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 (Manna 52: Spiritual Renewal)
Moses Hid His Face
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Moses Hid His Face

Patrick Wong—Houston, Texas, USA

            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 Egypt. 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 believers today.


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).


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.


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 additional skills.

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.

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Author: Patrick Wong