“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.” (Exodus 34:29-30)
The covenant had been broken by Israel with the golden calf, so it had to be renewed. Moses again ascended Mt. Sinai where the Lord inscribed two new tablets with the 10 Commandments to replace the ones he had destroyed in his zeal for the Lord. Moses was up on the mountain for a long time in which he beheld God’s glory. He was so filled with that glory that his face shone with a glow. When he returned to the people he had to veil that glow. The people did not want to see that light. They were afraid of God because they knew that they could not keep the Law. They could not stand to be in God’s presence. They could barely stand to be in the presence of their mediator, Moses because of the Lord’s reflected glory on them as they were rebellious and hard–hearted.
Perhaps we feel the same way the children of Israel felt when we come into God’s presence. We behold His glory in worship and in His Word which constantly remind us of our sinfulness, how far we fall short of God’s glory. Perhaps for this reason many people do not attend church. They think they are not sinners so they do not want to be told that they are. And yet they miss out on basking that glory of God and receiving the blessings of faith. We who have faith in Jesus do see our sinfulness but we also see God’s infinite mercy and compassion as we are reminded of His forgiveness in the liturgy, especially in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. There is no veil obscuring God’s face from us.