Moses Hid His Face
Moreover He said, “I am the God of your
father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses
hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. (Ex 3:6)
Exodus 3:1-6 gives a detailed
description of how Moses was called by the Lord to lead His people out of Egypt. When the
Lord introduced Himself as “the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” Moses trembled and hid his face, because he
was afraid to look upon God (Ex 3:6; Acts 7:32).
He knew exactly who the God of his
fathers was. His immediate response to God’s appearance was a reflex; it was a
testimony to the reverence he had towards God. This heart of reverence was
present before God entrusted him with the task of leading the Israelites out of
The same reverence did not dwindle even after he became a great worker of God.
Albeit a short episode, this
account of Moses’ attitude towards God holds important teachings for us
MAINTAINING FAITH IN A FOREIGN LAND
In the time of Moses, the
Egyptians were very corrupt and their ways displeased God. They dealt shrewdly
with the Israelites and inflicted them with heavy burdens. By the grace of God,
Moses was saved and was able to survive in the palace.
He was learned in all the wisdom
of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds (Acts 7:22). He excelled in
the foreign land. Yet, he never forgot his Hebrew identity. When an occasion
arose, he defended and avenged his countryman who was oppressed by an Egyptian.
Daniel and his friends were placed
in a similar situation. Although they learned the language and literature of
the Chaldeans, they were determined not to defile
themselves and resisted all things that contradicted their faith. No foreign
culture was able to penetrate their God-fearing hearts.
Many of us may have been born and
raised in a foreign country that is not the birthplace of our parents. We learn
the culture of the country and adapt our lifestyle accordingly. Do we forget
that we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Pet 2:9)? We have a precious
identity as Christians and therefore must not forsake this important status,
wherever we live. We have to be like Moses, who did not forsake his Hebrew
identity in the foreign land.
The advances of technology such as
TV and Internet have become a significant part of our life. These temptations
grow stronger by the day. If we have no self-control, it is very easy for us to
drift away from the righteous path and become like Esau, who sold his
birthright because he wanted to satisfy his fleshly desire. Afterward, he was
rejected from receiving the firstborn’s blessing even though he sought it
diligently with tears (Heb 12:16-17).
Therefore, when we are surrounded
by the temptations of the world, we must rely on Him and follow His teachings
so that we can survive in the presence of tares (Mt 13:24-30) and shine in this
world of darkness (Mt 5:13-16). We must remain undefiled, like the lily among
the thorns of the world, for that is what the Lord desires (Song 2:2).
THE CONTINUATION OF FAITH DOWN THE GENERATIONS
God introduced Himself to Moses as
“the God of your father.” Who is our God? What can we do so that God would say
to our children, “I am the God of your father”? Have we put the faith of our
children at risk? Do we want our God to be our children’s God? Will our
children carry on the faith after we have passed on?
As parents, we are willing to
provide the best to our children. We do our best to give them family warmth,
nutritious food, good clothing and a premium education. Many even go further
and sacrifice both time and money for their children to learn additional skills
to enrich their lives.
Unfortunately, some have neglected
the importance of religious education and pursue worldly gifts for our children
at the expense of the development of their faith. God has commanded us to look
after the faith of our children (Deut 6). We need to produce not just
offspring, but godly offspring (Mal 2:15). We have the responsibility to bring
them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Being able to discern good and
evil and proactively do what pleases God is the most important spiritual
survival skill in a world full of corrupted practices. The concept of “freedom”
has allowed much evil to creep even into the Christian system of values. Under
the pretext of “only God is the Judge,” all kinds of wrong-doings contrary to
the Bible are condoned. Some examples include homosexuality, divorce, and
adultery. It becomes increasingly difficult to stand up for biblical truth.
Having a strong foundation in the truth cannot be further emphasized.
ON RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
As parents, we understand the
importance of having good divine workers in the future. We are willing to
invest our resources and send our children to enrichment lessons, such as piano
classes, in preparation for service to the Lord in the future. In cases where
such lessons are available only on Saturdays, we must not be tempted to forsake
religious education classes for our children so that they may acquire these
To serve God, one needs to have
the correct motives and attitudes. God is willing to use us because we love and
fear Him, not because we possess great talents. The Lord requires a heart near
to Him (Mt 14:8-9) and we need to walk humbly with Him (Mic
6:8; Jas 4:6). Our labor would be in vain if we play the piano or sing hymns
beautifully without knowing why we do so. We cannot praise God if our love for
Him does not even exist.
Paul said in Romans:
For I bear them witness
that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to
establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of
God. (Rom 10:2-3)
During the time of Paul, many
devout Jews were very zealous in serving God. However, their sacrifice was in
vain because they ignored God’s righteousness and even boasted about their
works and talents.
Paul also explained in 2 Timothy
what is most crucial for serving the Lord:
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the
latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master,
prepared for every good work. (2 Tim 2: 21)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for
every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)
Knowledge of the Scripture will
equip us for good work. If we are well equipped, we will naturally be honorable
vessels for God’s use.
When Moses heard the voice of his
father’s God, he trembled and hid his face. The main goal of religious
education is to develop this fundamental God-fearing attitude in our children’s
minds so that God becomes the center of their life. Gifts and skills for our
Master’s use will eventually follow.
Moses hid his face before God. His
was a great lesson in reverence. May we all learn and cultivate this same
reverence, wherever we are and in all that we do.