He Hideth My Soul

 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Then 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.”

Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

–          Exodus 33:17-23


A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

  • Refrain:
    He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
    That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
    He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
    And covers me there with His hand,
    And covers me there with His hand.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away,
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
And filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God!
For such a Redeemer as mine.

When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I’ll shout with the millions on high.

–          Fannie Crosby, He Hideth My Soul


This section of Scripture is bizarre.  Of course, when you read the prophet’s descriptions of God’s Glory, including the Apostle John in Revelation, they speak of strange things regarding the presence of the Almighty.  Yet, in this conversation, God tells Moses that no one sees His face and lives.  Then He places Moses in the cleft of a rock, covers him with His hand, and Moses sees God’s back.  Add this to the Exodus 34 testimony of Moses’ face glowing, frightening the Israelites, and it seems even more odd.  Yet, our first encounter with God will be beyond any words that we could express here on earth.


Yet, Fannie Crosby, who was blind, saw better than most when she studied this passage.  When Moses was in the cleft of the rock, covered by the very hand of God, Moses was safe.  Although she could not see, she saw rivers of pleasure.


In her second verse, she says that He takes her burdens away.  At this point in the Exodus narrative, Moses needed some help with the burdens heaped upon him.  Exodus 32 is the story of the Golden Calf.  God starts off Exodus 33 saying that an angel will go with them to the Promised Land, but He, God, is totally fed-up with His chosen children.  I suppose each of us parents could think of a time when we felt that way with our children, but they are still our children as the Israelites are God’s chosen people.  The chapter starts off with God not wanting to travel with the Israelites and ends with Him revealing Himself, albeit in a small way, to Moses.


In the middle of Exodus 33 is the establishment of Moses’ routine.  He went to the ‘tent of meeting’ to meet with God.  The Israelites would watch to see when Moses emerged from the tent.


There are at least three lessons, in broad general strokes, to be learned from Exodus 33.  God can become angry, but we can reason with Him as Moses did, making sure we repent.  We each need our ‘tent of meeting’, that place where we can go to just be with God, letting the distractions of the world fly by – if only for a while.  And God is something so wonderful that if we took God in and absorbed everything at once, we would die.  We are broken vessels, but as God works in our lives, protecting us in the cleft of our own little rock, we grow in faith, getting closer to Him.  As we grow, we can see just a little more of the wonderful love, understand the perfect salvation, and we’ll shout our Joy along with the millions on high.


Soli Deo Gloria.  Glory to God Alone.


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