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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising, Michigan

Prove It God - 10/18/2020

It’s been our Achilles heel since the get go, you know?

Moses’ language in his discussion with God from Exodus today is peppered with it.

“You have said ‘bring up this people’ but you have not let me know … (Ex 33.12)

… Yet you have said ‘I know …’ (v12)

show me your ways so that I may know …. (v 13)

… for how shall it be known? … (v 16)

show me your glory … (v 18)

And, I mean, what the heck does Moses want from God? How could he not know already that God most certainly does “go with them,” quite literally in a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day they can see with their own eyes.

How could Moses feel that God still needs to show him proof? Hadn’t God shown him all the “proof” he needed in the parting of the sea, in the manna and quails, and pure, lifegiving water gushing out of dry lifeless rock?

“How will I know?” “Show me your glory?”

What is wrong with this guy?

Well, nothing really, nothing that isn’t wrong with any of us … he’s a human being. His life’s journey has not taken one expected turn from the moment he came into the world and was sent down the Nile River in a reed and tar basket. And now he’s out in the middle of a dry, unforgiving wilderness with a lot of whiny, unpredictable people who, by the way, are just as terrified as he is. And they act like it.

Where are we going? Where are you taking us? We’re hungry, we’re thirsty, we’re tired. How do we really know we are going to be okay? We demand you show us, God, and don’t ever stop because we want constant assurance. We want to know. We want to see. All of it.

So, I suppose we shouldn’t judge Moses too harshly. Like I said, this has been our Achilles heel from the get go, and not just in hard times. Think back farther then Moses, farther than Abraham even … all the way back to the Garden of Eden where God’s brand-new creation lived harmoniously and in full relationship with God. Do you remember what it was that ended that idyllic reality? “And the Lord God commanded (humankind) ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’” (Gen 2:16-17)

It was the tree of knowledge. We want to know! We want to see! Our Achilles heel.

Mashing these two examples up – Moses demanding to know and see God as God knows and sees him; and those first humans who are living in God’s perfect and balanced abundance and yet are unable to resist the chance to know and see like God – mashing these two examples up makes me think this desire to know and see like God is somehow part of the very core of our creation.

On one hand, what a gift! Because it pushes us exactly where God wants us to go – into full and deep relationships with God and with one another. How can we do anything but be more fully present in our relationships when we try to see everything else more like God does? How can we do anything else but be brave enough to dive more deeply into our relationships if we are trying to know someone more like God does?

On the other hand, Achilles heel – a weakness in spite of overall strength that may cause one to fall. We find ourselves in challenging situations and faced with big unknowns and everything we’ve ever been so sure about with God flies out the window. We become whiny and demanding. We want proof from God. “I need to know, God.” “Show me, God.” “Prove you know and see me, God.”

I think we would be hard-pressed to find someone completely immune from this seemingly innate desire or demand to know and see more like God. 

When we have plenty of evidence of God in our lives, we want more.

When we are panicked, frightened, hurt … we demand more – we want to know and see the way – how am I going to get out of this mess? Will he get better? Will she ever know how much I hurt?

Our Achilles heel from the get go. And it appears to be inescapable – except for one thing – God, the one who knows our every weak spot.

There is something else about this passage to note. When we start to really think about the way Moses conducts himself with God, it is easy to get all caught up in what Moses is saying or shouting or whining, and kind of miss the little glimpses of grace and patience and love in God’s response to Moses’ rant.

“You have said ‘bring up this people’ but you have not let me know …, Moses complains. God has said, “I know …” Moses argues, so “show me your ways so that I may know ….” he pleads.

And God says, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (v 14)

But Moses demands more, “…how shall it be known?

And God says … “(Okay) I will do for you what you ask. Uou have found favor in my sight and I know you by name.” (vs17)

Still Moses demands more proof, “…show me your glory.”

And God says I will make all my glory pass before you, proclaiming I am The Lord of graciousness and mercy. (vs 19)

This is God-promise again, Dear Church – and as you know, God promise to our ancestors like Moses and the wandering and whining Israelites is God-promise to us too.


You know, these stories of God’s people wandering in the wilderness weren’t told for the sake of those people wandering in the wilderness. They were too busy just surviving.

These stories were and are told for the generations to follow – to help us remember what we so often tend to forget – that in hard times especially, but in all our other times too, God finds ways to break through, time and time again, to guide us when we’re lost, provide for us when we’re thirsty, hungry and tired, preserve us when we are frightened and vulnerable.

We keep sharing these stories so that when we hit our own versions of wilderness – like a falling out with someone, a job loss, the death of a loved one, illness … a pandemic … we share these stories so we remember …

When we cry out “I want to know where we are going, God! I want to know where you are taking me!” God says, “My presence will go with you. I will give you rest.”

When we cry out that we are hungry, thirsty, tired, God answers us with the gift of Jesus and says “I will do for you what you ask, you have favor in my sight. I know your name.”

And when we still demand to know more and see more, God says to us still with little glimpses of grace and patience and love, “And God says I will make all my glory pass before you, proclaiming I am The Lord of graciousness and mercy.”

And we remember. What God has promised and done for God’s people before is what God promises and is doing for God’s people now.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Pastor Ann Gonyea

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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising Michigan ~ An ELCA, Northern Great Lakes Synod Congregation
P.O. Box 360 ~ 1150 West M-28 ~ Munising, MI 49862 ~ 1-906-387-2520 ~

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