-The LORD tells Moses that it is time to depart from the Sinai area where they had been venturing toward the land of promise. God had taken care of the business He needed to and would lead them out after He replaced the two tablets that Moses broke (Exodus 34). He promised he would send forth His angel to drive out the enemies of Israel: the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. This Promised Land would be a land flowing with milk and honey, the sustenance they would need to live.
-God, however, related He would not go in their midst anymore because they were “an obstinate people” and He would “destroy them on the way (Exodus 33:3).” This broke the people’s hearts and they went into mourning and gave up all their ornaments. This was a demonstration of brokenness and repentance. God did go with them and would meet with Moses face to face outside the camp in the tent of meeting. Whenever Moses would enter the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance, and God would speak with Moses. This awesome sight would cause the children of Israel to rise and worship the LORD at their own tent entrance. *Application* God again we see is in the relenting, compassionate business. He made flexible agreements with His people to stay close to them. Thank the LORD today that He will never leave us or forsake us even when we are unfaithful to Him. His love never ends!
-It is interesting that Joshua continually stayed in the tent of meeting. This was more than likely primarily a guarding occupation that he was taking up. It was a continuation of his development as a military and spiritual leader of the people.
-Favor becomes the theme as the chapter crescendos. Moses does not want to move at all unless he knows the LORD is with them by His presence. He wants to be shown the glory of the LORD in all His radiance (Exodus 33:18). The LORD does show His servant His back as He covers with His Hand until His front side passes by. *Application* God has His ways of showing us just what He desires. Even though Moses was enabled to speak face to face with his King and Sovereign there were limits to seeing the glory of the LORD. Again we see the mystery and intrigue of following this Majesty. From our perspective we will never fully comprehend His ways. They are higher than ours. However, the fact remains that He was gracious and compassionate revealing parts of Himself and giving blessing and favor and His presence to His chosen people. He will do that with us as well in an even more powerful way through His Holy Spirit in this age of the New Covenant.
Verse to Memorize: Exodus 33:13