One of my summer jobs in college was running an automatic turret lathe, producing metal parts for engines. At the end of one evening shift, I misread a gauge and ended up producing about a hundred piston housings that were good for nothing but the scrap pile. I dreaded going to work the next day and having to face my boss. I kept my head down, fearful to look him in the eye.
This passage occurs following the Golden Calf incident (Exodus 32). Moses returns with a replacement set of the two tablets of the commandments. Moses' righteousness put the people to shame, and they dared not even look him in the face. It can be a fearful thing to own up to one's sins, but one of the things Moses shared with them from the LORD was this: "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." (34:6)
Lord God, I thank you that you are gracious and merciful to me. Help me be able to forgive myself for these things that I have not yet let go of. Amen.
Exodus 34:29-35 (NRSV)
29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.
30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him.
31 But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them.
32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face;
34 but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded,
35 the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.