Exodus 33:1-6 The command to leave Sinai / Stiff necked people
Even though the Israelites had done wrong and were stiff necked and stubborn people. God still kept his promise that he gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But instead of leading the Israelites himself he sent an angel to lead them into the Promised Land.
God said that they were stiff necked people and that if he visited them they would be consumed. God wanted to see if they were repentent for being disobedient and told them to remove their ornaments as a sign of repentence.
Very often we too are stiff necked and go back on our commitment to God. However, God doesn’t treat us as we deserve but treats us with love and compassion. We should never take advantage of God’s mercy and grace. If we are truly repentant we would stop doing the things that offend God.
Exodus 33:7-11 Moses meets with the Lord
Moses pitched his tent outside the camp, away from everyone else. This tent was the tabernacle the meeting place. The place where he met with God. After meeting with God, Moses would go back to the camp. But Joshua the son of Nun remained at the tabernacle.
To meet with God and hear from him we need to get away from all distractions. When you get into the presence of God then don’t rush away as soon as you get what you need. Don’t come just to do business, stay to discuss with God the matters of the day and then go. But dwell and live in God’s presence and enjoy his company. Joshua stayed in God’s presence because he loved being there. Ultimately it was Joshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land and not Moses.
Exodus 33:12-23 The promise of God’s presence
Moses questions God and asks God for guidance to remain in his presence. God says his presence will be a guide and give rest. However, Moses can only see as much of God’s presence as God will allow because otherwise the glory of God would consume Moses to death.
God knows what we need to fulfill his purposes and will always give it to us. Should we ask from God for more of his power and for his Holy Spirit? Yes we should, we are encouraged to ask and receive and to desire greater spiritual gifts. However, God will give to us as he sees fit, we can not make demands from God.