Exodus 33:12-23 – Sinai Sat Nav

this way

Reflecting and Doing

This is game is a great conversation starter for talking about guidance, and God’s plans for each of us.

You will need:

  • an open space
  • a list of directions
  • sweets
  • a victi …. volunteer

Have the volunteer stand at one edge of the space and offer them a bag of sweets that are hidden somewhere in the room. (They’re in your pocket.) Say that you have a list of directions to the sweets, and all they have to do is follow the directions and they will get to the right place.

Read out the directions quickly and tell your volunteer to set off. They will probably be confused and not know where to go. Ask what the problem is. (Knowing the whole plan at once is just waaaay too much.) Then offer to give the directions one at a time.

Read out the directions again, but step-by-step.

Move into the volunteer’s place as soon as they have gone. The directions should lead them straight back to where they started, to you and the sweets.

Sample Directions

You can use any combination that has the same number of paces left-right and forwards-backwards. Here is a sample:

  • Take 3 paces forwards
  • Turn right and take 5 paces
  • Turn left and take 2 paces
  • Turn left and take 7 paces
  • Turn left and take 3 paces
  • Turn left and take 4 paces
  • Turn right and take 2 paces
  • Turn right and take 2 paces


Have you ever ‘done a Moses’? I know I have. “God, what do you want me to do? Show me how this is going to work out?” Sadly, the neon lights pointing the way are just are rare today as they were in Moses’ time.

Moses wants to know God’s plans. And why not? He’s been given a job to do, so he just wants to make sure he’s doing it right. Sounds fair enough.

So does God tell him what his plans are? Nope. Of course not. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d really want to know either. Can you imagine seeing the whole of God’s masterplan, laid out in minute detail, like a patchwork quilt of ten thousand million billion infinitesimally small pieces – and each one linking to hundreds of others in a 3D … no, 4D … no, 25D multiplex? I think my head would explode!

So God kindly sidesteps the “Can I see the plan?”, and focusses on the real issue. “Will you come with me?” Having the full list of what-to-do-for-the-rest-of-my-life is no help, but knowing that God will go with him wherever he is – ah now, that hits the spot!

Imagine I am at the Science Museum in London (not a far stretch, I’d live there if I could) and God gave me these directions:

Walk east. 39 ft, Turn right. 0.1 mi, Turn left. 0.9 mi, Continue. 0.2 mi, Turn left.33 ft, Turn right. 43 ft, Turn left. 72 ft, Continue. 0.5 mi, Slight left. 0.4 mi, Continue. 0.3 mi, Slight left. 0.2 mi, Slight left. 0.2 mi, Turn left. 404 ft, Turn right. 272 ft, Turn left. 52 ft, Turn left. 10 ft, Turn right. Take the stairs. 184 ft, Stop.

Yeah. Great.

Chances of me getting to the right place? Pretty much zero.

How much better if he takes me by the hand and says, “We go right here, then it’s left at the bottom of the road. I’ll tell you the next bit when we get there.” And if I mess it up? No problem. He can re-calculate my route far faster than Stephen Fry on my sat -nav. (“When possible, could you turn around? Ideally, don’t do it when impossible – bless.”)

Of course, being me, I’d want to know which route we were taking … could we get the tube … what time does it close … can we call in at Buck House on the way and have a cuppa with Liz and Phil … wouldn’t it be better to go that way? It’s a good job my Lord is patient!

So having replaced the “I want to know the whole plan up front” with “it’ll be OK if you go with me”, Moses digs deep and voices the real real issue – to know God, to see his glory, to hear his name. Again, God is kind and reveals as much as Moses can cope with.

We ask the same today: to know the one who promises to walk with us over mountain top and through shadowed valley, to speak his name and to hear our names spoken, to see his glory.

God graciously shows himself as much as we can cope with, and walks with us on the journey – step, by step, by step.


(If you’re interested, the directions are from the Sci Mus to the Brit Mus, courtesy of Google Maps.)


Exodus 33:12-23 New Century Version

Moses said to the Lord, “You have told me to lead these people, but you did not say whom you would send with me. You have said to me, ‘I know you very well, and I am pleased with you.’ If I have truly pleased you, show me your plans so that I may know you and continue to please you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

The Lord answered, “I myself will go with you, and I will give you victory.”

Then Moses said to him, “If you yourself don’t go with us, then don’t send us away from this place. If you don’t go with us, no one will know that you are pleased with me and with your people. These people and I will be no different from any other people on earth.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will do what you ask, because I know you very well, and I am pleased with you.”

Then Moses said, “Now, please show me your glory.”

The Lord answered, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will announce my name, the Lord, so you can hear it. I will show kindness to anyone to whom I want to show kindness, and I will show mercy to anyone to whom I want to show mercy. But you cannot see my face, because no one can see me and live.

“There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes that place, I will put you in a large crack in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back. But my face must not be seen.”


New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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