Introduction and Prayer
The children of Israel have just paid the punishment for their crime against God. God wanted His children to faithfully follow.
God continues to seek relationship with us as He extends love and forgiveness despite the repeated rejection by man.
Read Exodus 33:1
1The Lord said to Moses, “Get going, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I told them, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’
What happened just before God told them to get going?
When you do wrong or make a mistake, are you the type that is ready to immediately get back up again?
Why do we sometimes feel like we have to improve our performance before God will use us again?
Why does God mention Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? [God is confirming the promises He made to these families.]
Read Exodus 33:2-3
2And I will send an angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 3Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I did, I would surely destroy you along the way.”
Why is the location described as “a land that flows with milk and honey”?
The angel went before the Children of Israel.
Read Exodus 33:4-6
4When the people heard these stern words, they went into mourning and stopped wearing their jewelry and fine clothes. 5For the Lord had told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and fine clothes while I decide what to do with you.” 6So from the time they left Mount Sinai, the Israelites wore no more jewelry or fine clothes.
How do we feel when we find out that someone doesn’t want to be around us?
How do you think these people felt when they found out that God didn’t want to be too close?
Have you ever had a season that you didn’t feel close to God? What was the reason?
Moses would go into the Tent of Meetings to meet with God while the people watched from a distance.
Read Exodus 33:9-11
9As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10When the people saw the cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they would stand and bow down in front of their own tents. 11Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.
When we read this description of God’s relationship with Moses, what can we learn about the type of relationship that God desires with us?
What is significant about the people bowing down in front of their own tents? What does it reveal and how can we apply that to our lives?
Moses asks the Lord to give him insight and knowledge to understand God better. He desires to know who will be escorting them on this journey across the desert.
Read Exodus 33:14-16
14The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” 15Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
What does this verse tell us about God’s design for relationship with mankind?
How does this verse reflect our relationship with God today?
How does God’s Presence set us apart from other people? What is it about God’s Presence in us that makes us so different?
How are we any different from devout Hindus or Mormons who are moral, loving and respectful members of a community?
Read Galatians 2:16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” While others may lead a “good” life, what makes Christians different is the why. We live like Christ, not in an effort to earn favor with God, rather, we live in a particular manner in response to what Christ did for us! And we can live like Christ because of the Spirit of God in us.
Read Exodus 33:17-20
17The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” 18Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” 19The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. 20But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Why is it important to us that God knows us by name?
What is it about God that prevents us from being able to look into God’s face and live?
Think on This:
The Children of Israel had a unique relationship with God in that God lead them with clear, physical signs. They could actually see the cloud and the pillar of God leading them in the wilderness. Why is it that many of us feel that we don’t hear or see God leading us with that type of clarity?