"As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. 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. 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."
God spoke to Moses face to face. Like a friend speaking to a friend.
Interestingly, we note that it is the LORD speaking with Moses. Moses was there, part of the conversation, but it is God who takes the initiative, God who is in the ascendancy. Well, of course, I mean He's God.
What was this like for Moses?
Well, we know that he was bold with God. Isreal had sinned, badly. This passage comes right after the incident with the golden calf. Isreal had been punished by the Levites, who killed the ringleaders and by God who sent a plague. God plans to leave Isreal, but Moses pleads on their behalf and God grants his request. God will stay and continue to mark Isreal out from other nations. Can we be bold with God? What do we need to ask for? How will what we request bring God glory?
Moses wanted more. He talked with God intimately, knew him well, but wanted to know Him better. Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
God would not fully reveal Himself to Moses, but he did let Moses see more of Himself.
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. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.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. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Exodus 33:19-23
And that's what happened.
As I was reading this, this morning, I began to wonder about Joshua. He was there in the tent with God and Moses, in fact he didn't leave when Moses did, but stayed there all the time. Did he see God? Did he hear the conversations between God and Moses? What was he doing when he was in the tent? What was this like for him? We do know that Joshua went on to be a great leader, who kept faith when all the rest of Isreal, except Caleb, coward. Perhaps this expereince in the tent had something to do with that.
We are called to seek God's face. God assured Solomon in 2 Chronicles that if Isreal strayed but then turned and sought His face he would forgive them and restore them. I think this applies to us personally, too. How good it would be to see God's face.
In I Corinthians 13:2 we are told that now we see as through a mirror dimly, but when God's kingdom is fulfilled we will see face to face. What will that be like?
Do you know a teenager who needs to know God better? Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park
will give them that chance. A quality leadership development program for high school students, the Conference begins on August 7 on the beautiful southern coast of Maine and is open to youth from all denominations or none. Our theme this year is "Face to Face"
I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge , a blog a day throughout July. But I am way behind.