Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” – Exodus 33:18-20
On July 4th will you go to see fireworks? Sing some patriotic songs? Clearly we in the U.S. thank God for the blessings which he’s poured out upon us and our country. And yet we also groan because of so much wrong in our country, so much activity that opposes the unchanging word and holy will of God. So perhaps we would pray, like Moses did, “God, show us your glory!”
God answered Moses by saying, “I’ll show you my goodness.” Not glory. Goodness. Why? Because sinful human beings would die if they were to see the perfect glory of God.
Instead, God – who is Love – shows us his goodness. We see it most clearly in Jesus who went to the cross to pay for our sins. What a “good” God we have, who rescued us from our sins, even paying for them himself!
And ultimately, that’s what you and I – and our country – need to see. We need to see God’s forgiving love. We need to hear that God loves us now, that God loves us forever. We need to see that God is gracious, compassionate, forgiving. Seeing God’s goodness leads us to appreciate all the more his greatness and his might.
So, go ahead! Enjoy the fireworks, the patriotic songs. But all the more, enjoy the goodness of God! Appreciate his forgiveness, his compassion, his love. Those bring real fireworks, fireworks for the soul!
Lord of the nations, I praise you for the precious inheritance of this great land.
I pray that I and my fellow citizens might ever remain mindful of your blessings and rejoice to do your will.
Bless our nation with God-fearing leaders, honorable industry and peace from our enemies.
Preserve us from violence of every kind, from discord and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every other evil.
Defend our liberties and unite us as one people. Grant wisdom and integrity to all who are entrusted with positions of authority that there may be justice and peace, law and order throughout our great land.
Equip and embolden your church on earth to make good use of the blessings you have granted by promoting your gospel in every village and city. In times of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness.
In times of trouble, do not allow our trust in your providence to fail. Amen.