When I read those verses earlier today, I was struck by what they said. Especially in comparison to something I've often heard prayed or sung in church.
God made it pretty clear to Moses that seeing His glory was a big deal. And God provided for Moses to see just a glimpse of it.
By this point in the story of Israel, we know that Moses is a man who talks with God. Moses and God have a close relationship. Yet, even Moses, still cannot see the full glory of God.
We sing songs. We pray. We ask to see God's glory today. I wonder if we do it with a full realization of what we're asking.
The way we relate to God has changed from Moses' day because of Jesus Christ. But, Who God is has not changed. God's glory today is as powerful as God's glory in Moses' day.
That means we need to take it seriously when we ask to see God's glory. It doesn't mean we can't ask. We definitely can (and should) ask. But it does mean we should be conscious of what we're asking for.
God protected Moses from seeing more than he could handle seeing by hiding Moses and covering him with His hand. God allowed Moses to only see His back after He passed by. And that was enough.
When we ask to see God' glory, we may only see a glimpse of it after God has passed by. But that's enough. It's all we need to see.