When Moses saw the revelation of God’s glory—that He is good, loving, caring, gracious, forgiving—he quickly fell to his knees and worshiped. “Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped” (Exodus 34:8).
The revelation of God’s nature overwhelmed this man. He saw how merciful, long-suffering and patient God is with His children, including stiff-necked people, idolaters and those who grieve him. Moses was so stirred by this revelation that he ran out from behind the rock, fell down and worshiped Him!
It is important to note that this is the first mention ever of Moses worshiping. Prior to this revelation of God’s glory, we find Moses praying and interceding, weeping and pleading with God for Israel, talking with Him face to face. We hear him singing the Lord’s praises on the victory side of the Red Sea and calling on the Lord at the bitter waters of Marah. And we hear his desperate cry to God at Rephidim, when the people were ready to stone him for not providing water. But this is the first time we read the words, “Moses worshiped.”
I believe this one verse tells us much about the church today. It says a Christian can pray diligently without ever really worshiping. Indeed, it’s possible to be a prayer warrior and intercessor and still not be a worshiper of God. You can plead for your unsaved children, pray for the needs of an entire church, be holy and meek in seeking God’s burden—and yet never truly worship Him!
I don’t want to add to the multitude of definitions of what it means to worship. There are already too many books published on the various techniques of worship. But, in short, I will say this: worship cannot be learned! It is a spontaneous outbreak, the act of a heart overwhelmed by a revelation of God’s glory and His incredible love.
Worship is a response of gratitude. It recognizes how we should have been destroyed by our sin long ago, incurring the full wrath of God for all our failures and faults but, instead, God came to us with the powerful revelation, “I still love you!”
At this point, Moses was no longer pleading for sinful Israel and he was not asking the Lord for guidance. He was not crying out for a miracle of deliverance, or for power, or for wisdom. He was marveling at the revelation of the glory of God!