Before this week’s Bible reading from Exodus 33:12-23.
From last week’s reading
- Moses was up on the mountain doing the “hanging out with God” thing
- The people wondered if he was ever coming back.
- They made a golden calf idol
- God was really angry and was going to bring evil upon them
- Moses said, ‘Stop! Don’t! Please change your mind!” to God
- God changed her mind.
Then – in between last week’s and this week’s reading
- Moses came down from the mountain and saw what had been happening first hand
- He dropped the tablets with the 10 commandments and broke them.
- Aaron said, “I don’t know what happened! I just put all the gold in the fire and this calf came out!”
- Moses was really angry and got 3000 of the people to fight and kill each other
- God told Moses that the people would be punished
- God sent a plague on the people.
- Then God said that he would help the children of the people make it to the promised land, but not them. They were too stubborn and rebellious
- The people were sorry.
And that’s what you missed – except for this little verse that occurs just before this week’s reading.
Exodus 33:11a Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
Here’s a synopsis of one of those conversations:
- God promised Moses that everything would work out.
- Moses asked God, “Show me your glory”
- God said that no one could see the face of God and live.
- God let Moses see his back – or “back parts”
How could Moses speak to God face to face but be in danger of dying if he saw God’s face?
And what did Moses actually see when God went past and then showed Moses his back?
Michelangelo had an idea - and likely based on Jerome’s Latin translation of Exodus 33:23 – that says God showed Moses his “backs” he painted, in one part of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a picture of God showing “backs”
And now all you can do is think about that picture.