Text :Exodus 33:18-23 “And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. (vs19) And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. (vs20) And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. (vs21) And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: (vs22) And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: (vs23) And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 34:29-30&33-35 “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 wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.(vs30) And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.(vs33) And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. (vs34) But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he commanded.(vs35) And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The Pulpit Commentary, Vol.1,Pages 377, comment on Exodus 34:29. “Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him--- His face “shone”---literally, “shot out rays”--- as we say irradiated, became radiant. Notice: THE CAUSE OF THE PHENOMENON. “Talked with him.” Self had been forgotten in communion with Jehovah, in hearing him and attending to his utterances. It is from such communion as this that the radiant countenance results. 1. What The Communion Is. God is a Spirit. Communion must be spiritual. The fleshly face cannot directly reflect spiritual light, that light “which never was on sea or land.” Spirit is kindled by spirit, the human by the Divine, when spirit meets with spirit and realizes the sympathy which exists between them.
2. What The Communion Does. The illuminated spirit, reflecting God, kindled into brilliancy by his light, cannot but shine out through the fleshly envelope which shrouds it.[Illustration: as opaque porcelain shade to lamp, so is the body to the spirit; light the lamp, illuminate the spirit, and the shade, in either case, becomes radiant.] If you would have a happy face, a radiant countenance, you must first have an illuminated spirit. That can only be gained from the Fount of light in and through communion with God.”
II. UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF THE SUBJECT OF THE PHENOMENON. “Wist not” His face was radiant, but Moses knew nothing of it. His mind was so full of God that his attention was drawn off from all thought of his appearance. Notice:1. “All sincerity forgets egotism.” (F.W. Robertson). Attention is a fixed quantity; to fix it on God is to draw it off from self [cf. a lock on a river; open the flood-gates of communion and the level of self-love is soon lowered]. 2. Radiancy Cannot Be Obtained By Trying for It. If aim in prayer is to increase self-glory, it cannot succeed. God first; God all in all; then comes the illumination, and the light flows forth. Self lost in God [cf. wick saturated with oil] before we can ray out the light of God. How many selfish prayers are offered, and the countenances of those who offer them are often anything but radiant! The puritanical cast of countenance repels by its gloom rather than its brilliancy. The best prayer is that which rises from communion; which seeks first, as in Christ’s model prayer, that God’s name may be hallowed, and his kingdom come, and his will be done, before going on further to seek satisfaction or personal needs. CONCLUSION.--- Do you want to have a radiant face? The best way is not to think about it. Lose self, as Moses did, in communion with God; then your face will be radiant, though you know it not.”