“Show me Your Glory”: The Utmost Cry of Every Revivalist Heart Part 2


Having repented and “stripped themselves of their ornaments,” and having set their heart’s posture to desire God’s presence more than His blessings, we see the next step in the roadmap of revival lies in waiting upon the Lord. They had genuinely confessed but they had not yet received a restored relationship with the Lord and a filling of their lives with His presence once again. Moses needed to persist in intercession on their behalf while they simply waited in faith that God would be merciful, knowing fully that they deserved only to be cut off from Him. Similarly, Christians who have confessed and repented must wait upon the Lord for the filling up of His Spirit again in our lives. To walk in an ongoing restored relationship with God means to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Steve Smith, in his book Spirit Walk explains,  “To build a life of holiness and righteousness, however, you must actively put on the holy opposite of every sin that God roots out. To be free of a sin, you cannot simply remove it from your life. Unless it is replaced by something good and holy, it will come back again, likely worse than before (Matthew 12:43-45).” The Israelite people were waiting that something good and holy – rather than the only One who is good and holy – would dwell among them and lead them once again. Moses, their intercessor and now their mediator, had work to do to make this a reality.

The Process of Spiritual Restoration

Exodus 33:7-11 describes the way Moses would commune with God on behalf of the people. Because God did not yet have a dwelling place among the people (the tabernacle), Moses would set up a “tent of meeting” through which God would “speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex 33:11). The tent of meeting was also described to be outside of the camp and God made His presence known by the display of the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent. These details are meant to show us three main things pertaining to the process of spiritual restoration. 

First, the physical separation of the people’s tent from the tent of meeting clearly shows us that a holy God will not dwell amongst an unholy people. The tent of meeting was pitched “far off from the camp” to signify that the sinful people were “far off” from a holy God.  Spiritual restoration always begins with a heartfelt acknowledgement of this reality and a desperation to close the gap. Second, to bridge the relationship between a holy God and an unholy people, a mediator was necessary – a mediator approved by God, or as it is described of Moses, one who has “found favour in God’s sight” (Ex: 33:12). To move along the process of spiritual restoration, we cannot mediate for ourselves but look to Jesus, who was appointed for us. Finally, we are to see our helplessness in the helplessness of the Israelite people who had but to wait upon and trust the mediator to appeal to the mercy of God. 

In their story, the process firstly involved the Israelites who “sought the Lord” to exit their own camps and wait outside of the tent of meeting. Next, they would rise up and watch Moses enter the tent and bow in reverence and worship as they watched the pillar of cloud descend. And then they waited and watched some more.  The watchfulness of the people was a watchfulness of expectation, with a burning to know what the will of God was for them.  In this case, they waited and wondered whether they would be restored to God or cast off forever.  

These three facts about the process of spiritual restoration are applicable to us as well. If there is any indwelling sin, we too are “far off” from the presence of God. As such, we are also in need of a mediator who is approved by God and until the mediator completes his work, we are helpless but to wait for the decision of God. 

We are also in need of a mediator who is approved by God and until the mediator completes his work, we are helpless but to wait for the decision of God. 

Waiting Humbly Upon the Mediator

How sweet it is then, that for us,  the mediator to stand in between us and God is none other than Jesus, our High Priest. Imagine the infinitely better mediator that Jesus is than Moses because Jesus appeased God’s wrath with the shedding of His own blood. We must take the same watchfulness as the Israelites as we await our restoration with God. We must recognize that any right to experiencing God’s presence again hinges on the mediator, a mediator whose blood “speaks a better word than Abel” (Heb 12:24). Further, because Jesus is our mediator, Hebrews 4 indicates that we get to take a step further than the Israelites. We need not wait outside the tent of meeting, we wait before the “throne of grace” (Heb 4:16). In our time of need, surely God’s grace and mercy will pour out upon us and surely we shall be spiritually revived.

Spiritual revival, personally and ecumenically, begins to happen when we follow the same humbling path that the Israelites have taken thus far. It begins with intercession and  leads to confession and an active repentance, casting off the means of idol worship. Then, the path leads us to stop striving in any attempt to self justify and instead wait up on God to respond, while trusting our mediator, Jesus. As we wait, God continues to create the conditions for spiritual renewal and finally with decisive action, He pours out His presence upon His people. It may be that during a time of waiting, the hiding of His presence continues to weed out more areas of sin to be confessed and increases the burning in our hearts to be His people again.


As mentioned, confession and repentance are only the first steps towards spiritual revival.  Spiritual revival always begins with being “saved from” and is followed by being “saved to.” Those first steps empty us of idolatrous proclivity and instead fill us with expectant desire for His presence instead. However, that desire for His presence and the full restoration of a relationship with God must be initiated and fulfilled by God himself; it is why we wait upon Him for a pouring out of grace.  In this story, we now move to Exodus 33:12-16 where we are taken into the tent of meeting and given an insider’s view on Moses’ ongoing intercession for the people with God. In this dialogue, we see God discern the heart of the people, represented by their mediator Moses, and gain insight into the heart conditions necessary for spiritual revival. 

 As a spoiler alert, God does eventually relent from forsaking the Israelites and He renews the covenant relationship between them and Himself. What exactly did Moses say to the Lord? What are the conditions of the heart God is looking for? 

The desire for His presence and the full restoration of a relationship with God must be initiated and fulfilled by God himself; it is why we wait upon Him for a pouring out of grace.

The Heart Conditions Necessary for Spiritual Revival

 Moses declared two statements that moved the heart of God towards compassion. The first is in Exodus 33:12-14 where Moses said, “if I have found favour in your sight, please show me your ways, that I may know you in order to find favour in your sight.” Upon initially reading this, it is easy to be confused because it sounds like cyclical reasoning. Essentially, Moses is asking God to help him understand and walk in God’s ways more fully such that he can continue to enjoy God’s favour. In other words, Moses knows the only way to continue in God’s favour is to know God and His ways and then to keep walking in them. There is no receiving of God’s favour without knowing God and obeying His ways. Somehow many of us expect blessings from God without regularly spending time reading His word or communing with Him in prayer. We desire to know His will for our lives without knowing who He is in our lives and what claim He has over us. 

Moses’ request is the cry of the revivalist heart, which asks God not for anything else but more of His presence and to know His heart, His person, His ways and then to walk in it. Moses wisely adds that this is not only his own heart’s cry but the cry of the entire nation. He says, “consider too that this nation is your people.” In other words, the nation has demonstrated that they do not want a promised land without the presence of God - they also want to know God and His ways in order to continually enjoy His favour. 

God responds, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Ex 33:14). To this, Moses responds with another statement that further shows his desperation for God’s presence to go with them. In Exodus 33:15-16 he says, “Is it not your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” Moses and the nation desire their identity to be wrapped up in the God that they worship. They desire that their distinction from others is the presence of God amongst them. They desire much more to be known as the possession of God than the possessors of Canaan.  So too it is with Christians who desire for the Lord to move in great power and bring about spiritual revival. They want to glory in their identity in Christ more than their victories and successes on earth. They want the surrounding nations to know not their own greatness, but the greatness of God. And God will get the glory. 

From Moses’ dialogue with God, we gain insight into at least two conditions of the heart that bring about spiritual restoration and revival. The first condition is the cry of the heart to know God and God’s ways more for the continual enjoyment of His favour. The second condition is the earnest desire to be distinct because of the presence of God in your life. In other words, it is to glory in Him only and to give Him all the glory. 

The Outcome of Being Spiritually Restored

To a people who are waiting upon the Lord with those two heart postures, God says to them: “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” Is it not beautiful, that spiritual revival means resting in the presence of God and continually enjoying His favour? It is clear that spiritual revival is not about the busywork of church programs, optimising strategies, and measuring the metrics of church growth. Spiritual revival means deep seated enjoyment of God and walking with Him in right relationship as we were meant to have as Adam and Eve had in the garden of Eden. The most effective means of evangelism and bringing revival to our world will be the daily embodying what Moses petitioned for – God’s presence with us; and us rested and satisfied in Him and continually experiencing His favour.

Reflection Questions - Part 2

After confession, you may not immediately feel God’s presence. As you wait upon Him, fill your time and life with Scripture, prayer, worship and fellowship. As per the quote mentioned above from Steve Smith, what “holy opposite” are you putting on as you wait? 

As you wait and if there seems to be a longer period of waiting, is there more sin that God is trying to weed out? Consider using this list. 

Do you see yourself in need of a mediator with God? Why is Jesus far superior to Moses to reconcile us to God? Reflect on how amazing it is to have Jesus as your mediator (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 2:17, 4:14-16, 7:25, 8:6, 9, 12:24; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). 

The two heart conditions necessary for spiritual revival seen in above are: (a) a deep desire to know God and His ways (b) a desire to have your identity be distinct because of God’s presence being with you (ie: to glory in God for the glory of God). 

Are these heart conditions true of your own heart? Pray for God to soften and quicken your heart. 

What steps can you take to know God and His ways? It is not enough to be a hearer only but also a doer of the Word – if you know God’s ways, are you walking in them? 

What would others say is distinct about your identity? What are you known for? Does what you are known for reflect a heart that glories in God for the glory of God?

The fruit of spiritual restoration is described by God here as: “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” Are you experiencing the rest of God that comes by being in His presence? How would you describe to another about the nature and experience of the rest received by being in His presence versus the rest received from other pleasures?

Categories: Encouragement