Beholding God’s Glory by Encountering His Emotions


18 Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory.” 19 He said, “I will make My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you…” (Ex. 33:18-19)

Moses prayed to see God’s glory or His beauty. God answered Moses by promising to reveal His name to him. In other words, to proclaim or make known His character or personality.

Moses prayed with urgency, “Please show me Your glory.” He pleaded with God to talk to him about His glory or His personality. God has the best personality in the universe. He is the most kind, good, pure, happy, joyful, smart, mysterious, passionate, gentle, bold Person in existence.

God revealed His glory to Moses by proclaiming His power and wisdom. However, the pinnacle of God’s glory in this passage is when God revealed His emotions to Moses.

6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth…” (Ex 34:6)

The Lord is merciful: He is tender in how He relates to us in our weaknesses and sin. This is the first aspect of His personality that He revealed to Moses because it is the one we need first.

The Lord delights in mercy. It is one of His favorite things to do in leading the universe. He enjoys the heart response of His people as we encounter His relentless mercy.

18 Who is…like You, pardoning iniquity…because He delights in mercy. (Mic. 7:18)

God’s mercy is beyond anything we can compare to it. He gives it to all who repent.

7 Let the wicked forsake his way…let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him…for He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:7-9)

God offers us a new start every day if we will only repent of our compromises.

22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:22-23)

David had great confidence in God’s mercy or gentleness.

35 Your gentleness has made me great. (Ps. 18:35)

5.God wants us to have confidence before Him in love so that we to run to God instead of from God when we encounter our sin and weakness. Knowing the Word and feeling some of God’s affection for us gives us confidence and boldness even in our weakness.

The Lord is gracious: He is generous in how He relates to us in our labors. He rewards us or pays us so well for our efforts to obey and serve Him. He remembers every act of obedience (Heb. 6:10). This dignifies and sanctifies every hour of our day. The smallest and seemingly insignificant acts of service and obedience are remembered and rewarded by God forever.

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints… (Heb. 6:10)

The Lord is gracious in that He evaluates us differently than anyone else does. He remembers our frailty and that we are but dust (Ps. 103:14). The lifestyle that God calls us to live is within the reach of the weak (1 Jn. 5:4; Mt. 11:30).

10 He has not dealt with…nor punished us according to our iniquities. (Ps. 103:10)

He is not like a harsh military leader nor an angry coach who rejects all weakness.

14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. (Ps. 103:14)

God’s presence is full of joy because God’s heart or personality is full of joy.

11 In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures… (Ps 16:11)

Gladness and joy are at the center of Jesus’ personality. The Holy Spirit imparts Jesus’ joy to us through revealing the knowledge of God to us as we feed on God’s Word.

Many think of God as being mostly mad or mostly sad when He relates to us. The revelation of a God with a smiling heart awakens a smiling heart in us. This revelation releases security in us with a free spirit instead of being dominated by condemnation.

The Lord is longsuffering: He bears long with us instead of “writing us off”. He does not lose enthusiasm for us when we fail. He does not retaliate in the way man does.

4 Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Rom. 2:4)

He suffers long with our sinful responses. His love for us is greater than the pain we cause Him when we resist Him.

Understanding this gives us confidence that our repentance is never rejected.

The Lord is abounding in goodness: He overflows with good plans for us. The song that is recorded most often in Scripture is “The Lord is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr. 16:34, 41; 2 Chr. 5:13; 7:3, 6; 20:21; Ezra 3:11; Jer. 33:11; Ps. 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; 138:8; 136).

11 I know the thoughts that I think toward you…thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me…and I will listen to you. (Jer. 29:11-12)

11 No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)

Some resist God’s mercy and goodness because it is so free that no one can ever deserve it. God’s mercy is freely offered to us because Jesus fully satisfied the claims of God’s justice by His death. Propitiation speaks of God’s justice being appeased or satisfied by the offering of the blood of Jesus so that sinners can be freely accepted by God.

24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood…26 that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom. 3:24-26)

God shows us His mercy without violating His justice. He forgives sin because He paid for it. Jesus’ propitiatory sacrifice on the cross does not cause God to love us. It removes the penalty that our sin deserves so we can experience His love in a way that is consistent with His justice.

Jesus referred to Moses’ experience in Exodus 33-34, when He promised to declare God’s name or personality to us. God imparts love in us as we gain more understanding of what God is like.

26 I (Jesus) have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them… (Jn. 17:26)

Paul’s prayer for revelation (Eph. 1:17) is like Moses’ prayer to see God’s glory (Ex. 33:18).

17 The Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened… (Eph. 1:17-18)


11 For if what is passing away (Old Covenant) was glorious, what remains is much more glorious…

17 Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image (character) from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:11-18)

In 2 Cor. 3, Paul compared the old and new covenants (v. 6-11). The old covenant was glorious because it provided forgiveness, yet it did not give the power to walk in righteousness. The new covenant is much more glorious because it allows us to behold or encounter the Lord in a way that gives us liberty or the power to be transformed in our hearts (v. 17-18).

Behold the glory of the Lord: Beholding God’s glory means to look at (study or encounter) His emotions, power, and wisdom as seen in creation, redemption, and His leadership over history.

Paul wrote of God’s glory in creation and when Moses saw it (2 Cor. 4:6). The most effective way to begin is by filling our mind with information about God’s emotions from the Scripture. We turn the Word into a dialog with God as we prayer-read it (see for more notes).

Prayer, fasting, meditation on the Word, and obedience positions our heart before God to freely receive. These activities do not earn us God’s favor or blessing in our lives. Analogy: We put our cold heart before the bonfire of God’s presence by seeking Him in the Word in spirit and truth.

The “beholding and becoming” principle: Whatever emotions we behold (by meditation) about God’s heart towards us are imparted to our heart for God (transformation).

What we understand about God’s heart transforms our emotions. When God wants to empower us to love Him, He reveals Himself as the One who loves us. We are dedicated to God or enjoy and pursue Him because we understand that He is dedicated to us, etc.

19 We love Him because (we understand that) He first loved us. (1 Jn. 4:19)

We change our mind or understanding about God, then God changes our hearts or emotions. Wrong ideas about God’s personality hinders our intimacy with Him.

Liberty: This speaks of experiencing freedom in our emotions from condemnation, shame, fear, addiction, spiritual dullness or bondage. Wherever the Spirit is encountered there will be liberty.

The New Covenant includes God writing His Word on our mind and heart (2 Cor. 3:3).

16 “This is the covenant (promise) that I will make with them… “I will put My laws (Word) into their hearts (emotions) and in their minds (understanding) I will write them…” (Heb. 10:16)

Heart: God promises to empower our emotions until we actually desire righteousness.

Mind: God promises to release understanding to us so we can enjoy God and His Word.

As in a mirror: The quality of our beholding the Lord is “dim” just like a mirror was in the ancient world. We all “gaze dimly” or lack clarity and focus in the process of coming before Him in prayer and meditation. This is the only type of beholding that God requires from us.

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. (1 Cor. 13:12)

Unveiled face: We come with confidence and boldness without any shame because Jesus paid the price. We come with the full assurance that God desires to help us draw near to His heart.

19 Having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way…22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith… (Heb. 10:19-22)

Transformed from glory to glory: Our growth is progressive and is usually in small steps.

By the Spirit: Only the supernatural work of the Spirit can change the human heart. Thus, we must cooperate with the Spirit and cultivate a friendship with Him being careful not to quench or resist Him. The Spirit is our only escort into God’s presence. We cannot go forward if the Spirit is quenched in our life. We must renounce all that causes the Spirit’s work in us to be minimized.

We all: It is the inheritance of every believer to be transformed by encountering God’s glory. The inheritance of every believer includes being exhilarated by feeling God’s affection and pleasure for us and in feeling it back for Him. We were created to long to feel God’s love.

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