Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 33:7-11 (NIV)
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. 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. 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.
Exodus 33:7-11 (MSG)
Moses used to take the Tent and set it up outside the camp, some distance away. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who sought God would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. It went like this: When Moses would go to the Tent, all the people would stand at attention; each man would take his position at the entrance to his tent with his eyes on Moses until he entered the Tent; whenever Moses entered the Tent, the Pillar of Cloud descended to the entrance to the Tent and God spoke with Moses. All the people would see the Pillar of Cloud at the entrance to the Tent, stand at attention, and then bow down in worship, each man at the entrance to his tent. And God spoke with Moses face-to-face, as neighbors speak to one another. When he would return to the camp, his attendant, the young man Joshua, stayed—he didn’t leave the Tent.
“Now Moses used to take his own tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting [of God with His own people]. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the [temporary] tent of meeting which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each at his tent door, and look at Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the doorway of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tent door, all the people would rise and worship, each at his tent door. And so the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his attendant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.” -AMPLIFIED
To clear up any confusion, this tent is NOT the Tabernacle that God had given instructions to Moses to build. This tent was owned by Moses. He would take the tent outside the camp proper and set it up in order that those who were seeking the Lord could come.
Let us notice a few things in this passage:
1.) The Pillar of Cloud would only come down when Moses entered the tent.
2.) The Lord spoke face-to-face with Moses as someone would speak to their friend.
It amazes me; the intimacy that Moses had with the Lord God. In Numbers 12 we can see how intimate they truly were; we find God Himself telling Aaron and Miriam they needed to be careful of how they were treating their younger brother Moses. “At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” -Numbers 12:4-8 (NIV)
Moses had a special relationship with God. Unlike other prophets, who had dreams and visions, Moses spoke face-to-face with God. God spoke clearly to him and not in riddles. God communicated with Moses; this relationship was exclusive to Moses alone; no other Israelite experienced this. Thank God that as children of God saved through Christ Jesus our Lord we now have the ability and honor to have such a relationship with the Lord Almighty. We too can speak to God as our Friend.
Lord, thank you for making it possible for me to be your friend. I know it is all because of your willingness to make a way for me to come to you that I am able to approach the very throne of God Almighty. You look at me as a friend. I have the honor and privilege coming into your very presence; approaching your throne of grace without fear or trepidation. Thank you Jesus for making this relationship possible. I am a friend of God!