Book Review: “Show Me Thy Glory”
Written by Richard Mellowes Reviewed by Geoff Henstock
Those called to be sons and daughters of God must cultivate in their lives the character of their heavenly Father. That character is revealed to us in God’s word, very succinctly in Exodus 34, and in our Lord Jesus Christ, the word made flesh. By studying the Bible and our Lord’s life and ministry, we can develop our appreciation of God’s character and marvel at the wonder of His grace and mercy.
In Exodus 33, Moses implored God to reveal His glory and how he should lead Israel. In response, God revealed to Moses His name:
It is axiomatic from this passage that God’s glory is encapsulated in His name and reflected in His character. Also implicit in these words are how Moses should lead the Israelites and the way by which spiritual Israelites should pursue their pilgrimage to the Promised Land. “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.” (Psa 9:10).
Christ in all the Scriptures
Exodus 34:5-7 is a seminal passage. Its language is redolent in the description of our Lord: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). It not surprising, therefore, that there are allusions to this seminal passage throughout the Bible.
Bro. Richard Mellowes’ book, Show Me Thy Glory, is subtitled “An exposition of the use of Exodus 34:5-7 in all the Scriptures.” He commences by setting the declaration in Exodus 34 in its historical context. After an insightful discussion of the significance of God speaking to Moses face-to-face, Bro. Mellowes goes on to consider the term “the name.” A detailed exposition of the language of Exodus 34:5-7 follows.
Each characteristic of God revealed in the passage is expounded, as are many of the words used to illustrate God’s character. He places emphasis on how these characteristics are seen in the nature and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. As he says on page 58: “This revelation to Moses of Yahweh’s Name and glory anticipates the manifestation of the same glory in God’s only begotten son.”
Having examined in detail the text of Exodus 34:5-7, the author proceeds to consider a range of passages in both the Old and New Testament that quote or draw heavily upon that revelation of God’s name. While verbal links tie these passages to Exodus, they are expounded with due regard to their immediate linguistic and historical context.
Bro. Richard also draws out relevant links to other parts of Scripture. Intriguing examples of this are the links he sees between the words used in Psalm 145 and the ministry of Elijah and between Hezekiah and the Hallel Psalms (Psalms 111 to 118). Most importantly, he demonstrates how the passages build upon Exodus 34 and points forward (or back in the case of the New Testament) to the Lord Jesus Christ as the ultimate manifestation of God’s character.
This analysis of how specific passages draw upon the language of Exodus 33-34 reaches a pinnacle in the book’s last two chapters. Here, the author demonstrates how themes from the revelation of God’s name suffuse the epistle to the Hebrews and focus our thinking upon our Lord Jesus Christ.
Theory and Practice
By its nature, this is a work of detailed exposition solidly underpinned by linguistic analysis and the historical context of each passage. It would be wrong, however, to think of it as purely an academic tome. Bro. Mellowes frequently refers to the need for God’s servants to develop the character of their God in their lives. On page 51, in the context of discussing the graciousness of God, he writes:
God’s character is for us to imitate too.
This is God manifestation in practice, and is an important lesson to us, lest we think that God manifestation is merely an academic study. It is certainly profound, but is also practical. God’s character is for us to imitate too.
Later, on page 189, when discussing the significance of John 1 and the need for the saints to walk in the truth, Bro Mellowes observes that:
God manifestation is ultimately not an academic subject, but one that is essentially practical, and that bears on the daily manner of life of each individual believer.
God’s sons and daughters must be compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in mercy and truth, merciful and forgiving. At the same time, they must be implacably opposed to sin and all that is contrary to God’s ways. Contemplation of God’s character as revealed in Exodus 34 and other passages will foster the development of such attitudes. On page 232, under the subheading “Knowledge brings the responsibility to transform character,” and in the context of looking at 2 Corinthians 3, 4, the author says:
Since the saints have been shown that priceless glory, they have a solemn responsibility to manifest that glory and Divine character in Godly living.
Throughout the book, Bro. Mellowes shows that the passages under consideration emphasize that, while God has a special covenant relationship with Israel, His plan of redemption is directed at individuals and that each man and woman is responsible for how they respond to the grace of God. This was, he argues, the primary objective of the revelation in Exodus 34:
In revealing His glory and character to Moses, Yahweh was teaching that salvation was not to be on the basis of natural descent or the Law of Moses. Rather, it was to be based on individual faith. (page 259).
The themes addressed in this book are profound.
The themes addressed in this book are profound. Still, they also are eminently practical in that they foster an appreciation of the way of life and the salvation available to all men and women through the sacrifice of our Lord.
Prove All Things
Being a detailed work of exposition, Bro. Richard sets out the evidence on which he drew his conclusions. A feature of his style is his effort to indicate when a point made is speculative. For example, an interesting case is made for the revelation in Exodus 34 on the Day of Atonement. Similarly, he makes a case for the Mount of Transfiguration being Horeb. In each case, he acknowledges that we cannot prove these intriguing suggestions beyond all doubt.
On pages 158 to 162, Bro. Mellowes discusses the enigmatic seven shepherds and eight principal men of Micah 5:5, in which “somewhat speculatively, with the motive of stimulating further thought, some possible identities of the seven shepherds and the eight principal men are suggested.” Having put forward who he believes the seven shepherds might be, Bro. Richard acknowledges, “It has to be admitted that the case is not proven beyond doubt.” He then suggests identities for the eight principal men but again acknowledges there may be weaknesses in his case and that the names are “only suggestions.”
Bro. Mellowes wants his readers to be critical students. In the context of expounding John 1, he offers three possible interpretations of the phrase “grace for grace” in verse 16 without indicating which he prefers. It is up to the reader to decide which is most compelling—or, indeed, to suggest another alternative.
Also, some of the author’s speculations may not strike a chord with all readers. For example, on page 90, his comments about David’s mother and other women who may have influenced him early in his life may not be considered as convincing as some of his other speculations. Having said that, he is to be commended for putting forward such ideas to benefit readers willing to weigh up the evidence and draw their own conclusions. If we are to grow spiritually, we must progress beyond being spoon-fed.
Show Me Thy Glory is a detailed exposition of a profound topic, but it is accessible, and its subject ensures that it is uplifting and implicitly exhortational. It does require close attention, but the diligent reader’s effort will be well repaid.
Adelaide Ecclesia, SA
Show Me Thy Glory
An exposition of the use of Exodus 34:5-7 in all the Scriptures.
Bro. Richard B. Mellowes
Meli Publications, 2016. ISBN 987-0-9550991-7-5
298 pages. Paperback.
Available from the author at 88 Heol Trecastell, Caerphilly, CF83 1AF, UK.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +44 (0)292 0869 9398 Price: £8:00 including UK P&P. Ov erseas postage extra. Electronic edition (PDF only) £6:50.
In North America, this book is available through the Detroit Christadelphian Library (christadelphianlibrary.com)