What do we have that didn’t come from somewhere or someone else? Applied to our knowledge of God: what do we know about God that He Himself has not told us? In a certain sense, theology is a one-way street. We cannot attain to the heavenlies. The heavenlies must come down to us. In Exodus 33, what did Moses know about God that God had not shown him or caused him to experience? Moses knew that the glory of God, as much as he had seen and experienced, was more, was greater.
While growing up, my church would sing an old gospel song that said Christ “hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock and covers me there with his hand.” It’s a repeated line, clearly intended to be remembered. The lyrics were an obvious play on Exodus 33 where Moses, hearing God’s willingness to confirm his ongoing presence with Israel on the journey from Sinai to the Canaan, asked the LORD, “I pray, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18). Consider for a moment all that Moses had seen to this point: his own physical salvation as an infant, the bush that burned and was not consumed, his call to ministry from the LORD, the plagues upon Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground, the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, manna and water miraculously provided in the desert, meeting with the LORD on the top of Sinai for the delivering of the Law, and, to top it off, we read just prior to Moses’ request for a full disclosure of His glory that “[t]he Lord spoke to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Moses had witnessed, again and again, the power and glory of God in his life. Yet, Moses wants more. How will the LORD respond? Will He grant Moses’ request and show him His glory, which Moses must perceive to be above and beyond all that he had already seen?? Here we see a near ideal intersection of God’s Incomprehensibility and Revelation.