Moses had a very strange request for God. Remember, this is the same man who saw the burning bush, the terrible plagues, the parted sea, the pillar of smoke and flame, and the Presence descend on the Tent of Meeting. He asked God to become visible to him. And despite all of the evidence he had seen, we understand his question. God’s answer is odd, though, “Yes, I’ll pass by, but I will only show you my back.” His back?
God gives the same response to others. Joseph was locked in prison for crimes he didn’t commit, thrown in a hole by jealous brothers, and forgotten for two years. Each time it is said that God was with Joseph. Later in his life, Joseph will remark to his brothers, “What you intended for evil, God has used for good.” It’s easy to think Joseph had some supernatural glimpse into the future to keep him going. But did he? It’s easy to see God working in the lives of the great biblical figures, but I have to wonder if they saw it, too, especially when God’s work was more subtle and less marvelous.
Look back through your life. You have moments that you can view from your current perspective and say, “God was definitely working there, and there, and there.” But did you know it at the time? I know I didn’t. I hoped during the moment, but I’m sure I was much to focused on the problem to see God’s hands working. So, in a way, when I look into the past, I see God’s back as he was constantly working in my life.
We also hear the challenge from Jesus: “Follow me.” What else would we be seeing but God’s back as we follow Him into the world as he continually renews and brings all things into His Kingdom?
Where do you see God’s back? Do you see it in your past? Do you see where he has worked? Are you watching it right now, leading into some unknown territory?