BY JORDAN MAYER
"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God."
(Exodus 34: 29)
Upon reading this passage of Scripture, my imagination can't help but run wild. I wonder what that must have looked like. Here's Moses who has been gone for forty days and forty nights and as you see him approach, you realize he is glowing! Imagine what he must have looked like at night, let alone in broad daylight! What a strange and amazing sight all rolled into one.
Getting past my initial amazement at this detail, I then started to think about the idea of God being light and the impact that His presence has on our lives.
Simply being in God's presence had affected Moses in a visible way. Think about what this says about God. He is light without any darkness (1 John 1:5). He is all things good (Psalm 31:19). He is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3). In a different encounter, God had to hide Moses in the cleft of a rock as He walked past so that he wouldn't die (Exodus 33:20). Knowing all this, it's no surprise, then, that being in God's presence changes you.
In a similar way, when we are exposed to the light of the Gospel, we are changed! We are given new hearts and new desires (Ezekiel 36:26). What was once dead and dark is now alive and bright (Ephesians 2:5). When we accept Jesus into our hearts, the very presence of God takes up residence inside us! And the amazing thing is, He is there to stay. What God started with Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai, he has brought to fulfillment in Jesus who is the light of the world (John 8:12). And upon completing His work, Jesus sent us a helper that would be in us (John 14:15-17). Like Moses, this exposure to the presence of God starts to make our faces shine. Although we might not be glowing in a literal sense, the work that Christ has done in our hearts brings about a noticeable change.
That begs some questions that sting me with conviction. Can people notice that my face is shining? Is it apparent and obvious to the people I interact with that I am a follower of Christ? Is my life marked by a singular focus on Jesus? Is the light of the Gospel placed up on a stand for all to see or do I tuck it away under a basket?
Upon seeing this Great Light, Moses had a job to do. He was to return to the people and give them God's commandments. So too for us, when we receive the Good News we are called to share it. In Hebrews, the author reminds his readers that they have been called and chosen to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
I am reminded of Pastor Brent’s message from a few weeks ago, about how we should have a burden for the lost. The truth is that those who don’t know the Lord walk through life in darkness, as we once did (Ephesians 5:8). Remember what that was like. Darkness, despair, hopelessness. So I encourage myself and I encourage you by Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
This world is full of darkness. Be the light for someone today and point them to the Great Light.