Verses of Exodus 33


Exodus 33:12 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)


Exo 33:12-13. Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight.

NOTHING is more profitable than to be brought, as it were, into the secret chamber of the saint, and to be a witness of his intercourse with God. His humble confidence, his holy boldness, his fervent supplications, his almost irresistible pleadings, give us a juster view of man’s present salvation, than any declarations, however strong, could convey. The blessedness of true religion is there embodied, and is therefore seen in all its fair proportions and magnificent dimensions.

The prayer which we have just heard, was uttered on occasion of the transgression of Israel in the matter of the golden calf. God had threatened to destroy the whole nation: but, at the intercession of Moses, he so far forgave them, as to suspend his judgments, and to promise, that though HE would conduct them no longer by his immediate presence, he would send an angel with them, who should lead them to the promised land. This, however, Moses could not endure: if God should not go with them, he judged it undesirable to be guided thither at all: and therefore he renewed his pleadings with God in their behalf, hoping to prevail to the full extent of his wishes. God had offered to destroy that whole nation, and to raise up another from the loins of Moses: and this token of God’s good-will towards him he laid hold of as a ground of hope, and urged it as a plea with God to grant him his full desire: “Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight.”

Let us notice here,


The fact pleaded—

God had given him the assurances here spoken of—
[We are not told exactly either when, or how, God had declared to him these glad tidings. It is probable, however, that it was by an audible voice during their late extraordinary intercourse, wherein, we are told, “The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend [Note: 1.].” The import of the declaration, however, is clear. It could not mean that God merely knew the name of Moses; for he knew the name of every human being as well as his: it means, that from all eternity he had ordained Moses to his high station, and had appointed him to be a vessel of honour, in whom he would be glorified. I say not, but that the conduct of Moses, as contrasted with that of Aaron and the people of Israel, might bring down upon him more special tokens of God’s favour: for I can have no doubt but that God, who rewardeth every man according to his works, did confer upon him many blessings as the reward of his piety, according to that established rule of his, “Them that honour me, I will honour:” but the primary source of all his blessedness was God’s electing love and sovereign grace; though the manifestations of that love, by an immediate assurance from heaven, might be given him as a recompence for his fidelity.]

And are not similar assurances vouchsafed to God’s faithful people at this day?
[If we examine the Holy Scriptures, we shall find, that neither electing love, nor the manifestation of it to the soul, are confined to Moses. To Jeremiah this declaration was vouchsafed: “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nation [Note: Jer 1:5.].” Here the very same expression, “I knew thee,” is explained as equivalent to a fore-ordination of him to the prophetic office. And the same sovereign grace is exercised towards men in reference also to their everlasting concerns; as it is said, “Whom God did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son [Note: Rom 8:29.].” Nor must we understand this foreknowledge as forming the ground of God’s future mercies to the persons foreknown, but rather as constituting the source from whence those blessings flow: as the Apostle says, “God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (not because he foresaw that we should be holy, but in order that we might be holy) and without blame before him in love [Note: Eph 1:4.].” And it is on this electing love of his, and not on any merits or strength of ours, that our security, in reality, depends: for it is said, “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his [Note: 2Ti 2:19.].”

But does God manifest this his electing love to any now, as he did to Moses? Yes: not indeed by an audible voice, but by other means sufficiently intelligible both to themselves and others. What else is meant by the Witness of the Spirit? for, now, as well as in former days, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God [Note: Rom 8:16.].” Nor is it in that way only that he makes known our relation to him, but by a work of grace upon our souls: for it was from the “work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ,” which St. Paul saw in his Thessalonian converts, that he “knew their election of God [Note: 1Th 1:3-4.].

The fact, then, which Moses pleaded with God is no other than what all his saints are at liberty to plead: for as it is true, that “he knows them by name, and that they have found grace in his sight,” so is it true, also, that he has, more or less evidently, declared it to them all; not indeed to any by an audible voice; but to some by the secret influences of his Spirit, and to all by the visible operations of his grace.]
The next point for our consideration is,


The petition urged—

It is thought by many, that an assurance of our acceptance with God would render us careless and supine: but—
The very reverse was its effect on Moses—
[The mercies vouchsafed to him, only stimulated him to a more earnest desire after further blessings. He does not say, “If I have found grace in thy sight, I am content: but, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me thy way, that I may know thee, and that I may find further grace in thy sight.”]
And such will be its effect on all God’s chosen people—
[Blessings will be regarded by them, not as gifts wherein to rest, but as pledges and earnests of future blessings. It was a wise and truly spiritual argument which was offered by Manoah’s wife for the pacifying of her husband’s mind: “If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering or a meat-offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would, as at this time, have told us such things as these [Note: Jdg 13:23.].” Past mercies are rather urged by them in prayer as pleas for further blessings. It was thus that David regarded them: “Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living [Note: Psa 56:13.] ?” And in this way will God’s special favour operate on every ingenuous mind. Instead of being satisfied with a taste of his love, we shall hunger and thirst after the full banquet; and never cease from aspiring after a further growth in grace, till we have attained the full measure of the stature of Christ, and our graces are perfected in glory.

Nor shall we be anxious about our own advancement only: we shall feel for God’s honour also; and for the welfare of those around us. This appears, in a striking point of view, in the conduct of Moses on this occasion: for, not content with finding grace himself, he adds, “And consider that this nation is thy people;” in which words he combines a tender regard for God’s honour with an anxiety for his people’s welfare. His further pleading also deserves attention: “Wherein shall it be known here, that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us [Note: 6 with ch. 34:9.] ?” Now this shews us the true effect which a sense of God’s love will produce: it will make us not only anxious to obtain richer communications of grace and peace to our own souls, but more earnest also to promote to the utmost of our power the good of all around us.]

The answer given to this petition leads us to notice,


The plea admitted—

God, in his mercy, vouchsafed to Moses an answer of peace—
[The plea peculiarly honoured God, in that, whilst it acknowledged his sovereign grace in the blessings already bestowed, it regarded him as a God of unbounded goodness, able and willing to fulfil all his petitions. And God’s answer to it shewed how greatly it was approved by him: “The Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken, for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name [Note: 7.].” Here, I say, God not only grants the petition, but specifically founds the grant upon the very plea that had been urged.]

And when did he ever refuse to hear a petition so enforced?
[God loves to be addressed with confidence, provided the confidence be grounded on his power and grace. He bids us to come to him “with a full assurance of faith;” to “ask what we will:” and he gives us reason to hope, that, if we come in faith, he will “do for us not only what we ask, but exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.” It might be feared, that the importunity of Moses would offend him. But it did not: nor was he angry with Jacob, who “wrestled with him in prayer all night,” and boldly said, “I will not let thee go until thou bless me.” On the contrary, he commands us to wait on him with unwearied importunity, and to “continue instant in prayer,” till he bestow upon us all that our hearts can wish. “The wider we open our mouths in prayer, the more he will fill them.”]

To improve this subject, I would say,

Bear in mind the tokens of God’s love—

[Look at what he “has said to you” in his word: take his “exceeding great and precious promises,” and tell me whether you can ever want a plea to urge at the throne of grace. You admire his condescension and grace to Moses: but it is no other than what he will manifest to you, if, like Moses, you consecrate yourselves to his service. You cannot, indeed, expect to converse with God face to face, as a man converseth with his friend: but by faith you may approach him no less certainly, and no less nearly; and may be sure of obtaining from him an answer of peace. Only take with you his words of promise, and spread them before him; and every jot and tittle of them shall be fulfilled to your souls.]


Let the effect of his distinguishing grace be to make you more earnest in your desires after him—

[When David said, “O God, thou art my God,” he added, “early will I seek thee.” In truth, this is our great encouragement to seek him: for, if he “loved us with an everlasting love,” what may we not expect his loving-kindness to do for us? If once you could bring yourselves to say, ‘I am one of God’s elect, and therefore am at liberty to relax my efforts in his service;’ you would need no further evidence, that you are “yet in the gall of bitterness,” and have no part or lot in his salvation. If you have a good hope that you are his children indeed, then will you “walk worthy of your high calling,” and “purify yourselves even as he is pure.”]


Improve your interest in God for the good of others—

[In this Moses greatly excelled: he was willing and desirous even to “be blotted out of God’s book” himself, if that, by means of it, he might obtain mercy for his offending nation. See to it, Brethren, that your religion operate thus on you. Behold the state of those around you; how many thousands there are dying in their sins! And will you not interest yourselves in their behalf, and labour to obtain for them the mercy that has been vouchsafed to you? Will you suffer your very friends and relatives to perish, without any serious effort in their behalf? Oh! pity them, and pray for them; and “give unto God no rest,” till you have obtained some evidence that you have not laboured altogether in vain.]

Verses of Exodus 33


Consult other comments:

Exodus 33:12 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 33:12 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Exodus 33:12 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 33:12 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Exodus 33:12 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Exodus 33:12 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Exodus 33:12 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 33:12 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 33:12 - F. B. Hole's Old and New Testaments Commentary

Exodus 33:12 - F.B. Meyer's Through the Bible Commentary

Exodus 33:12 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Exodus 33:12 - Geneva Bible Notes

Exodus 33:12 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 33:12 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 33:12 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Exodus 33:12 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 33:12 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Exodus 33:12 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Exodus 33:12 - Expositions Of Holy Scripture by Alexander MacLaren

Exodus 33:12 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Exodus 33:12 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Exodus 33:12 - The Complete Pulpit Commentary

Exodus 33:12 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 33:12 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 33:12 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)