PEOPLE OF THE PRESENCE
You are with me in defeat and failure, victory and success. Help me to grow through the ups and downs of life.
Read Exodus 33:7–23
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 Lord would 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 see me 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.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law’ (Psalm 119:18).
What marks us out as Christians and as churches from the world around us and other religions? For his people Moses knew it wasn’t history, prestige, philosophy, resources, morality, technology or cultural artifacts. God’s presence was the only thing that distinguished him and the Israelites ‘from all the other people on the face of the earth’ (v 16). God was pleased with Moses’ request to teach him his ways, give him favor, and for his presence to go with him. Moses’ boldness and desire to know God are remarkable (v 18). Unlike Aaron, this is a leader worth following and emulating.
Moses knew God in a way that was unique (v 11), and Joshua was greatly influenced by this. Through sheer grace, Jesus calls us his friends (see John 15:15). We know God’s favor because we are in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:1; Ephesians 2:13), who has promised to be with us always (see Matthew 28:20). In what ways could you live this out practically in your life? Show undeserving kindness and generosity to a neighbor or work colleague? Take a risk and share the gospel when you next have an opportunity? Offer to pray for someone in need?
In what ways do others see God’s presence in your life? How can you live so that they are drawn to him?
Lord Jesus, I identify with your disciples when they said, “Teach us to pray”. Lord, teach me to pray.
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