Summary: Moses set us an example, to seek God regularly. (1) Acknowledging God’s help is a necessity of our lives; (2) Experiencing God’s presence is the hallmark of our lives, and (3)Seeing God’s glory manifest is the goal of our lives.
Moses was a man of prayer. He spent a great deal of time conversing with God.
• He knew that without God’s presence he was not worth a cent.
• Can you imagine being responsible for the daily care of two million people; for getting them out of one country and into another - on foot!
It is a mind-boggling task!
• And, if that was not bad enough, most of them spent their time complaining about their lot in life and finding fault with Moses.
• This was an ideal situation for losing your peace; yet God told Moses: ’My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’
Before the whole nation of Israel, Moses was a man of prayer.
• The nation saw him seeking God on Mount Sinai.
• And now in 33:7 “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’”
It’s a designated place where Moses meets God and converse with Him.
• Previously on Mount Sinai, God seemed far and remote.
• The people couldn’t see His presence, and soon turned to other alternatives.
• Don’t stay too far from Him. If you lose sight of Him, if you leave Him out of your mind, if you skip church for too long, be careful. We’re prompt to wander.
Now the Israelites can see Him – in a more literal and visual way.
• And they can seek God just outside the camp.
• 33:8-9 “And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents (as a respect?), watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses.”
• They can see the presence of God literally – with the pillar of cloud descending.
• And within the tent, the conversation between Moses and God takes place.
Today we need to engage our senses too, and come into God’s presence often.
• Some still rely on iconography, symbols (cross, dove, colours…)
• We engage our senses through reading, listening, praying.
• We attend services, seminars (study); listen to worship songs, fellowship with other Christians…
Today we don’t need to go to the ‘tent of meeting’ outside the camp or look for the pillar of cloud – Christ dwells within us.
• We talk to Him wherever we are, but we must engage our senses and come into His presence.
• It is helpful if we have a particular place where we meet God – to have our quiet time, to pray (like a prayer corner).
• It is necessary that we come to worship on Sundays.
In the OT, they have to meet God at the ‘tent of meeting’, later the Tabernacle (centre of the camp), and subsequently in the Temple.
This morning we’ve just read one of the Moses’ conversations with God.
We have the privilege of reading it because Moses himself recorded it for us.
• It consists of three sections (or requests): 12-14, 15-17, and 18-23.
• Each section begins with a petition of Moses in which he requests something from God, and then it ends with God’s response.
Moses’ 1st Petition [Read 33:12-14]
(1) ACKNOWLEDGING GOD’S HELP IS A NECESSITY OF MY LIFE
Moses recognises his need of God’s help.
• Even though he has successfully delivered the entire nation out of Egypt, he has not grown out of his dependence on God.
• It is obvious from the preceding passage that Moses visited the ‘tent of meeting’ often. Seeking God is a regular affair for him.
Moses’ First Petition (33:12-14)
33:12 “Moses said to the LORD, ‘You have been telling me, “Lead these people,”…
• Which is true - God has been giving Moses this command to lead Israel up to Canaan for quite some time.
• It was first given in Exo 3 when God first spoke to Moses through a burning bush.
• God may have spoken to him a couple of more times, which were not recorded.
• Exo 32:34 “Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of…”
Unlike the first call in Exodus 3, Moses was not as troubled by what he has been told.
• He was troubled by what he has not been told – “You did not tell me who is going with me.”
• We are often troubled by what God did not tell us. Pray and ask God for answers.
And then added, “…teach me Your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with You…” (v.13)
• This request was answered later on in 34:4-7.
This first request - for a helper, for guidance - is a serious matter for Moses.