In Exodus 32 to 34 we read of a difficult situation Moses encountered. Alone on Mount Sinai with God, the ten commandments written on two tablets were committed to Him. Meanwhile, trouble had broken out on the plain. The people had made a golden calf and worshiped it. This provoked God to great displeasure and He said to Moses: “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.” (Exodus 32:7-10 NKJV)
When Moses saw that God's wrath was stirred against His people he entreated God for them, then went down to deal with the situation on the plain. Thereafter he ascended the mount again and in obedience to God's command hewed two stone tablets like the first which he had broken, and with these in his hand he went to the top of Mount Sinai where God made a solemn proclamation, And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)
At this point, it would have been most appropriate for Moses to bow down and worshiped God: but it was after the second part of the proclamation that he did so, and the second part was totally different from the first. The earlier part spoke of God's compassion, and grace, and mercy and forgiveness; but the latter was this: "Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." (Exodus 34:7 NKJV) It was when God had proclaimed His awesome majesty and holiness that "Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped." (verse 8). It is not merely grace that stirs worship; if we are to be worshipers of God we need to know His holiness.
So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” (Exodus 34:8-9 NKJV)
Comparing verse 8 and 9 of Exodus chapter 34, Moses first worship, then prayed. He first acknowledged the sovereignty of God's ways, then he seeks God's grace. He does not beseech God on the ground of His compassion, and grace, and plenteous mercies, and readiness to forgive to reverse His decision. Our prayer would be like that. We are always trying to persuade God not to do what He has said He would do. Moses was different. He took his right place before God and bowed to His ways.
Beloved, have we been guilty of asking God to do what we knew was contary to His ways of working? Have we sought Him to forgive a certain brother and cease to chasten him even when we knew that His dealings with that brother were right? That is not worshiping God. How often our prayers amount to requesting God to change His ways! Without considering His ways we just open our lips and ask Him to remove the pressure here, the sickness there and the domestic problems elsewhere. To pray after this fashion is seeking grace and ignoring the ways of God. Prayer is the expression of our will but worship is the acceptance of God's will.
How we need to learn from Moses! God made His ways known to him and seeing His majesty and holiness, he fell down before God and worshiped. He did not reason with God about the consequences of God visiting their iniquity to the third and fourth generation. Let us not only learn to accept God's will and do His work, we must also learn to acknowledge His sovereign ways and accept all that He does are for His own good pleasure. This act of Moses is the ESSENCE of True Worship!