Sermon 2143. The Shining of the Face of Moses
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY, MAY 18, 1890,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON. INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, MAY 4, 1890.
"And it came to pass when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. And when Aaron and all thechildren of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. And Moses calledunto them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward allthe children of Israel came near: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai. Andtill Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him,he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spoke unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses'face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his faceagain, until he went in to speak with Him." Exodus 34:29-36.
A FAST of 40 days does not improve the appearance of a man's countenance-he looks starved, wrinkled, old, haggard. Moses hadfasted 40 days twice, at least, and, according to many competent authorities, the 10th chapter of Deuteronomy seems to implythat he fasted 40 days three times in quick succession. I will not assert or deny the third 40 days, but it is certain that,with a very slight interval, Moses fasted 40 days and then 40 days more-and it is probable that to these must be added a thirdforty.
Small attractiveness would naturally remain in a face which had endured so stern an ordeal, but the Lord whom he served madehis face brilliant with an unusual luster! The glory of the Light of God upon his countenance may have been the reason whyhe remained so free from infirmity in later years of old age. This man of 80 spent 40 more years in guiding Israel and inthe end his eyes had not dimmed nor his natural force abated! He that could fast 40 days would be a hard morsel for death.Those eyes which had looked upon the Glory of God were not likely to wax dim amid earthly scenes- and that natural force whichhad endured the vision of the Supernatural could well support the fatigues of the wilderness.
God so sustained His servant that his long and repeated fasts, during which he did not even drink water, did no harm to hisphysical constitution! The abstinence, even from water, renders the fast the more remarkable and lifts it out of similarityto modern feats of fasting. Moses did not know, at the time, that his face was shining-but he did know it afterwards-and hehas here recorded it. He gives in detail the fact of the brightness of his own face, how others were struck with it and whathe had to do in order to associate with them. We are sure that this record was not made by reason of vanity, for Moses writesabout himself in great lowliness of spirit-it was written under Divine direction-with a worthy object.
The man Moses was very meek and his meekness entered into his authorship as into all the other acts of his life-we are thereforesure that this record is for our profit. I am afraid, Brothers and Sisters, that God could not afford to make our faces shine-wewould grow too proud. It needs a very meek and lowly spirit to bear the brightness of God! We only read of two men whose facesshone-and both were very meek. The one is Moses in the Old Testament-the other is
Stephen, in the New-whose last words proved his meekness for, when the Jews were stoning him, he prayed, "Lord, lay not thissin to their charge."
Gentleness of nature and lowliness of mind are a fine background on which God may lay the brightness of His Glory! Where thesethings abound it may be safe for the Lord not only to put His beauty upon a man, but also to make a record of the fact. Moseswrote this record with a reluctant pen. Since he did not write it out of vanity, let us not read it out of curiosity. He wroteit for our learning. Let us learn by it and may God the Holy Spirit cause our faces to shine, today, as we read of the shiningface of Moses!
It would appear, so far as we can make out the narrative, that his face continued to shine long afterward. After Moses hadcome down from the mountain the brightness began to diminish. Paul tells us that it was a "glory to be done away"-but whenhe went into the holy place to commune with God, the brightness was revived and he came out again and spoke to the peoplewith that same glowing Heaven upon his brow. When he addressed the people in the name of God he took off the veil and letthem see the brightness of God in His ambassador. But as soon as he had done speaking and fell back into his own private character,he drew a veil over his face that none might be kept at a distance thereby.
The man Moses was as meek with the glory on his countenance as before it gathered there. God put great honor upon him butMoses did not desire to make a display of that honor, nor childishly wish that it should be seen of men. For the people'ssakes and for typical purposes, he veiled his face while in ordinary conversation with the people and only unveiled it whenhe spoke in the name of the Lord. Brethren, if God honors you as preachers or teachers, accept the honor but do not attributeit to your own worthiness, or even to your own personality-ascribe it to the office to which the Lord has called you.
"I magnify my office," said Paul-but you never find Paul magnifying himself! He wears the glory as an ambassador of God, notas a private individual. The dignity that God gives to His servants is bestowed upon their office, not upon themselves apartfrom it. They must never run away with it into daily life and think that they themselves are "reverend," because their Lordis so-nor may they claim for their own thoughts the serious attention which they rightly demand for the Word of the Lord.
Ministers do not pretend to be a class of sacred beings like the Brahmins of India-the only vantage-ground they occupy isthat the Lord speaks through them according to the gift of His Holy Spirit. Unveiled are our faces when we speak to God andfor God-and among our Brethren we would hide anything from which we might claim superiority for
I. With this as my preface I shall now come immediately to my subject. Here is Moses with a strange glory upon his countenance.We will first answer the question, HOW CAME THIS GLORY TO LIE THERE? The skin of Moses' face shone-why? The answer is, first,it was a reflection of the Glory which he had seen when he was with God in the holy mount. It was the result of that partly-answeredprayer, "I beseech You, show me Your Glory." God could not, at that time, grant the prayer in its fullness for Moses was notcapable of the vision-and the Lord told him, "You can not see My face and live." I look upon that prayer, however, as a verywonderful one for this reason, that it was answered to the full, 1,400 years after it was presented!
The glory of God is only to be seen in the face of Christ Jesus-and on the top of Tabor Moses saw the Son of God transfigured-andhis prayer was then and there answered to its utmost bounds! In the Transfiguration, God showed to Moses His full Glory, forhe was then made able to behold it. But though on the top of Mount Sinai he could not see the full Glory of Jehovah, yet hehad seen enough to make an impression upon him of such a kind that the skin of his face shone. God is Light and they thatlook upon Him are enlightened and reflect Light around them! Moses spoke with God face to face as a man speaks with his friendand this made his countenance glow. As the sun shining upon a reflector has its light thrown back again, often in a most brilliantfashion, so that the reflector looks like a minor sun, so was it with the face of Moses when it reflected the Glory of theLord.
The face of Moses was to God what the moon is to the sun. A saint shines on men when God has shone on him. We are changedinto the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Presence of the Lord. Would you shine in the valley?- first go up themountain and commune with God! Would you shine, my Brothers and Sisters, with superior radiance? Then be this your ferventprayer, "Make Your face to shine upon Your servant." If the Lord lifts upon you the Light of His Countenance there will beno lack of Light in your countenance! In God's Light you shall give Light. The Light on
the face of Moses was the result of fellowship with God. That fellowship was of no common order. It was special and distinguished.
I do not doubt that Moses walked with God after the fashion of believing men in the pursuit of his daily calling- but he spenttwo periods of 40 days each in solitary fellowship with God. Everybody was away-Aaron, Joshua and all the rest were far downbelow and Moses was alone with God. His communion with God was intense, close and familiar- and that not for one day but for80 days at least! Protracted fellowship brings a nearness which brief communion cannot attain. Each morning's sun found himstill in the Light of God. Each evening's dew found his soul still saturated with the Divine influence.
What must be the effect of such whole-hearted, undisturbed fellowship with God? He heard no hum of the camp below-not eventhe lowing of cattle, or bleating of sheep came up from the foot of the mountain. Moses had forgotten the world, save onlyas he pleaded for the people in an agony of prayer. No interests, either personal or family, disturbed his communion. He wasoblivious of everything but Jehovah, the Glorious One, who completely overshadowed him. Oh, for the enjoyment of such heavenlycommunion! My Brothers and Sisters, have we not lost a great deal by so seldom dwelling apart-so little seeking continuousabsorbing fellowship with the Most High? I am sure we have. We snatch a hasty minute of prayer. We afford a hurried quarterof an hour for Bible reading and we think we have done well.
Very far am I from saying that it is not well. But if for minutes we had hours, the gain might increase in proportion! Oh,for nights of prayer! Oh, for the close shutting of the closet door and a believing drawing near to God! There is no limitto the power we might obtain if such were the case. Though our faces might not be lit up with splendor, our lives would shine,our characters would become more pure and transparent-and our whole spirit would be so heavenly that men would regard withwonder the brightness of our being!
Thus, you see, the face of Moses shone because he had long looked upon the face of God. I would have you note that this communionwith God included intense intercession for the people. God will not have fellowship with our selfishness. Moses came out ofhimself and became an intense pleader for the people-and thus he became like the Son of God and the Glory descended on him.How he pleaded! With what sighs and cries he besought Jehovah not to destroy the men who had vexed His Holy Spirit! They haddegraded the Godhead by likening it unto a bullock which eats grass! They made a calf in Horeb and bowed before it, saying,"These are your gods, O Israel"!
Moses pleaded for the people down below and not for himself. Here is a point in which, it may be, we fail. The Lord turnedagain the captivity of Job when Moses prayed for his friends. The Lord loves intercessory prayer! And if ever He makes a man'sface to shine, it is when he, like Christ, has made intercession for the transgressors and poured out his soul, not for himself,but for a guilty company! More than that. In that intercession Moses had exhibited a degree of self-abnegation reaching tothe sublime. God said to him, "Let Me alone, that I may destroy them. I will make of you a great nation."
The Lord's covenant with Abraham was that Abraham's seed should possess the land-but the Lord might have destroyed all theexisting tribes except Moses-and then have made of the family of Moses a race in which the Covenant with Abraham could havebeen kept to the letter. What a prospect was set before him! The children of Moses should grow into an elect nation, heirsof all the promises of God. But no-Moses not only goes the length of putting aside the proffered honor, but he cries, "Blotme, I pray You, out of Your book which You have written." Instead of his name being written in the place of the people, hewould let their names stand at the expense of his own! When a man can come to that, he is the man, the skin of whose faceis a fit parchment on which God may write the Glory of His love! The less of self the more of God! When we can renounce allfor God's Glory and the good of His Church, the Lord will not fail to smile upon us.
Yet once more. This man Moses not only obtained this brightness by his long communion and his intercessory prayer and self-oblivion,but by his faithfulness among the people. When he went down in the interval between the two fasts and found the people worshippingthe golden calf he did not spare them. He loved them, but he did not keep back the stern blow ofjustice. He said, "Who ison the Lord's side?" And there came to him the tribe of Levi. And he said, "Go through the camp and slay every man his brotherwho shall be found rebelling against the Lord." At once they cut off the idolaters who were guilty of open treason againstthe King of Israel!
But this was not enough-the whole nation must be chastened for its great sin-and humbled by a symbolical punishment. I thinkI see Moses, having broken the tablets in his holy wrath, now taking down their idol god, grinding it, pounding it, dissolvingit in water and sternly compelling the tribes to drink of the water. He made a nauseous, bitter draught out of their idol-andmade them drink it so that their bellies might be filled with their own iniquity and they might know what it was to turn awayfrom the Lord their God! Grand old Moses! Faithful servant of God! Unbending executioner of Divine Justice!
Meek were you, Moses, but by no means indifferent to truth and righteousness! God chooses not milksops, destitute of backbone,to wear His Glory upon their faces! We have plenty of men made of sugar, nowadays, that melt into the stream of popular opinion-butthese shall never ascend into the hill of the Lord, nor stand in His Holy Place, nor wear the tokens of His Glory. O my Brothersand Sisters, it is necessary that you be true to the Lord in public if you would have His fellowship in private! If the Lordcan challenge you for yours unfaithfulness among men He will never honor you with His own peculiar seal of Light. Moses wasno trimmer, no hunter after popularity. He was sternly true to his Lord and therefore he was such that the Lord could safelymake his face shine!
Enough of this, though much more might be said-learn the useful lesson which this part of the subject teaches.
II. But, secondly, WHAT DID THIS SHINING OF HIS FACE MEAN? This brightness on his face-what did it
signify? Very briefly it meant this-God's special favor for Moses. God seemed to say, "This is My man. I have chosen him aboveall others. Among those that are born of women there is no greater than he. I have put a measure of My own Glory upon himand the token thereof shines in his face."
Surely it also meant special favor for Israel. If they could but have understood it they would not have been afraid, but consciencemade them cowards. God, in effect, said to them, by the shining of the face of Moses, "I have had favor upon you for I haveaccepted your intercessor. My servant Moses has been pleading for your lives and in proof that I have accepted you and willspare you, I have written your pardon across his shining brow." Favor to the Lord Jesus is favor to us.
Lord, when I hear You say, "This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased," I rejoice that You are well-pleased with mein Christ Jesus. When God looks on the face of His Anointed, He looks with favor upon us. This brightness on the face of Moseswas also God's witness to his commission. He had sent him, for He had glorified him. The people could not doubt his commissionwhen they looked upon his shining face! I suppose rays of light proceeded from it. Michael Angelo, in his famous statue ofMoses, represents him with horns-the strange fancy is founded in the Vulgate version, which mistook the meaning of a Hebrewword and translated it "horns."
Beams of light seemed to rise from that marvelous face! A halo of Glory surrounded that solemn countenance and the peoplecould not but perceive that this was a man on whom God had looked! And more. It was not only a witness of his office, butit was an increase of his power. The people were overawed by this strange light. They dared, even after this, to murmur againstMoses for they dared to murmur against God Himself-but still, to a people of such a temper as theirs, the supernatural lightmust have been a source of wonder and of awe-
"They gazed and looked, and lo, on brow and face,
A glory and a brightness not of earth!
The eyes lit up with fire of heavenly birth,
The whole man bright with beams of God's great Grace."
It gave their Prophet authority with them-it made them tremble before him. They would not dare to contradict one who lookedon them with such a face of Glory! His speech was as a flame of fire because his face was on a blaze! The pith of the wholething, I think, lies in this-the face of Moses shone typically, to show that there is a great glory about the Law of God.It has a glory all its own from its spirituality, its holiness, its perfection, its justice, its immutability, its power overthe conscience and so forth. It has eminent glory because it has been ordained of God Himself and therefore stands as thesacred Rule of the universe.
But this is not what Paul understands by the glory of the Law. He makes the glory "of that which was to be abolished," theglory of the ceremonial Law, to lie in its end. The end of the Law for righteousness is Christ. The Law is given to pointus to Christ, to drive us to Christ-to be our schoolmaster to whip us to Christ, to convince us of our need of Christ-andto shut us out from every other hope but that which begins and ends with Christ! The Glory of the Law is
Christ! And so Moses comes with a Glory on his face which the children of Israel could not perceive, nor steadfastly lookinto-
"They looked and saw the Glory and they shrank From that dread vision, dazzling man frail sight." Even as today men see outwardrites that God has given but see not their glorious meaning, so was it with Israel in the wilderness-they saw sacrifices,but they knew not the Great Sacrifice. They saw the oil and the water-but they knew not the Holy Spirit. They saw 10,000 tokensdear and manifest of the ever-blessed Messiah, but they did not perceive Him so as to know Him when He came. Every type andceremony might say, "Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" The Law is overlaid with theGlory of Christ, as the face of Moses was covered with Light! This is the deepest and innermost meaning of the sacred Lightwhich glowed upon the skin of the face of Moses.
III. And now, thirdly, this Glory upon the face of Moses-WHY DID NOT MOSES KNOW OF IT? For we read that "Moses knew not thatthe skin of his face shone." I answer, first, that it is not easy for a man to see his own face unless he can borrow a looking-glass.Speaking in parable, the meaning I intend is this-it is not easy for a man to form an accurate judgment of his own character.There are people in the world who think they see their own faces clearly and that they shine like suns-yet they do not shineat all unless it is with brazen impudence and self-conceit.
In other cases lowly men are afraid that their faces do not shine at all-and yet they are brightness itself. It is no smallpart of the shining of some faces that their owners are modest and humble. Brothers and Sisters, you cannot see your own faces-anduntil you can do so you must not imagine that you know your own characters. Upon study you may arrive at something like ajudgment, but it is not one which you may safely rely upon. Since Moses had no looking-glass, how could he tell that the skinof his face shone?
Our own judgment of our own character usually errs on the side of partiality to ourselves. Nor is the evil so readily curedas some suppose, for the gift of seeing ourselves, "as others see us," is not so corrective as might be supposed. Some persistin seeing us through the colored spectacles of prejudice and ill-will. And this injustice is apt to create in us a furtherpartiality to ourselves. If other men make mistakes about us who can see us, they probably do not make such great blundersabout us as we do about ourselves, since we cannot see our own faces! The truth is that we are very fond of ourselves andhave our own characters in high esteem-therefore we are unfair judges on points of difficulty about ourselves.
Our temptation is to gross self-flattery! We dream of strength where all is weakness-of wisdom where all is folly. A man doesnot need to see his own face if that face is washed to purity-it will be enough that God sees it and approves its beauty.But I will tell you, further, why Moses did not see the Glory of his own face. It was because he had seen the Glory of God.When a man gets a clear view of the holiness of God it is all over with all claim of personal excellence. From that day heabhors himself in dust and ashes. I might have thought myself pure, but how can I be when I find that the heavens are notclean in God's sight? I might have thought myself wise, but how can I be when I read that He charged His angels
How can I speak of perfect purity as a thing of which I am possessed after I have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts? A visionof God is the quietus of boasting! He that has looked into the face of the sun is blinded to all other light. Having givenone sufficient reason, I am, perhaps, unwise to add another-but yet it may be profitable to remember that Moses had not seenthe shining of his own face because it had never once entered his thoughts to wish that his face should shine. That is truebeauty of character which comes without being sought-I mean unconscious excellence-a character which commands an admirationwhich it has never desired.
Are we not too apt to wish to be bright that others may see us? Have we not labored to grow in Grace that we might outgrowothers? Does no man pray for success in his ministry with a little squint of his eyes towards an ambition to be thought "souseful"? Does no sister ever seek the salvation of her class that she may be esteemed in the Church as a remarkable soul-winner?Did you never pray for holiness and really mean that you wished to be considered holy? Have you never prayed in public withgreat fervor with a half-suppressed wish to be thought a special man of God? Would it not have greatly gratified you to hearmen cry, "What a prayer that was"? Have you not ever labored to be humble that you might rejoice in your humility?
I am afraid it is so. We are always praying, "Lord, make my face to shine." But Moses never had such a wish and, therefore,when it did shine, he did not know it. He had not laid his plans for such an honor. Let us not set traps for personal reputationor even glance a thought that way. Another reason why he had not thought of it was that he was so much engaged in doing goodfor others. He gave himself up for those stiff-necked Israelites! He actually lived for them and offered himself before Godto die for them! He carried the whole people in his bosom as a nurse carries her child. He fed his flock like a shepherd andlike the Good Shepherd, he would have given his life for the sheep. Oh, the self-sacrifice of the man Moses!
He never thought about his own face for he was thinking about their faces. What would he have given if they had been capableof such nearness to God as he himself enjoyed! Oh, to be so absorbed in doing good that we have not a thought or a care forour own personal reputation! Then a man may do good in self-forgetfulness and may find himself famous to his own amazement!Once more, Moses could not very well have thought of his own face shining, for he had no example of such a thing to suggestthe idea. Out of all those around him nobody else's face shone. When you live with men whose faces shine, then you enquireabout yourself, for you naturally wish your face to shine like theirs.
Aaron's face did not shine. Alas, poor Aaron! Nobody's face shone in all that camp and so there was nothing to cause Mosesto look for such a radiance on his own brow. Mr. Bunyan, in his beautiful picture of Christiana and Mercy and the childrencoming up from the bath, represents the opposite state of things, for he says, "When the women were thus adorned, they seemedto be a terror one to the other; for that they could not see that Glory each one on herself which they could see in each other.
"Now, therefore, they began to esteem each other better than themselves. 'For you are fairer than I am,' said one. And, 'Youare more comely than I am,' said another. The children also stood amazed to see into what fashion they were brought." It isa great treat to see and admire the Christian virtues of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ-every Christian delights to seehis friends comely in all the Graces of the Holy Spirit. Moses had but little to gratify him in that way, especially at theperiod when he came down from the mountain and found Aaron weakly yielding to the people's sin. Even the choicest of the elderswere far inferior to Moses and therefore it was not suggested by his surroundings that his own face might shine.
It is well when men are not self-conscious. It is best, my beloved Brothers and Sisters, that our faces should shine to othersand not to ourselves. If you might know your own excelling, do not know it-for there is an ill savor about self-consciousness.To come forward and say, "I am perfectly holy," is babyish. It is like a child who cries, "See my new frock! Look at my prettynew frock!" I tremble to hear one say, "I have quite passed out of the conflict mentioned in the seventh of Romans. I havegot this and I have got that." I am reminded of Jehu, when he said, "Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord"-and yet Jehuwas not right at heart before the Lord. There is not much to see when you wish men to see it. God save us from knowing toomuch about the shining of our own faces! May the light of His Countenance fill the whole circle of our being while we lieat His feet, mastered by a reverent awe of Him!
IV. I must hasten on to another interesting point. WHY DID MOSES WEAR A VEIL? Having this brightness on his face, why didhe hide it? I answer, in part the natural meekness of the man led him to do so. He was forced into the position of leader.He never wished to be prominent, but the Lord put great pressure upon him in the desert and drove him on to be as king inJeshurun. He had no ambitions. Though made to be as God to Pharaoh, he never exalted himself in the Egyptian court.
Among the Israelites he did not monopolize power-he gladly yielded to the chosen elders a portion of his magisterial dignity.The man Moses was very meek and so to hide the brightness of his face was a pleasure and not a trial to him. Like many a lovelywoman, he shrank from the public gaze. We shall do well to possess the Grace of humility. He veiled his face in tender condescensionto the people. When they ran away from him, he called to them to know why they were afraid. "My lord, we fear that splendoron your brow." "Then, let me veil it," says he. "I would not terrify, but win." It was their fault that they could not bearthe brightness-their fault! I say again, their fault and yet he does not upbraid, nor stand upon his rights.
He had compassion on their folly as well as on their weakness. It may happen that a gracious man may be so evidently rightthat when others are offended at him, the offense is to be greatly blamed-and yet he will do well to yield in anything whichdoes not involve principle. There is a modest veiling of excellences which shows a Brother to be still more
excellent than his excellences which have proven him. Quench not the light of your sternest principle, but veil it with aboundinglove. He always sinks himself, this man Moses. The God-given Glory of his face he does not slight, nor seek to abate-but sofar as it would bring him honor from men-he puts it under a veil. That he may come closer to the people whom he loves, heis content to hide his glory. Let us also seek to bless the people and to keep in touch with them.
But, Beloved, the chief reason lies elsewhere. Why did Moses veil his face? The answer is this-it was a judicial symbol, settingforth the sentence of God upon the people. The Lord, by this token, as good as said, "You are so rebellious, so given to youridolatries, so unwilling to see that from now on you shall not see the brightness of My Glory in the dispensation of the Lawin which you live. Moses shall veil his face because the veil is upon your hearts." It is a dreadful thing when God givesmen up to judicial blindness-when He permits the veil which they have woven to abide over their minds, "that seeing they mightnot see and hearing they might not understand."
As I told you in the reading, the veil was literally on Moses' face, but spiritually it was on their hearts. From that timeon they were not to see because they had not wished to see. He that willfully shuts his eyes will find that God takes awayhis sight. If you refuse to understand, justice will make you foolish. The shadow of destruction is insensibility. The eyesare blindfolded before the fatal volley is fired. The practical warning I would earnestly apply. Do you not think we havea great many people around us-may we not belong to them ourselves?-whose foolish hearts are blinded so that the light of theGlory of God in the face of Christ is veiled from them?
Are not many suffering from veiled hearts? In your circle there is a rare man of God-you have heard of his faith- he walkswith God. Many have told you what beauties they see in his character. You cannot see anything particular in him. You, on thecontrary, despise him and avoid his company. He wears a veil for you. Here is the Bible. "O Book, exquisite sweetness!" Yourdear mother calls it beyond all things precious. Dear Soul, how her face brightens when she tells you how she has been sustainedby it in the day of trouble!
You read it now and then but you do not see anything remarkable in it, certainly nothing that charms you-the Book is veiledto you. Here is the glorious Gospel of the blessed God! You have heard us say what a wonderful Gospel it is. We have beenoverjoyed in describing it. You feel no enthusiasm. The Gospel is veiled to you. You have heard a sermon on some grand doctrine.Believers are ready to leap for joy but you are utterly indifferent. The Truth of God is veiled to you. This is a sad omenof a lost estate. The veil is on your heart and your soul is in darkness which may be felt.
Am I not speaking the truth about many of you? O my Friends, when you hear about Christ and do not admire Him, conclude thatyou must be blind! When you hear the glorious Gospel of the blessed God and it does not charm you, conclude that the veilis on your hearts! Oh, that you would turn unto the Lord! For when you turn to God, the veil shall be taken away. Oh, thatGod the Holy Spirit would come and turn you by His almighty power! May He constrain you to seek the Lord today-then shallthe veil be taken away and you shall see the beauty of the Lord Jesus in His salvation!
Here is a little prayer for you-use it often-"Open my eyes, O God, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law." Thewondrous things are in the Law-may you behold them. The Holy Spirit must take the veil away and remove the scales from youreyes-then you will see, but not till then. This is why Moses wore the veil-as a testimony that God had given them over tojudicial blindness because they refused to know His will. O Lord, deal not thus with this people!
V. I close with this question. WHAT OTHER LESSONS MAY WE LEARN FROM THE FACE OF MOSES? First, learn the exceeding Glory ofour lord Jesus Christ. HOW SO? Well, this was, so to speak, in a minor degree, the transfiguration of Moses and all it cameto was that his face shone. But when Christ came He was transfigured as to His whole Person! Not only His face shone but Hiswhole Person and His garments, also! Moses could veil his face, but the shining of our Lord could not be thus veiled for itstreamed through His raiment which became "white like snow."
The veil of Moses was, so to speak, a raiment for his face and it was able to keep in the Glory-but our Lord was wearing Hisusual garment without seam, woven from the top throughout, and the Light shone through His raiment so that He and His clothingwere, alike, bright. Nothing could conceal the Glory of our Lord, which was so great that whereas Israel saw it tremblingly,the disciples were cast into a deep sleep thereby. A word is used by an instructive commentator in reference to Christ's Transfigurationwhich expresses a forcible idea-he speaks of it as incandescence. He was all brightness and light-surpassing the mere shiningof the skin even as the sun far surpasses every form of its redaction.
The Glory of Christ is beyond all comparison-the glory which excels. Oh, that I knew how to speak of it! But I feel like Paulwhen he said, "I could not see for the Glory of that Light." It overpowers me! The Lamb is the Light of Heaven itself-whatmore shall I say? John on the rock of Patmos saw our Lord in vision and he said His "countenance was as the sun shines inhis strength. And when I saw Him I fell at His feet as dead." Moses wore a light on his face that might be covered, but Jesuswas, and is, all Light and in Him is no darkness at all. "That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes intothe world." "The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ."
Another lesson is just this. See the possibilities of Glory which await human nature. If Moses' face can shine here, I canunderstand how, in the next state, when we are risen from the dead, our bodies may be all light and bright and we ourselveslike flames of fire. "This corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality." Unless our Well-Belovedcomes quickly, our bodies will be sown in dishonor-and now I see how they can be raised in Glory. Then shall we put on "theGlory of the celestial." We shall be among the shining ones and shall, ourselves, shine forth as the sun in the kingdom ofour Father!
If the wrinkled face of the Patriarch Moses, bronzed and browned by 40 years in the Arabian desert and lined by the long faston the top of the mountain-if the dry parchment of his face could shine so marvelously-why should not our bodies be endowedwith Glory when God shall raise them, again, from the grave? As a crocus bulb looks up from the soil wherein it was buriedand boldly lifts up a golden cup which the sun fills with glory from the heavens, why should not we, also, bloom into perfection?"Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be"- any more than it did appear what Mosesshould be-"but we know that, when He shall appear"-whose appearing is more glorious than that of Moses-"we shall be like Heis for we shall see Him as He is."
Lastly, here is one more lesson. What honor God may put upon any one of us if we really put honor upon Him! My Brothers, mySisters, if you are consecrated to God as Moses was, He can give you an unconscious influence which others will be compelledto recognize. Upon your brow the heavenly Light of Divine Grace will rest! From your eyes the lamp of the Truth of God willshine! Walk in the Light, as God is in the Light, and have fellowship with Him-and then you, too, shall shine as God's Light-bearersand your whole life shall be as the star which guided the wise men to Christ! Influencing men for God, the gracious will followyou and the wicked will be awed by you, even as "Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy."
O Spirit of God, rest on every one of us according to our capacity to endure the tongue of fire! Say unto us, O Savior, thismorning, "Go forth, My Friends and be burning and shining Lights to My praise." Amen.
PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON- Exodus34:28-35; 2 Corinthians 3,4:1-6.