Moses has been described in Scripture as the most humble person who ever lived. But that doesn’t mean that he was shy or lacked courage. In fact, at a critical juncture in the Exodus when the people had disobeyed God by making a rival god in the form of the golden calf, Moses, who was a reluctant leader said to God, “If you don’t go with us from here, I cannot lead the people.” God said to Moses, “My presence will go with you.” Unsatisfied, and wanting to know this God who was leading them better, Moses said, “Please. Let me see your glory.”
Now when you think of God's glory what comes to your mind? His holiness? His righteousness? His immense and unlimited power? His transcendence? His immutability? Whatever it is that you think when you consider His glory, His response to Moses is stunning.
Here is what He tells Moses. "God said, 'I will make my goodness pass right in front of you: I'll call out the name, God, right before you. I'll treat well whomever I want to treat well and I'll be kind to whomever I want to be kind.' God continued, 'But you may not see my face. No one can see me and live.' God said, 'Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I'll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I've passed by. Then I'll take my hand away and you'll see my back. But you won't see my face.'" (Exodus 33:18-23).
How does God define His glory to Moses? "I will make my goodness pass right in front of you: I'll call out the name, God, right before you. "I'll treat whomever I want to treat well and I'll be kind to whomever I want to be kind." God defines His glory with two words: Goodness and Kindness!
His glory is to be good to you and His glory is to be kind to you. This is His character. It is why He said "I will call out the name, God right before you." God is good and He is kind and that in large part defines His glory. It is how He defined His glory to Moses.
In Matthew 11:29, Jesus defines His heart as gentle and lowly. Here in Exodus 33, the first words that God uses in Scripture to define His glory are goodness and kindness toward us. It is His disposition toward us, even when He disciplines us. He is all about goodness and kindness toward us.
And to prove His goodness and kindness along with His gentle and lowly spirit, this God who could not be seen by men and live, came in the incarnation to live among us so we could see Him and understand His amazing heart. It is in the Gospels that we most clearly see the heart of God toward us.
There are many, many things that describe God and His glory. But two of the most profound descriptors are His goodness and kindness toward us. It is who God is toward us. It is how God regards us. It is where we daily find goodness and kindness in a world that is often neither good nor kind. It is His description of His glory.
And why would this not be when He chose to die for the sins of His creatures who had rebelled against Him, including us - and offer us eternal life and full forgiveness if we believe in Him. That is astonishing glory. It is unexpected grace and mercy of the most amazing kind. In fact, It is amazing grace and that amazing grace is His glory.