“Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Exodus 33:11
First Love | Jonathan & Melissa Helser
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The story of Moses is one marked by powerful encounters with the presence of God. Moses was a man anointed by God to fulfill God’s heart for his children to be free from captivity and safe under his lordship. From birth, Moses was divinely set apart to lead God’s people back into right relationship with God. And this calling was fulfilled because of God’s desire to consistently meet with Moses and show up through his life in miraculous ways. In looking at the life of Moses, two types of encounters with God stand out as especially transformative and illustrative of God’s heart to meet with his people. As we look at these two examples of God meeting Moses, may Scripture fill your heart with a desire to meet with your heavenly Father as Moses did.
First, Exodus 3:1-6 gives us insight into the first real encounter Moses had with the Great I Am. Scripture says,
Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
In the story of the burning bush, we see God’s grace and divine favor on the life of an undeserving man. Moses had fled the scene after murdering an Egyptian for assaulting a Hebrew man. For years he had been hiding in the desert, living outside of any real earthly impact. But God called Moses out of the wilderness into a life of deep, eternal impact.
Second, we see God’s heart to consistently meet with Moses in the Tent of Meeting found in Exodus 33:7-11. Scripture says,
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
How incredible is the heart of our God that he would meet with Moses “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” If God would meet with Moses, a man who has not been redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus, how much more would he meet with you and me? If God would show grace to Moses, how much more available is grace to us who now have God himself dwelling within us!
You and I have access to relationship far greater than a face-to-face encounter like Moses had. We have God’s Spirit within us fellowshipping with our Spirit. We never have to leave the burning bush or the Tent of Meeting. True restored relationship finds its source in continual, unending encounters with God’s presence dwelling with us and upon us.
May you pursue the greater portion of relationship with your heavenly Father today. May your Spirit come alive as you grow in your awareness of God’s Spirit. May you have powerful, transformative encounters with God’s presence likened to that which Moses experienced.
1. Meditate on God’s desire to meet with Moses. Allow Scripture to fill you with a longing to meet with God as Moses did.
“When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said, ‘Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ And he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” Exodus 3:4-6
“When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.” Exodus 33:9-11
2. Where can you make your tent of meeting? Where and when can you consistently encounter the presence of God and meet with your heavenly Father face-to-face?
3. Take time to meet with God as Moses did. Open your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal his nearness.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17
Having a consistent time and place to meet with God allows us to develop a rhythm by which we grow in experiencing God’s presence. To have our own Tent of Meeting is vital to Christian spirituality. Choose a place and time that won’t get disrupted and will help you center your life around meeting with your heavenly Father. There is absolutely nothing more important or pressing than seeing the face of God and being transformed by his love and nearness every day.