When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after having seen only the back parts of God, his face was so brilliant that Aaron and all the Israelites fled from his presence. When Paul talked about the shining face of Moses, he made it 14 cleft for meclear that the “glory” that was reflected by Moses was really the Glory of God’s standards of the Law. In 2 Corinthians 3:7, Paul writes, “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face…” It’s the failure of man to live up to God’s standard that brings such fear. That’s exactly as it is explained in Genesis. Just as Aaron and all Israel was afraid of God’s glory so too were Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:8 tells us, “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

We sometimes think that Moses was the exception. After all, he was the one who God allowed to see a glimpse of His Glory. The glimpse was preceded by a solemn warning. In Exodus 33:20, God said to Moses, “… for man shall not see me and live.” Furthermore, we can’t miss the fact that it was only a glimpse and that it was preceded by God’s own protection. Verses 21 and 22 go on to described God’s provision, God’s protection from the unbearable standards of Glory that God was about to give to Moses to present to the people of Israel and to us. They tell us, “And the LORD said, ‘Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.’”

Moses life was at stake! Do you think he was afraid? I don’t! I think he was at perfect peace because he had God’s Word. God put Moses on a rock, an immovable object, that would be “cleft” in a way to protect him from the consequences that must befall every sinful man who stands in the presence of a gloriously righteous God. The scriptures make it perfectly clear that after death all of will stand before a Holy God. We need not tremble. We must stand on the Rock, rest in the cleft of it that God provides, and trust Him to cover us with His hand. This passage is the basis for our old Gospel Hymn, “The Rock of Ages.” Isaiah wrote about Him (the Rock) in Isaiah 26:3-4. He said, speaking directly to God the Rock, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” The Hebrew phrase translated in this passage as “everlasting rock,” is more literally rendered as “the Rock of Ages.” Christ is the Rock of Ages.