Exodus 33: Moses Sees the Lord Again

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 55


Because the children of Israel broke their covenant with the Lord by worshiping the golden calf, they made themselves unworthy to have the Lord’s presence with them. The Lord did not abandon His people, however. Even though the children of Israel could not be in His presence, in Exodus 32:34, the Lord promised that His angel would go with them to the promised land. Exodus 33 contains stories that show the difference between the Israelites’ relationship with the Lord and Moses’ relationship with the Lord. This difference should lead us to ask ourselves if we desire and will seek the Lord’s full blessings or if we will just let the prophets and other Church leaders have significant spiritual experiences. If we desire the Lord’s full blessings, what must we do?

Understanding the Scriptures

Exodus 33

Depart, and go up hence (v. 1)Leave the place you are in 
Tidings (v. 4)News 
Ornaments (vv. 4, 6)Decorative clothing and jewelry 
Tabernacle (vv. 7, 10)A tent. (This is not the tabernacle described in Exodus 25–27; 30.) 
Without (v. 7)Outside 
Carry (v. 15)Lead 
Gracious (v. 19)Kind and compassionate 
Clift (v. 22)Split 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Exodus 33.

Activity A iconWhat Did They Lose?

  1. 1.

    Find the word the Lord used in verses 3 and 5 of Exodus 33 to describe the children of Israel. You may want to highlight it in your scriptures. What does the word symbolize?

  2. 2.

    According to verses 7–11, what blessings did the children of Israel lose because of the attitude described above?

  3. 3.

    Write a brief example of how someone today could lose great blessings because of this same attitude.

Activity B Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Exodus 33:11

Some nonmember friends do not believe the Joseph Smith story of the First Vision because they believe the Bible says man cannot see God. They may read to you Exodus 33:20. Explain how you would answer them using Exodus 33:11; JST, Exodus 33:20; and two other Bible scriptures showing that man can see God. You may need to use the study helps in your scriptures. Write the references you find in your scriptures next to Exodus 33:11.