Exodus 33:1-3, 12-20
Focus Statement of Sermon
Despite past transgressions of the Hebrew people, God is faithful to his promise, sending them to
the promised land.
Function Statement of Sermon
To declare to born again Christians that your past is not greater than God’s promises, see that
God has something for them in the next season of life.
You can be so exhausted, by what lies behind you — that you fail
to hear someone call your name — to move onto the next
You may be a little slow on this first Sunday of the New Year. —
I’m not talking about catching a flight, I’m talking about life. —-
That you can be so exhausted by your experiences — so tired by
your trials – so fatigued by your failures and everything that you’ve
gone through – so preoccupied with what was — that you miss the
call of God — to move into a new season of your life.
You can come to this place this morning — on this first of 52
Sundays — and you can say Preacher, I’m tired. — Last year has
wore me out.
I’m tired by the funerals that I didn’t think I would have to go to, —
I’m tired because of the stress on my job that I did not forsee. —
I’m tired because of the bills that I didn’t think I would have to pay.
Tired because of the residential move that I had to make.
Tired because of the friends that stabbed me in the back.
Tired because of the relationships that hurt my heart.
Tired because of all the mess that I’m going through with my
Tired of all the stuff that I had to go through last year — that when
January 2017 came – I never saw myself having to endure some
of the stuff that I had to go through last year. — I’m tired.
It’s been a rough year — It’s been a long year — It’s been a year
full of ups and some downs. And don’t be naive. — Even
blessings have a way of tiring you out.
And with these ups and downs — You can be so frustrated with
what lies behind you — so tired by what you have experience — so
burden by what you’ve had to carry — that you can miss the call of
God to move into a new season of your life.
Some of you are here this morning — it was such a rough year —
that if the truth be told — you really don’t have an expectation —
that this year is going to be any better. — The weight of burden
has been so heavy -the struggle has been so hard -the journey
has been so long — that you are asking — what is going to make
tomorrow so different? — You don’t believe that God has
something better in store for you.
If I’m preaching to you — and I know I have about 5 of you right
now — you need to hangout in exodus 33 for just a little bit. —
Now if I can teach Bible this morning, I want you to catch this
because this is deep, so make sure you get it — Exodus 33 is
preceded by Exodus 32. —-
And when you read 32 you will find that 32 gives us one of the
lowest moments — in the history of the Children Israel — and their
relationship with God.
To understand how low they sunk in chapter 32, you have to go
all the way back to chapter 14. In 14 the Lord has brought the
children of Israel out of bondage from Pharaoh in Egypt. — that’s
chapter 14. — But by chapter 16, they already complaining — they
already want to go back to Egypt. God is already fed up with
them — and its only been two chapters.
God puts up with them up to chapter 19 — in chapter 19 God
gathers the people at Mount Sinai — and it is there that God
through Moses begins to speak the rules of the covenant that will
establish relationships between the Children of Israel and God.
So it is in chapter 20 that God gives the 10 commandments — it is
there that God puts a prohibition on idolatry and the worshiping of
false Gods. — It’s here that God establishes rules for relationship
in theft and murder and sexuality and property -God is now giving
them the rules that will hold them in right relationship with HIM –
and at the top of the list He says -You shall have no other God
And just to make certain — that they don’t forget what He said —
in chapter 24 — God summons Moses to the summit of Sinai —
with two tablets that God is going to write what he just said.
Don’t miss this — to make certain they don’t miss the law God
calls moses to the top of sinai — so he can write on the tablets the
law he just gave the people. — Moses goes up with Joshua — and
he leaves Aaron down to monitor the people.
By chapter 32 — the Israelites say “Mo” been too long.
And they persuade Aaron — to make a golden calf — that they
then begin to bow down and worship.
While Moses is on Sinai — the people are down worshipping idols
and false images.– And God taps Moses on the shoulder and
says “Look what your people are doing.”
Moses and God gets into a debate — about whose people they
really are. — God says look what your people are doing — Moses
says God those are the folk you brought out of Egypt -those are
your folk. -God says “no they belong to you — Moses says no they
belong to you — and they go back and forth about who these stiff
neck folk belong to.
God sends Moses down the mountain — when Moses sees them
worshipping the false golden image — he cast down the tablets
that God has written on — and the wrath of God is release. — And
the question is asked – WHO IS ON THE LORD SIDE?
The levites answers the call — and in God’s anger — the Levites
are commissioned to kill 3000 Israelites who had violated the first
commandment of the law —
and after the 3000 are killed -a plague is released from God —
that weighs heavy on the people -to convince them -that God aint
playing with you.
That’s chapter 32.
Then in 33 — God says to Moses — Now y’all make your way -to
the promised land. —
Don’t miss that. -In chapter 32 – they are carrying the burden of
their sins — in chapter 33 God shows up — and says make your
way to the promised land.
In the 33rd chapter — God — is opening the door -to a new day –
for them to move from where they been -to where he is calling
them to go. God is turning the page — of the chapter of their
story. -God is creating a new possibility for them -despite how
sinful they were yesterday. -God is creating new opportunities –
despite of their shortcomings. -God has shown up -and put them
in a New Year’s Eve and said tomorrow -I want you to walk -into
the next season of your life. ——-But — here’s the problem —
they are so traumatized — by chapter 32 — that they can’t see or
sense God calling them to chapter 33.
Don’t miss this–They are so burden by what they have gone
through — that they can’t really discern what God is calling them
to. — They are so stuck in their yesterday — that they can’t see
God opening the door on tomorrow.
They’re carrying the burden of the deaths they’ve witness. — The
burden of the disobedience they’ve committed against the Lord. —
The burden of the pain they’ve endured. — the broken relationship
with Moses -and they are stuck in their yesterday — and cannot
hear God say — it’s time to move on.
This ought to resonate with somebody’s life — because you know
what it is like to be so exhausted by your past experiences — that
you really can’t discern God calling you — to something new -as
the sun dawns -on this new year.
You are so weighed down spiritually, and physically, and
emotionally, and financially by the experiences that you’ve had to
go through –that you can’t really see that God is calling you to
What makes this year different? -Why would 2018 be different? –
You’ve been in this thing for 12 months now -it’s been rough for a
long time, -the money hasn’t been right -the friends haven’t been
there -the heart has been hurting -and you are at place where it’s
hard to believe and conceive that God could be calling you to
something different. -And you’re tired by what you’ve been
And I’ve came by — to find you — sitting at the wrong gate — with
your mouth wide open — getting some good sleep —
cause you tired of where you’ve been —
to tap you on the shoulder — and to declare unto you — that if
God lets you wake on tomorrow — that I declare that
tomorrow begins the next season of your life.
Can I preach right here?
God did not bring you to January 7th – for you to just go
through the same old stuff — God has brought you through
dangers both seen and unseen — that he might open a new
door in your life — And God is ready — to usher you — into the
next season of your life.
Hear this admonition – DON’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITIES OF
this new year.
Now, in order to capitalize on what the Lord is doing Brother
Shelby — in order to really see what God wants to do in your life —
God shares with the children of Israel 3 things I pass on to you.
He says first of all — I want you to know that your past is not
greater than God’s promises.
Let me try that again — whatever is in your past, is not greater
than God’s promises in your life.
3rd time’s a charm — God’s promises are always greater than
Watch the movement of the text — chapter 32, they’ve had a bad
day. Chapter 32, they’ve let God down. —
Chapter 32 they’ve failed God. — Chapter 32, they’ve broken the
covenant — Chapter 32 they had to witness death — Chapter 32,
they threw their money into something that wouldn’t last — chapter
32 their relationship was broken — chapter 32 they’ve done wrong
— chapter 32 they dropped the ball.
And Then God shows up — in verse 1 – of chapter 33 -and says
go to the promised land.
Here we go — chapter 32, they messed up — chap. 33 go to the
promised land. — Chp. 32, they dropped the ball — chap. 33, go to
the promised land. — Chap. 32, they did wrong — chap. 33 go to
the promised land. — Chap. 32, they messed up REAL bad — but
in chap 33 -God says -even though you messed up yesterday —
I’m still going to take you — to the place I promised — because I’m
so much God that if I said it . . .
Can I preach on this 1st Sunday morning?
Bible… says . . . . Rom. 11:29
Bible says .. Prov. 19:21
They found out what somebody knows from your own journey –
that when you have failed — God is still faithful — that when
you’ve messed up, God is still merciful — when you have fallen
low — God is forever loving. — And know matter what your past
has — it does not automatically disqualify you — from what the
Lord has prepared for you.
Let me tell you what some people on your row were quiet right
there — because some folk in here — will deny — that in 2017 —
you had some chapter 32s. —
I know, I know — you know what your old self love is now — you
sanctified — and some folk are so holy and you have never done
anything wrong -but there are about 7 of us in here -that can
declare that this wasn’t my best year with God.
I’ve let God down. — I’ve fallen short of God’s word– I didn’t do
what God called me to do -but WAIT! – here’s the shout! — in
spite of how wretched I was — God was still — faithful to me. — He
still did what he said — he still made a way out of no way — in
spite of my wretchedness.
Somebody in here knows — that in spite of how low you fail — he
still supplied all your needs — in spite of how wrong you were — he
still kept you — in spite of all the mistakes you made — he still
worked all things together for good — in spite of how low you fail —
he still walked with you through the valley of the shadow of death
— in spite of the hole you dug for yourself — he still lifted you out
and planted your feet on solid ground. — Because we serve a God
— that is faithful!
I feel like preaching right here -I need somebody who can look
back over last year — and point out some mistakes you made —
and see the blessings God gave you — and declare that God is -a
He’s been good — in spite of my past. ——–
I want to teach a little Bible real quick. — What the children of
Israel found out — is what I want to impress upon you. — They
experienced the wrath of God — in chapter 32 — only to turn
around and experienced the mercy of God — in chapter 33. —
Here’s what they found out that messed them up — that the wrath
of God — is but for a moment. — but the mercy of God — I wish I
had some Bible readers — the mercy of God — endureth —-
(gone and preach my sermon) forever!
That when you weigh out God’s wrath — and God’s mercy —
God’s anger — is but for a moment.
Ok, ok, let me teach Bible. —– I am convince more and more
that often when we quote scripture, we quote it out of correct
context. — So one of my favorite scriptures that I realized we
quote out of context is Psalms 30:5 -you don’t have to look up –
you know it. — Weeping may endure for a night . . .
Bro. Tabor, we quote that at funerals — we quote that in hard
times. We quote that when things are not going well. -weeping
endures for a night by joy comes in the morning. — that’s sounds
good, but it is out of context -because the beginning of Psalms
30:5 says this — his anger endureth but a moment; his favour
is for a lifetime — therefore since his anger is but for a moment —
weeping only endures but for a night — but since his favor lasts
forever — joy will come in the morning.
And if the truth be told — there is somebody on Jan. 7th 2018,
who can wave their hand and let you know — that the only reason
I’m alive right now — is because his mercy — endures forever.
Oh you want to act like you’ve never done anything wrong —
There’s some of us that can declare — I’m here — because his
mercy endures – forever.
Bible Says — Lam. 3:23
The Bible says, 47 times — that whenever you see the phrase —
HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER — it is preceded by the
phrase -Oh Give Thanks —-
That when you recognize– that the mercy of the Lord — has been
working in your life — Oh give thanks — unto the Lord – for his
mercy endures forever.
You don’t need anybody to make you stand up and shout —
all you got to know is that the mercy of the Lord is working in
your life — and you ought to be able to give God some
Now, Because his mercy endures — watch what God tells them. —
He says to Moses, because my promises are greater than your
past — he says leave this place — and go to a land flowing with
milk and honey.
Okay you got your shouting in — here comes the quiet.
The Lord says, in order to move into your next season, — you got
to leave this place. — you can’t stay in this set of emotions. — That
if you really want to move into a new day -watch it -Let it go.
Whatever they said, let it go. — However much it hurt — let it go. —
If they hadn’t apologized and you don’t have closure —- let it go.
Cause hear the word of the Lord — He doesn’t just call it the
promised land — (v.3) He says the land that is flowing — with milk
and honey. — So you go to make a decision. — Do you want to
hold on to the hurt — or do you want some milk and honey?
Do you want to live in what hurt you — or do you want to pursue
something that God has in store for you — that’s better than what
you’ve been through?
Okay, uh — a few years ago – I took my sons to see the movie 12
Years A Slave – great movie — and in the beginning of 12 Years A
Slave – we saw a trailer or preview for movie Star Wars: The
Force Awakens. — this is after the Empire’s defeat, a new threat
arises in the militant First Order. Stormtrooper defector Finn and
the scavenger Rey are caught up in the Resistance’s search for
the missing Luke Skywalker. — Great movie. —
So when we left 12 Years A Slave — I asked both my sons what
they liked about the movie. — Antonio says, I liked the way he
Solomon, never gave up on reclaiming his freedom and how he
struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity in the
midst of a bad situation. —
He captured some great lessons from the movie and I was glad
he got it. — I looked at Damone and I said what part of the movie
you like best -he said, Star Wars is coming out!
I said, boy we been watching 12 Years A Slave for 2 hours — and
all you can think about is the sneak preview of what you saw on
the front end — because sometime when you get a sneak preview
— it will excite you more of what you are going through!
Can I give you a sneak preview of 2018?
All things will work out for your good! — My God shall supply all
your needs — We will do greater things in 2018 — God will open
doors, that no one can shut! — the old self is coming off — the new
self is coming on. — I got a preview of the year that’s coming.—I’m
excited– about this new year.
He says, you got to know — your past is not greater than God’s
And watch the second lesson — if you want to move in your next
2 You have to PURSUE GOD’S PRESENCE in an
In other words — you have to hunger for God in ways you never
Because whatever level of devotion and discipleship you had in
2017 — is going to be insufficient for the next season that God is
taking you to.
Watch the text – in verse 12 and following – Moses is worried —
because God says — I’m going to send y’all to the promised land –
- but I ain’t going with you because y’all are some —- stiffneck
folk. — And if I go with you — I might do something to you. — So
I’m going to send some angels out — and he’ll handle everything.
Moses argues back with God and says let me make this real clear
— if you don’t go with us — don’t send us up from here. — If you
don’t walk with us defeat is inevitable — if you don’t journey with
us — we will never be successful.
The one thing Moses has learned — that I pray you picked up from
your journey through this past year — is how very badly– you
need the Lord — everyday — of your life.
Somebody found out last year — you’re not smart enough — to see
your way through. — You’re not strong enough — to carry the
burdens of your life. — You don’t have enough money — to buy
your way out. — You don’t have enough friends — to pull you
through. — You learned in 2017 — you need the Lord — everyday –
- of your life.
Bible says — John 15:5 – I am the vine you are the branch he
that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much
fruit. But without me you can do nothing.
I know you are a big baller — you climbing up the corporate ladder
— life looks pretty good to you right now — but allow me to tell you
that if you keep on living — you’ll find out how very badly you need
the Lord — everyday– of your life. — somebody can say amen
Ps. 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
Momma use to sing — I need thee –O — I need thee. Every hour, I
That seasoned saint use to sing — father I stretch — my hand to
thee — no other help I know — if thou withdraw thy hand from me –
- whether shall I go. — I need the Lord every day of my life.
Moses says listen, we can’t make it — only hungering for God the
way we have in the past. —
This next season of your life — you can’t make it only giving the
Lord a 30 second prayer while you in the shower — on your way
out the door.
This next season of your life — you can’t make it — leaving your
Bible in the seat of your car on Sunday after church and picking it
up in time for Sunday school next week. – This next season of
your life –you can’t make it only worshipping God when you don’t
have anywhere to go that weekend.
-This next season of your life — you can’t make it just showing up
to Sunday morning worship and bypassing Bible class on
Sundays and Wednesdays. — If you really want to move into the
next season of your life — God says you got to hunger for me
-and thirst for me -and desire my presence -like you never
1 Your past is not greater than God’s Promise
2 You have to Pursue God in an Unprecedented Way
Watch the 3rd thing God presses upon the children of Israel.
3 You have to recognize the glory of God in Peculiar
Watch what Moses says — (v. 18) – Lord show me your glory.
Lord show me what you can do. — Lord work a miracle right here
and right now. — And God tells moses, no. — He denies Moses a
glimpse of his glory. — Now that’s a word Sis. Palmer because
every now and then — I want God to show himself strong — God
do that God thing you do. — Heal that sickness. — Handle that
lying tongue — Open that door. — Make a way out of no way -God
do what you do — and says no. — I will not show you my glory.
Why does God — deny –a glimpse of his glory? — Part of the
reason — is that Moses asks to see a glimpse of his glory -as
proof of God’s presence. —- He’s been arguing, I want go unless
you go with me — when God says he’ll go, Moses says show me
In other words — God reveal your glory –so I know you are with
And the reason that is such a good place to hangout — is because
we’ve all been there. — Where we want God to do something to
prove he loves us. —– God heal momma. — God give me this job.
— God change him. — God work this out.
And we say that we don’t pray that prayer for proof — but here’s
what happens when God tells you no — you doubt God’s reality.
Many of us in here knows of someone who doesn’t believe in God
because they prayed and God didn’t show them the glory they
were asking for — so they walked away -believing -God wasn’t
The reason that is so important — is because at some point in this
new year — you’re going to ask God to do something — and his
answer is going to be– No.
Lord fix this — No. — Lord bring me out of this — no. Lord change
the diagnosis — no. Lord repair the relationship — no. —
And in that moment -it is so easy to be devastated by God’s no —
- that you miss what God said to Moses.
Moses, I may not do what you want me to do — I may not do what
you ask — I may not move the way you want me to move — but I’m
still going to show you how real I am. –Watch what he tells
I may not show you my glory, but here is what I am going to do. —
I‘m going to set you on a rock — now if you read your Bible too
fast — you will miss your shout. — because in the Bible — the
language of being set on a rock — is the language of being stable
in the middle of a storm. — i feel like preaching right there….
Bible says, in Psalms 27:5 – In the time of trouble . . . he will set
me high upon a rock.
Bible says, in Psalms 40:2 — he sets my feet on solid ground.
Bible says, in Matthew 7:25 – build your house on the rock — for
when the storms come.
The old saints use to sing — on Christ, the solid rock I stand.
So when the Lord says, I’m going to put you on a rock – he says, I
may not give you the new car. — and I may not heal your momma
or your baby — I may not bless you with a new job — but I’m
going to make you so stable — that when all hell is breaking
loose around you — you will still . . . . (grab the pit)
That God will keep you, when everything else is falling
around you. — That’s a good place to wave AMEN.
He kept you — in your right state of mind. — He kept you —
with Joy in your heart. — He kept you — when life was falling
apart around you.
Touch somebody and tell them he’s a keeper.
He says, I’m going to set you upon a rock. And Moses — the
problem — is that you are sinful — and my glory is Holy. And my
holiness cannot intersect your sinfulness — and you live.
That’s why God says no one can see my face and live. — because
I’m so holy — that my holiness will kill you in your sin.
But–here’s what I’m going to do. There’s a cleft in the rock — and
when my holiness comes by — not only will I put you in the cleft —
but I will cover you — with my hand — so that my holiness -does
not kill you — because not only will i keep you, but I will cover you.
I wish I had some former sinners in this place — who know that
the Lord covered you this year. — He covered some mistakes —
He covered some mess — the Lord covered some errors. — He
covered you and did not expose you.
I wish I had some folk, who could pull out their review of 2017 —
and say there’s some stuff you don’t see — because the Lord
covered me. — The Lord protected me — the Lord kept some stuff
from coming out — touch your neighbor and tell them the Lord
He says to Moses, you’ll know I’m real because I’ll keep you —
You’ll know I’m real because I’ll cover you — and watch what he
says. — I’m going to put you in that cleft — I’m going to cover you
with my hands — i’m going to make my goodness pass by — and
when I take my hand off of you — you’ll know I’ve been there.
I’m going to pass by — and when I take my hand off of you — and
when you open eyes — and you look around — you’re going to
know — I’ve been there.
3rd time’s a charm — you may not see me, — but you’re going to
know I’ve been there — when you see what’s around you —
For somebody that’s a good point for you to acknowledge that
God is real — because every morning when you wake up — and
you see what’s in your house — and you see the clothes in your
closet. — and you see the food in your pantry — and you see the
car in the driveway — you ought to know — that God — has been
When you look around you — and you see the spiritual
relationships you have — and you see that you are now a
Christian — and you see that you have some spiritual diet to
strengthen you — you ought to know — that God — has been
Is there anybody here — that can declare — that me being in
church — on January 7th 2018 — is a sign — that God — has been
I’ll keep you. I’ll cover you. I’ll bless you. Watch what he says and
I’m done– when you look — you’ll see my back.
I’m going to make my goodness, pass in front of you — and when
you look — you’ll see my back.
I’m going to cover you, I’m going to keep you — and when you
open your eyes, you want see my face — you will see my back.
Now why am I going to see his back — because the Lord says, I’m
not going to where you been — you going to see my back —
because I’ve already gone — where you are heading.
That wherever I’m going, the Lord has already — been there. —
That’s some good news. — Tell somebody he’s been there.
Whatever January has — he’s been there. — Whatever Feb. has —
he’s been there. — Whatever is in the fall of the year — God has
already been there.
So you ought to change your attitude.
Come on hard times — it’s alright. — Come on tribulations– it’s
alright. — Come on chemotherapy — it’s alright. -Because
whatever I’m going to — God’s been there.
Just nudge somebody and tell them -God went before you– he’s
So here’s a word for somebody — you can’t stay where you are
because God has already passed by this place. —
If you want the next season you have to follow where he’s already
gone — into your future into your tomorrow — so that you have
nothing to worry about — you have nothing to fear.
We serve God that goes before us.
1 Your past is not greater than God’s Promise
2 You have to Pursue God in an Unprecedented Way
3 You have to recognize the glory of God in Peculiar