Responding to God’s Glory
God’s glory is awesome and overwhelming—and yet God is willing to reveal His perfect character to us! He showed Moses His glory on Mount Sinai after the Israelites’ sin with the golden calf, revealing that He is merciful, gracious, patient, loving, faithful, just, and forgiving. In part 2 of our series studying the moment when God showed Moses His glory, we look at three more biblical figures who experienced the Lord’s glory.
When David committed terrible sin, he knew he deserved brutal punishment. But knowing God’s glorious character and nature, he appealed to the Lord’s mercy and steadfast love, just as He had revealed to Moses. Under much different circumstances, watching the holy city of Jerusalem’s destruction, the prophet Jeremiah likewise wrote of the Lord’s mercy and steadfast love. And the prophet Jonah, in a moment of sin, ran from God because he knew the Lord’s glorious character. Each of these men show us a theme that runs throughout Scripture and should run through our minds constantly: God is glorious and worthy of all our worship!
We encourage you to join us in reading Exodus 34:6-7 once a day this week. Let us know in the comments how it’s helped you in your understanding of God’s character and nature.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover, with me is Chris Katulka. And we'd like to remind you right at the top that foiradio.org is where you can keep up on what's happening with this program, what's happening in Israel. We have nine years worth of Friends of Israel Today Radio teaching for you free. Just visit our archives page at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: You know, Steve, last week we started a new series that we called Monumental Moses Moments. I love it, the triple M. And so when we look at the monumental moment in Moses's life, it's when he was with the Lord in Exodus 32, 33 and 34, which we looked at last week. And we saw when God revealed to Moses in the midst of a real tragedy, his character and nature. And what you're going to see today is that that wasn't just for Moses. Actually, many biblical characters throughout the Bible in the Old Testament and New Testament are going to draw on that moment from Moses, and today we're going to look at those characters.
Steve Conover: We look forward to getting back in the Word. But first in the news. The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States, Egypt and Qatar encouraged Israel and Hamas to accept a comprehensive plan that would end the war, release the Israeli hostages held in Gaza and ultimately lead to full normalization for Israel with its neighbors, and talks for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Chris Katulka: Steve, here is my take. This plan is what I call pie in the sky, which just goes to show how disconnected the Biden administration is from the reality on the ground. Do you think after October 7th, the Israelis will embrace a Palestinian state? I don't think so. October 7th muddled any future two state solution for decades. Any negotiations offered should include dismantling of Hamas, once and for all.
Chris Katulka: Difficult life circumstances can play a profound role on an individual's relationship with God, which is something we looked at as we've started our series here on Monumental Moses Moments. For instance, once faith can be shaken when you face the grief of losing a job or even the financial security that you're accustomed to, or maybe when you're struck with your own mortality after finding out you have a life-threatening disease, or even worse, when a loved one dies. Grief can cause us to question our faith as we struggle to make sense of death. Our grief and pain can confuse our conceptions about God, and even the pain of our sin can drive us away from God.
And that's why I want to turn to a very significant moment in Moses's life, a moment that will shape his understanding of God and define many biblical characters to follow in the Old Testament and the New Testament. I'll say this, what we're going to see is that Moses finds out who God is, or better yet, God tells Moses who He is.
Now, last week I shared the account of Moses on Mount Sinai after the golden calf incident when Moses was left to pick up the pieces after Israel sinned against God. The golden calf incident was an opportunity for God to sever His relationship with His people because they broke the covenant He made with them. Right away, it was a tragedy for the Israelites and for Moses, but both of them handled it differently. The Israelites when they were faced with the tragedy of losing their leader, Moses, that they thought abandoned them, what did they do? They went and built a golden calf. But Moses when he was faced with the tragedy of God severing His relationship with His people, Moses said to God, do you remember? "Show me your glory."
When tragedy strikes and we hit these forks in the road in life, we're often forced to choose to build our own golden calves and handle it ourselves. Or to be like Moses and say to God, "I want to know you more in this struggle. Please show me your glory."
Well, Moses would come down from the mountain, a changed man. He would be changed both spiritually and physically after he asked God to show him His glory. God told Moses, do you remember this? It's all built on these two verses from Exodus 34:6 and 7 when God says, "The Lord, the Lord, a God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who by no means will clear the guilty."
In God's wisdom He revealed to Moses His character and nature. God shared that He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.
And God's character and nature changed Moses. But it didn't just change him, it would change biblical characters throughout the Bible. And today I want to share with you how God's moment with Moses when He declared who He is, His character and nature transformed many biblical characters throughout the Scriptures and should transform us too.
And that's why I want to start in Psalm 51, David's prayer of repentance to the Lord after committing two sins that actually deserved the death penalty. That's right. There was no sin sacrifice for David. David committed the sin of intentional adultery and intentional murder. There was no sacrifice for those sins in Levitical law. He deserved to have his kingship removed and that's why he prays in Psalm 51, "Take not your Holy Spirit from me." He's talking about the fact that he was a king. He didn't want the Holy Spirit to be taken away from him. That was God's way of using David to guide His people, Israel. Take not your Holy Spirit from me means, don't take your kingship from me because of my sin.
He also deserved death. But David opens his Psalm of repentance with Exodus 34:6 and 7 on his mind. In fact, David, he would've made a great lawyer. He uses God's words against Him. King David had the chutzpah to look at his gross sins and our holy God and open Psalm 51 like this. "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love." Did you hear that? "According to your abundant mercy and grace. Blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment."
Did you hear the keywords of God's character in Exodus 34:6 and 7, appearing right here in Psalm 51 as David opens his cry of repentance, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your [foreign language 00:08:13], your covenantal love." All words that are found right in Exodus 34:6 and 7. He says, "Wash me of my iniquity. Blot out my transgression, cleanse me from my sin." And if you remember when we just read Exodus 34:6 and 7, God told Moses that He is a forgiving God who forgives, you ready? Iniquity, transgression and sin.
Let me tell you what David did. He used God's words against Him. He's saying, "God, I know I deserve death, but I also know who you are. You told us in Exodus 34:6 and 7 that you are a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty."
"So knowing who you are, Lord," David says in Psalm 51:7. "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." In his brokenness, which is key, David was confident God would forgive him because David read God's Word. And it says, "God is merciful, gracious and forgiving." It's a real tragedy, the tragedy of David's sin. But instead of running from God in his sin, in the midst of his sin, David like Moses ultimately says, "Show me your glory. I want to know you more." He was confident God would forgive him because he was confident in the character and nature of God that routes all the way back to the moment when God tells Moses who He is. It's just amazing.
The same could be said for the prophet Jeremiah. In the midst of a real tragedy for Jeremiah and the Jewish people, the lamenting prophet leans into Exodus 34:6 and 7. The tragedy was the prophet was sitting on a hill watching Jerusalem and the Holy Temple burn just as Jeremiah said it would. But even though Jeremiah knew Jerusalem's demise was imminent, he knew it. He was still overtaken by the tragedy. What the Jewish people considered sacred to them, was burning to the ground with nothing but uncertainty for the future. And that's when Jeremiah cries out in the Book of Lamentations, the book of crying, Lamentations 3:21-24. He says this as Jerusalem is burning to the ground, "But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore, I will hope in him."
Do you hear all the characteristics of God wrapped up in this famous verse in the middle of a tragedy? Jeremiah the prophet was confident in the character and nature of God. That's what he called to mind when he said, "But this I called to mind and therefore I have hope. God's covenantal love," from Exodus 34:6 and 7, "it never ceases. He is so faithful." Jeremiah knows that His mercies are new every morning. What? Just as it says in Exodus 34:6 and 7, notice Jeremiah's hope is where? Where is it placed? Where is it routed? It's in God.
Well, who is God? He's the compassionate, gracious, patient, faithful, forgiving God. And as Jeremiah is watching Jerusalem burn, he says, "I'm confident in who my God is. I'm confident in him."
Now when we come back, we're going to see how the prophet Jonah looked at Exodus 34:6 and 7. You're not going to want to miss this. Stick around.
Steve Conover: As we enter into this new year, for many of us, we've set our hearts on growing with the Lord and deepening our understanding of His Word.
Chris Katulka: Steve, this is the reason why the Friends of Israel wants you to save the date for our 2024 Look Up Virtual Conference this March 8th and 9th where our passionate teaching team and I will take a look at the Kingdom of God according to Jesus.
Steve Conover: Yes, please join us online March 8th and 9th to study what the Bible says about the Kingdom of God and the Messiah's role in restoring God's Kingdom on earth. We'll examine together all that Moses, the prophets and the New Testament have to say about the Kingdom's coming beauty and the blessing it offers the believer today.
Chris Katulka: Look Up kicks off on March 8th and 9th airing at 7:00 PM Eastern time and as always, registration is free. To learn more about the Kingdom of God according to Jesus, register today at lookup.foi.org. Again, it's lookup.foi.org.
Welcome back everyone. We are looking at one of the most significant moments in the life of our hero, Moses, from the Book of Exodus and how this moment defined the thoughts and actions of many biblical characters throughout the Bible. We're just scratching the surface actually. We just looked at how King David and the prophet Jeremiah's life were changed by Exodus 34:6 and 7 as they were confidently leaning into God's character and nature in the midst of a tragedy.
The prophet Jonah though is another interesting test case on Exodus 34:6 and 7. Jonah is dealing with a tragedy of his own. God called the prophet to minister to a people he and most of the world hated, the Ninevites. The Israelites hated the Ninevites. They were bullies in the region, killing, pillaging, and God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh to tell the Assyrians to repent and God wouldn't judge them.
Well, Jonah did the opposite of Moses, did the opposite of David, did the opposite of Jeremiah. Instead of turning to God, "Show me your glory," he ran in the opposite direction. He'd rather watch from a distance the Assyrians die than see them find life in God. Well I'm sure you know the story after a lot of running from God, Jonah ends up in Nineveh. And guess what? They repent and find God's forgiveness. Praise God, right?
Well listen to Jonah's response to this great news. "But it displeased Jonah," it says in Jonah 4:1. "It displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, 'O, Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish, for I knew ...'" You're ready, listen. "I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding steadfast love, and relenting from disaster."
Think about this. Jonah practically plagiarizes Exodus 34:6 and 7. The reason he ran from God was because he was so confident in God's character and nature that He would actually forgive these despicable people. "God, I didn't want to go to Nineveh because I know you. I knew you'd forgive them because that's who you are." Let me ask you something. Are you that confident in God in the face of a tragedy?
See, sometimes I think we say we know God like He's the big guy in the sky. But we don't have to look up into the sky and wonder if God is hearing us in the midst of our pain, our tragedy, or our suffering. Actually, we should be looking down, opening our Bibles and looking at Exodus 34:6 and 7. And be reminded every day that God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.
Look, I want to encourage you again to read those two verses every day this week. Build your life on those verses so that you never question if your sin can be forgiven like David. So that when you feel like Jeremiah and you're lamenting, you're crying, that the things that you hold near and dear in your life are burning down around you, you can stare at it and say, "Great is your faithfulness." So that you can do the opposite of Jonah, and understand that God's character and nature are not just for you but for the whole world, even your worst enemy. And when you build your life on those verses, then you'll say in the middle of your tragedy, "God, show me your glory."
Steve Conover: Israel, on the verge of becoming a state, a teenage Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: "One recent morning I met a small group of young religious children at the bus station with their teacher. As is my custom I said to them, "Shalom [foreign language 00:18:54], which means peace, good morning." The teacher gave me a nasty look, but the children answered very nicely, "Shalom." I asked the teacher, "Are you not feeling well? Can I help you?" "No." I asked, "Why are you so unhappy?" He answered, "Because I do not want an atheist like you to have such close contact with my pupils." I asked, "How do you know I am an atheist?" He responded, "A person who believes in God covers his head, but your head is uncovered." I then asked, "Was Moses a Jew?" "Of course," he said. "Good right. But what did the Lord say to Moses when he was standing before the burning bush?" The teacher did not answer.
So one of the children said, "I know. The Lord said, 'Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand his holy ground.'"
I then said, "You see. The Lord did not tell Moses to cover his head. Who are you that I cannot stand before you with my head uncovered? Do not think your long beard and black hat can save you." He became more interested in what I was saying and the children were hanging onto my every word. The teacher asked, "How can you speak about salvation with such surety?" I replied, "I have had the great privilege of being saved. And not because I was so nice or so good, I'm a sinner just like everyone else. But I will have everlasting life. Psalm 23:6 says, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
By now, two buses had come and gone, but the teacher didn't seem upset about it. He wanted to prove himself right and he didn't care how long it took. And then suddenly he said, "Aha, now I know who you are. You are a missionary." I asked him, "What about Abraham and Jonah? Were they not missionaries? Even all of your ultra Orthodox rabbis are missionaries. The only difference between them and me is that I preach the Gospel of God according to the Bible, but you and the rabbis spread only vanity. Even when I greeted you with shalom, you would not answer me. In the law God commanded us, 'Love your neighbors as yourself.' Instead, you are teaching your pupils to hate their neighbors."
This made him very angry and he shouted, "A Christian has no right to tell me how to educate my pupils." I responded, "It is not important whether you call yourself a Jew or a Christian. The important thing is to keep the very least of the Lord's commandments. And in doing this, you will find Him. He will then receive you just as you received me when I came to him on his terms. It is written in Isaiah 2:3, "Out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." We were very near to this prophecy's fulfillment. Please, please pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life in ministry in Israel, it didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel Ministry representatives continue to share the Gospel in Jerusalem, Israel and really all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors and their families. We provide free food, medicine and clothing. And we even promote the safety and security of the state of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere.
So when you give to the Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the Gospel of our Messiah Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiradio.org. Again that's, foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for joining us for today's episode of The Friends of Israel Today. In the message, Chris once again encouraged us to read Exodus 34:6 and 7. Again, join me this week in reading that section of Scripture once a day.
Chris Katulka: Hey, you know, Steve, next week we're doing our IMG in depth episode where we look at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, and I'm happy to say we're going to be interviewing you. I'll be interviewing you for your article on David, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Steve Conover: I'm looking forward to having the tables turned on me here.
Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, engineered by Bob Beebe, edited by Jeremy Strong, who also composed and performs our theme music. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer.
Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Our web address is foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org or you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940. Again, that's (888) 343-6940.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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Apples of Gold: I Will Dwell in the House of the Lord Forever
Zvi said hello to a teacher and his pupils at a bus stop one morning. The teacher was rude and did not respond to him. When Zvi asked him why he was so unhappy, he explained that because Zvi did not wear a covering on his head, he assumed he was an atheist and did not want him interacting with his students. Zvi explained that choosing not to follow such a man-made law did not make a person an atheist. Their discussion allowed Zvi to share the good news of the Messiah.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
Your gifts help us to continue proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.