine someday? What do you think? Well, look at Daniel chapter 12. Daniel 12, verse 3 in your Bible. In the last days, just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ, Godís people will shine. Daniel 12 verse 3 says, we will shine as the stars. And Isaiah speaks of the second coming when Jesus the Light of the world comes in all His glory. In Isaiah, chapter 60. Isaiah 60, verse 1, arise and shine for thy light is come. Now see, weíre going to arise, weíre going to shine, because our light is come. The glory of the Lord is risen upon thee, verse 3, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light. To our light. And kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Do you want to be transformed? Do you? We all do. We go to tanning booths. We spend tons of money to get a face lift or a tummy tuck, a make over. We shrink that and enlarge that. And we wear fake fingernails, we wear fake eyelashes, some people wear fake hair. We pay a fortune for little jars or tubes of gook and slime and ooze to smear over our wrinkles. We want to be changed. We do plastic surgery. Look at Michael Jackson. But God wants more than cosmetic change. God wants to change our whole life. And by exposing yourself to Jesus Christ, you will be radically transformed, you will be totally changed. Phillipians, chapter 2, verse 15 says, you will shine like the stars of the universe. You wonít be languishing around. Youíre going to be shining. And when Jesus comes will your face turn dark or will your face light up? What do you think?
How can your face shine at His coming? If today, you have spent a lot of time with Him:
At the second coming of Jesus, the light of the world, we will shine. God will speak, the countenance of His children will be changed. Those who are going to be saved will be lit up and those who are going to be lost will turn dark. Itís going to be a difference of light and darkness at the second coming of Jesus Christ. And you can tell who's going to be saved and whoís going to be lost, because just look at their face. If it starts getting dark, they are among the lost. Isaiah chapter 60, verse 2, Darkness covers the earth, thick darkness is over the people, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. And you will light up at that time.
As angels approach the earth at the second coming of Jesus the skies are full of glory. It gets brighter and brighter. The Christians are in little groups all over the world. And they begin to light up, their faces begin to glow, at first as small pin points of light, growing light, increasing brightness. And eventually in the kingdom Matthew, chapter 13, verse 43, The righteous will shine as the sun. Godís light eventually gets so powerful that His glory slays the wicked. Second Thessalonians, chapter 2, verse 8 speaks of the wicked at the time of Jesus, it says, whom He will destroy with, what? With the brightness of his coming.
To Godís true people the light seems wonderful. To the wicked, the light seems like a consuming fire. And all who know Jesus are going to shine. One day a little girl asked her mother a question, ďIs God big?Ē ďOh yesĒ, said the mother. ďWell how big is God?Ē ďWell, Heís bigger than the world.Ē Then the little girl said, ďWell, does God live in my heart?Ē ďYes, He does.Ē ďWell, then if Heís bigger than the world and He lives in my heart, wouldnít He show through?Ē Good question.
You canít linger in the presence of Jesus and come away unchanged. When Moses came down off the mountain everybody knew that he had been with God. And when you spend quality time with Jesus you canít help but be changed. Radioactive Moses had a shine that would not quit. And when you get in the presence of Jesus at His second coming, you will have a shine that will not quit. Far superior to tooth whitening tooth paste is what Jesus can do for your face value when He comes. And when people see Jesus in you they will want what you have.
Look at second Corinthians chapter 3 in your Bible. Verse 13 says We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. Donít veil your light. Verse 18, we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into, are being transformed, into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
So, take off the veil. Remove the veil. Let Jesus shine out. When people come into your home, they ought to see pictures of Jesus. They ought to see religious things. They ought to see a Bible thatís open on your postum table. They ought to see books, religious books that youíve been reading. They ought to see a change. A Christian lives here! Your home ought to be different! When Moses came down off the mountain, everybody knew he had been with God. Everybody knew it. Remove that veil. Let others see Jesus shine in your life. In your character. I kind of like verse 18, it says that our shine increases with ďEver-increasing gloryĒ. Our life will change gradually in small increments. As the Bible accumulates in your mind you are slowly being changed into His likeness. Your shine is mounting up. When we are zealous for the things of God, the things that bring the shine, the shine will come. Matthew, chapter 5, verse 16, let your light shine before men, that they may see, what? See your good deeds and praise your Father Who is in heaven.
In New York City, well I wouldnít want to be there today, thereís too much snow and ice there, all the flights are cancelled. But in New York city in a tenement district there was a small boy in ragged clothes that was seen with a small piece of a broken mirror. And he was out there shining, reflecting the sun, way up at the top of a tenement house at a window. Just there doing that. And a man came by and says, ďah-ha, youíre one of those bad kids. Youíre up to mischief arenít you?Ē The man took the youngster by the shoulder and said, ďI donít really know you but like most boys in this neighborhood, you're probably one of those bad ones.Ē And the boy looked up into the stern face of his accuser and said, ďMister, do you see that window up there? Thatís my brotherís room. He's a cripple. And the only sunlight he ever sees is what I can shine up there with this little piece of mirror.Ē The only Jesus that some people will ever see is the Jesus that they see in your face. You beam that into everybodyís face that looks at you. Beam Jesus into their life. You may be the only Jesus they ever see.
With Jesus there is no need to be a pale face. Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 27, God wants a glorious church. My time is up so Iím going to quit, but I want you to pray that Jesus will come into your life and I want you to do more than pray, I want you to experience the steps that Moses did. And someday you will shine, and youíll shine brightly, and you wonít even know it. But others will see Jesus in you.
Hymn of Praise: #246, Worthy, Worthy, Is The Lamb Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:18 Hymn of Response: #515, The Lord Is My Light
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 3/20/07