Exodus Texts: Face To Face Prayer With God (Sermons For Mid-Week Prayer Service)

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Exodus Chapter 33. This will be our starting point, though we will travel through this Book tonight.

Last week we looked at the Father of Faith, Abraham, and his prayer life with the Lord. We saw how Abraham drew near to God, and interceded with God for Lot and his family. This week I want to look at Moses’ prayer life. The Bible says:

Moses Spoke To God Face To Face

Exodus 33:11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

What does this mean, that the Lord spake unto Moses face to face? Does it mean that Moses saw God’s face? No, because just a few verses later God tells Moses:

Exodus 33:20 And {God} said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

The Bible tells us that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). As “Spirit”, God has no face as we do. I can look on your face and live, but God’s face is part of His immensity. God is everywhere, infinite. He told the Prophet Jeremiah (23:23-24), “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” (ESV). King Solomon, purportedly the wisest man who ever lived, said Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27, ESV). God is everywhere. God is fully present everywhere. God is fully powerful everywhere. God is not like us. No, HE IS GOD!

The text tells us that the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend”. This means that

Moses and God were intimate friends,
just as Abraham and God were friends.

Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. (see also 2 Chronicles 20:7 & James 2:23).

Was Moses A Friend Of God Because He Was Perfect?

Was Moses a perfect man? Let’s see. Moses was raised in the Pharaoh’s palace, by the Pharaoh’s daughter. When Moses was forty years old (see the words of Stephen in Acts 7:22-23) he discovered that he was not Egyptian, but Jewish, a Hebrew of Israel. We read in:

Exodus 2:11-12 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

Moses murdered a man. Our text tells us that before he murdered that Egyptian, he looked this way and that way. Moses’ act was not in the heat of the moment, but an act that could be called “in cold blood”. Moses planned what he did. His action was calculated, first degree murder. The Lord has decreed:

Genesis 9:5-6 (ESV) for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image”.

Human life is sacred. As Moses was a resident of the Palace, he could have ordered the taskmaster to stop beating the Hebrews. But he did not. Moses took a life, breaking one of the earliest commandments of God. Moses ran away when the murder was discovered, and spent 40 more years in the land of Midian before meeting God at the burning bush (Exodus 3:4).

At 80 years old God calls Moses to go and represent Him in Pharaoh’s Palace (Exodus 3:4).

Moses was not a tower of faith when he was called. Moses made excuse after excuse as to why he could not go to Egypt and speak on God’s behalf.

Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh”? (Exodus 3:11)
“Israel will not believe me, nor hear me”. (Exodus 4:1)
“I am, not eloquent, but am slow of speech” (Exodus 4:10)

Moses refused to go so many times that “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” (Exodus 3:14). God had to tell Moses that He would let Aaron speak, for “he can speak well” (Exodus 4:14). God spoke to Moses, and Moses spoke to Aaron, and Aaron would speak to Pharaoh and the people of Israel. No, Moses was not a tower of faith.

He was broken, just as we all are.

Moses Was God’s Friend Because He
Fully Relied On The Lord

When trials came to Israel and to Moses, Moses did not murmur – He cried out unto the Lord. When the waters of Marah were undrinkable,

Exodus 15:25 {Moses} cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet…

When Israel came to Rephidim and found no water there, Moses did not organize a well digging crew. What did he do?

Exodus 17:4 and Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me.

When Israel got to the base of Mount Sinai, God established His covenant with Israel through Moses. God told Israel:

Exodus 19:5-6 … Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. ..

Whatever God told Moses to tell the people, Moses told it. He did not embellish nor add to the Word of God. Moses exhibited absolute truth in God’s Word. We read:

Exodus 19:7 … Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.

Moses was a faithful friend to God, so God treated Moses as a friend.

Exodus 19:8-9 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. 9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.

Moses was the perfect go-between, a perfect mediator. He faithfully delivered the Word of God to the people, and faithfully relayed the people’s needs to God. Moses loved God, and Moses loved the people.

What God looks for in a friend is a person who understands and applies the Law of Love.

God is love (1 John 4:8, 16) and God is light (1 John 1:5). God tells us in His Word:

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

God is a Friend to those who love Him. God said, I will show mercy to thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:6). When we obey God as God, we show our love to Him. If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love”. (John 15:10). We must love God if we want our prayers to be heard, if we want to have intimacy with God.


We must also love OUTWARDLY. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to treat others in our periphery – whoever we come into close contact with in our daily lives – with the love we want to receive on ourselves.

Illustrate: Just the other day I was at Walmart (no surprise there), and went to get a shopping cart. Every cart I pulled on was stuck together. A nice lady came up who tried to help. She lifted up on the back of the cart as I pulled – then I noticed the babies seatbelt strap had become wedged in the grill of the carts. I reached in, dislodged it, and gave the nice lady that cart with a smile! “I’ll give you the first one – have a blessed day!” She smiled, thanked me, and walked away.

Did I mention this sweet lady was a person of color
with a “Black Lives Matter” mask on her face?

We must also love INWARDLY. We love OUTWARDLY people who might not be like us, but we love INWARDLY in the Household of Faith.

Jesus said in John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Moses exhibited all the marks of the Friend of God. He loved God. He loved others, And He loved Israel. Moses was forty years in the Palace of Egypt, forty years in Midian, and at the base of Mount Sinai Moses went up to talk with God for forty days and nights.

Exodus 24:12 … the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

Word Study: While on Sinai God gave Moses tables of stone, or the Ten Commandments (called the Decalogue) AND a law” (tôwrâh) or a set of teachings, AND commandments” (mitsvâh), specific Laws related to the nation Israel. God told Moses to not just Come up to Me into the mount, but also and be there. The phrase and be there is the Hebrewהָיָה שָׁם, hāyâ šām which means “to be in the moment, to be focused on, to wait solely on”. To be a friend of God is to come into intimate contact with God, and to focus on Him and Him alone. During that forty days and forty nights Moses was solely focused on God.

Moses pursued God, just as our Lord Jesus pursued God, fasting 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4:2).

Israel promised God All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. But as time passed, Israel became restless. Finally a delegation got together, went to Aaron, and said:

Exodus 32:1 … Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Word Study: The King James does not fully help us understand the depth of Israel’s depravity. They said make us gods. The word translated gods is the Hebrew ĕlōhîm (אֱלֹהִים). The word ĕlōhîm is the very first name of God revealed in the Scriptures. Genesis 1:1 tells us that In the beginning GOD {ĕlōhîm} created…” This name of God refers to the Godhead, or the Triune God. Aaron agreed with the delegation, demanding their jewelry. Melting that jewelry down, Aaron made a molten calf (Exodus 32:4), and the leaders of Israel said,

Exodus 32:4 … These be thy gods {ĕlōhîm}, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

The leadership of Israel blasphemed Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The leaders – Aaron included – violated the Great Commandment (love ĕlōhîm with all your heart), and Christ’s Commandment to “love others as God has loved you”. They have broken all of the Law.

God Tests Moses’ Love: See How Moses Prays

Exodus 32:9-10 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

Word Study: God calls Israel a stiffnecked people. This is the Hebrewקָשֶׁה qâsheh, {pronounced kaw-sheh’}, which means hard hearted, cruel, grievous, difficult, severe, mean spirited. When we reject God’s love and become selfish and self centered, we become mean spirited. Some might disagree with me, but these people – I believe – hurt God’s feelings. There was a song many years ago written by Gary S. Paxton called “I Wonder If God Cries”:

I wonder if God cries, when we do the things we do?
Do love drops fill His eyes, cause He loves us oh so true?
Sometimes I feel such hurt, When I try to realize;
That even though He’s God, I wonder if God cries?

Israel has rejected the love of God, and rejected loving Moses as well. They were entirely self focused – and Moses be cursed! Would Moses allow the evil of Israel to flood his soul, so that he would call for the destruction of these cruel, hard hearted people?

No, Moses wouldn’t. This is why Moses was a friend of God. Given a choice for God to avenge himself – and Moses – Moses shows us Godly Prayer. He says:

Exodus 32:11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

Word Study: Let’s look at the first phrase, Moses besought the Lord his God. The word besought is the Hebrewחָלָה châlâh, {pronounced khaw-law’}, which means “to make oneself weak or feeble before. Moses humbled himself before God, before Yᵊhōvâ ĕlōhîm. The Scripture says,

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Moses did not speak to God on the worthiness of Israel, for Israel was patently unworthy. What Moses did was remind God that it was HE that called Israel – broken as they were – out of Egypt. Pastor David Mathis of Desiring God Ministries said:

When God announces to Moses the peoples’ sin, and the intention to destroy them and start over with him, Moses’s reflex is to lean into God’s own reputation. This is a good reflex. “Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’?” (Exodus 21:12). … Moses prays for God to turn from righteous anger and relent “from this disaster against your people,” for God’s own name’s sake.”

Moses loves God with all his heart. If God destroys the people that He just – some fifty days before – freed from Egypt, the lost world will mock God. His glory will be sullied, and Moses does not want this to happen. Mathis goes on to say:

God loves for His people to pray in light of what He’s said to us, to make our pleas in response to His promises”.

Moses prays the promises of God. He said:

Exodus 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

God heard this prayer. We are told in verse 14, “the LORD repented of the evil {raʻ, the hurt or affliction} which He thought to do to His people. But Moses does not stop here. After descending the mountain, he eradicates all the rebellious Israelites from the camp. Moses then returns UP the Mountain to see Elohim once more. Moses prays:

Exodus 32:31-32 Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods {ĕlōhîm} of gold. 32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

Moses prays much like the Apostle Paul prayed for Israel.

Romans 9:3 … I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Moses told the Lord, “Forgive Israel, Lord, or blot my name out of Your Book of Life”. God reminded Moses that each person bears responsibility for their own walk before Him. God goes on to tell Moses (who tells Israel):

Exodus 33:1-3 … Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: 2 And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: 3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.

God promises to bring Israel into the land of Canaan – but tells them I will not go up in the midst of thee. God will send an Angel before them, but He no longer will lead them in pillar of fire and pillar of cloud. Israel has offended God. God will not be their King now, nor their Shepherd.

What a horrible thing this is!

Moses is not satisfied with this. God had previously told Moses He would destroy Israel, and make another Nation, another Israel out of Moses. Now Moses wisely prays:

Exodus 33:12-13 … Moses said unto the Lord, See, Thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight. 13 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: and consider that this nation is Thy people.

Moses reminds God of what the Lord said about himself. God told Moses, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight. Moses is saying, “God, You said You were my Friend. I believe you. As my Friend, I want You to go with me into the Promised Land. As my Friend, I want you to go with Israel into that Promised Land”. God replied simply:

Exodus 33:14 … My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

Moses told the Lord:

Exodus 33:15-17 … If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For 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? so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. 17 And 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.

Lord, if You’re not with us, we don’t want the Promised Land. Can you pray the same thing? Lord, if You’re not with us:

we do not want to be healed of our sickness
we do not want our friends and family healed
we do not want a blessing, or a better job
we do not want more money or stuff

Moses’ prayer reminds us that the greatest answer to prayer is to have the Presence of God with us in a very real way. May we all learn to pray as Moses prayed. For the glory of God, and the love of Christ we ask this in His Name. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Exodus, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.