33 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”
4 When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. 5 For the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.’” 6 So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.
The Tent of Meeting
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lordwould go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
Moses and the Glory of the Lord
12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked,because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may seeme and live.”
21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
God can and will challenge us! Even after Israel sinned with the golden calf God did not deny them the promised land. He said go, I’ll give you my protection but I’m not going to physically go with you.
“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.””
Exodus 33:3 NIV
When God‘s got a plan for us we have to get up and go! We forget things easily, like the Israelites had forgotten everything that God had done for them when they made that golden calf because they were impatient. Now God‘s aggravated, still mad. He doesn’t forget things easily. Now He wants to know if they are truly with him. Are you with me just because I’m going to supply you blessings or are you with me because of who I am? He was challenging not only Moses but the nation as a whole. If they were satisfied with that it would prove that they were only interested in his blessings and not God; If they challenged God, pleaded for his presence, not just Blessings it would show their genuine heart for God himself. The first step of spiritual restoration and Revival for Israel.
We need to separate ourselves so we can meet with God, get rid of the distractions and things that draw us away from him. Moses was an example to his people when he worshiped. His tent was set apart from the rest of them. His tent becoming a temporary meeting place because God was there, displayed by the pillar of cloud. A sign that God was present. A comfort to all who saw it. A confirmation that God had met with Moses. God and Moses had a lot of conversations. I’m sure they spoke about a lot more than what we know about. The peoples natural response was to worship too. When we pray like Moses we draw near to God. He knew it wasn’t enough to just know God was sending an angel he wanted to know whom God was going to send. Moses was being a little bit stingy and bold, but he based it on the grace that God had already showed him. God answers Moses prayer giving the promise of his presence in verse 14.
Moses really didn’t want to go anywhere without God‘s presence right there with him. He wanted everyone to know the powerful presence of their God. Other nations were laughing at them and mocking them. Moses was hungry for more of God, please show me your glory. He wanted more and more from God. God promised him his goodness and promised to let Moses see his glory as much as humanly possible.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:14 NIV
Do you hunger for more of God? Seeking his counsel and comfort?