Summary: A closer look at Moses spending time with God in the tent of meeting. A call or exhortation to believers to seek a deeper intimacy with God. This is just a few points I jotted down on the topic.
Based on Exodus 33
"Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp." Exodus 33:7
I'm assuming that you all are aware of the context of the passage, if you are not, please go the book of Exodus in the bible, it gives all the interesting details. It's in the context of Israel's wanderings in the wilderness before they were able to possess the land of Canaan. My focus is on Moses, his relationship and his interaction with the God of Israel. The word of God clearly states that no man can see God and live, because the glory of God is so great that the person will die (be consumed) if he sees God. Why would anyone die if he or she sees God? That's another topic for another day. But God says, in the book of Exodus that to Moses He speaks face to face like a friend.
I'm thinking why was Moses so unique from the rest of the folks who set out with him from Egypt? What set him apart from the rest of the people of Israel? We notice many reasons why God spoke to Moses in the book of Exodus; four things come to mind -
1. God called him and commissioned him.
2. Moses was the meekest man on earth.
3. He was obedient to God (I know there are some exceptions to that statement).
4. Moses set up a special place to meet with God outside the camp called the tent of meeting.
Without meekness of humbleness we will not see God, it's absolutely clear from various passages of the scripture. And, we know 'obedience is better than sacrifice'. But today I want to focus on the fourth point - Moses set apart a special place and time to meet with God.
Now picture this, Moses pitched the tent outside the camp (the details of how large the camp was and how many people were there and how they camped is all there in the book of Exodus), while he goes to the tent to meet with God, all the people are watching him, I do not know what is going through their minds about Moses and about God who is meeting with Moses. I wonder what is going through the mind of Moses, on one hand you have all these people watching you and on the other hand is the God who is known to be 'consuming fire' yet who knows Moses by name and shows him favor.
This is what I think - if you want to meet with God, you will have to go 'outside the camp'. While most people would prefer to stay in the comfort of the camp, you are outside the camp and all eyes are on you. It could be a church setting where all the folks in the church are comfortable playing church and the presence of God is not there any more, you sense it and you depart to seek the presence of God and meet with God, you go 'outside the camp'. Or, it could be a godly church and generally speaking all the folks are good and they want to seek God, but they don't want to go that extra mile of 'outside the camp', you go that extra mile, God will meet with you! While all eyes are watching, God will meet with you. But before that happens, you have to be bold enough to go outside the camp.
"Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people." Exodus 33:13 NKJV
Once you speak with God, enjoy His true presence, your prayers are not for yourself anymore. Now the prayer is not - give me good job, good house, nice cars, health, wealth and long life. Now the prayer is - Lord show me your way, Lord I want to know you more (Apostle Paul went further - Your cross & suffering) and Lord I intercede for Your people (Israel in the case of Moses and all believers in Paul's case). Now the prayer is - Lord if You are not with me, Your presence is not going with me, I do not want anything in this world, I'm not going anywhere without You.
After you cross this stage is when verse 17 happens - your prayers are granted.
Prayer becomes bolder, now you are asking verse 18. That too is granted in verse 20 - 23.