Summary of passage: The tent of meeting was pitched outside the Israelites’ camp. Whoever wanted to inquire of the Lord would go here. Moses would go inside the tent and the pillar of cloud (God) would descend and the Lord would speak to Moses as if with a friend and all the people would worship when Moses was with God. Joshua stayed behind at the tent.
3a) The Israelites had lost their privilege of having God amongst them when they formed the golden calf. God punished them by removing Himself. Hence, God had to remain separate since He is holy and the people are not.
b) They worshipped whenever God was present.
4a) Moses didn’t see the face of God, but God’s presence descended and Moses spoke with God.
b) Personal Question. My answer: When we ask Him to. When we come to Him in prayer. When we beseech Him. Whenever we want, God will speak to us. We only have to be willing.
Conclusions: I jumped up and down at this lesson! Short and sweet! Emphasized how we all can approach God and be with Him if we are only willing. Great lesson on choosing God and Him meeting us when we do so. Yay, BSF!
End Notes: In the ancient world, places of worship were built outside of towns. God had desired to change this until the sin of the golden calf. Furthermore, by placing the tabernacle outside of the city, those who truly wanted to meet God had to go out of their way to do so. It was an act of separation. God’s people had to be separate. They had to choose Him. We can assume some of the Israelites did not do so.
Moses set a strong example for the people. When he worshipped, so did they. This is what leaders do.
Moses had a special relationship with God. He didn’t see God’s face for John tells us no one has (1 John 4:12), but Moses heard God clearly and “sees the form of the Lord” (Numbers 12:8). It is clear Moses is special. What an amazing honor!
I see two reasons for Joshua staying: 1) To guard the tent. 2) He was so moved by the Lord’s presence that he did not wish to depart. He yearned for God and by staying at the tabernacle he was as close as humanly possible to God’s presence. I believe we all have this yearning and why we are all drawn to church wherever we are–to be as close to our Maker as possible.