What follows here may be hard to understand, but it becomes quite plain when we see the whole picture. At first God seemed simply to renew his covenant with the Israelites and promised to take them successfully into the land. He would even send an angel to go before them to ensure their safe arrival. The covenant, the same one he made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would be renewed with them and their descendants. But one key element would be missing: God’s presence. The angel would indeed go before them, but God’s own presence would not. What Israel lost in their sin was the near presence of God. The greatest priority for any child of God is to walk with God at all times so that he or she does not grieve the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 4:30) God’s words shook the Israelites to their core, and they began to mourn and strip themselves of their customary ornaments. (vs. 6) Their sorrow was heightened when Moses told them precisely what God had said. They divested themselves of these things at Mount Horeb. Moses would take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away. The tent was used to seek God’s presence. But when Moses himself went into the tent, the people watched carefully because they knew he enjoyed a unique relationship with God. In fact, God spoke to Moses face-to-face in the most intimate fashion. Subsequent men and women of God would not enjoy this kind of relationship with God. When Moses entered, the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting. During this time God spoke with Moses, and as the people beheld this, they worshiped God at a distance. When Moses departed from the camp, he left behind his faithful aide, Joshua, to stand guard over the tent. Moses asked God to clarify his relationship with him and the people. Would he go up with them personally or not? Moses wanted to know more about God, and this tells us something about Moses’ dynamic faith. Through all his adverse circumstances he grew in his faith and spiritual hunger. He wanted to know more of God’s ways so the favor of God would rest not only upon him but on his people as well. God reassured Moses that his presence would go with them. Do you desire the presence of God? Do you desire to know God, the power of His resurrection, and the suffering of His fellowship, so that you can be conformed to the picture of His death? (Phil. 3:10) When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God agreed but with certain restrictions. He would pass by Moses and proclaim his personal name “Yahweh” to him. But Moses would not see the essence of God’s presence. To see God in the sense Moses wanted involved knowing something of his person and character. God chose to display his glory before Moses, who would stand upon a rock to behold the sight. As God passed by, he would put Moses in a cave or small enclosure in the rock and cover Moses. So Moses did not see God’s face but his back. This encounter with God changed Moses even his disposition and countenance. Our time with the Lord should accomplish the same thing.
Personal Prayer Requests:
- Lord, please help me to look forward to time with you, knowing the life changing event of your presence in my life.
- Lord, please help me to demonstrate the respect that is due your character and the reverence due your presence.
- Lord, please help my countenance and disposition to show people that I have spent time with you.