“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent.”—Exodus 33:7–10 (NIV)
My wife and I have a table we always like to sit at when we go to The Grill, a local restaurant. It’s our spot, and it’s special because it’s where we meet, talk, and enjoy a meal together.
In Exodus 33, we’re introduced to the place called the tent (or tabernacle) of meeting. After the people had repented of their idolatry and turned their hearts back toward the Lord, Moses took the next step towards revival and restored relationship. He made his own tent a tabernacle where he would meet with God and the people would meet to worship God.
What is a tabernacle? It’s a dwelling place; a place to rest and call home. While on the mountain, God instructed Moses to make a tabernacle. But the tabernacle wasn't built yet. So, in the meantime, Moses—as the leader of the people, who desired for them to have intimate and right relationship with God—used his tent. He didn’t plan this ahead of time. Instead, he sought God with all he had and gave God all he had. And God used Moses’ passion and devotion to move in the hearts of the people.
This is seen clearly in the way the people responded when they saw Moses go into the tent: “Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose.” They watched to see what Moses did. When he worshipped, they worshipped. His example helped guide the people to draw close to God.
Now, I want to point out something that’s just so amazing, beautiful, and, I hope, encouraging! When Moses went into the tent, the presence of God, as seen by the people through the pillar of cloud, came to meet with Him. But for us today, meeting with God doesn’t require a specific location. We don’t need to go to a tabernacle, temple, or church to meet with the Lord. According to John 1:14 (NIV), “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Ephesians 3:17 draws a parallel to Exodus 33, declaring that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith! He who appeared in a pillar of cloud tabernacled among us, fully human and fully God, in order to fulfill the law and die for our sins so the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead could live in us! We can meet with Him any time, any place, because He has made His special table, His home, in our hearts.
And just like Moses’ relationship with the Lord served to draw the people to worship, our lives can do the same. Everywhere we go, as we carry the presence of God with us and walk in intimacy with Him, our testimony and the fruit of our close relationship with Him can be used by God to draw people to Jesus, to receive for themselves that which we have received by faith.
So, how are you leading by example? How are you worshipping Him publicly with your life?
Pause: How did Moses’ relationship with the Lord serve as an example for the people? How can your life do the same for those around you?
Practice: Consider how your life is currently serving. Is it serving to draw people to Him through your example? Is it neutral? Is it drawing people away?
Pray: Father, thank You so much for sending Jesus to tabernacle with me! Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. THANK YOU, JESUS! I cannot say it enough. Thank You for Your love and grace that has opened a way for me to live in relationship with You. Thank You for making Your dwelling place my heart. Thank You that You use me to draw others to You. May I never forget that You are with me. May I honor You with my body. May I live a life worthy of the gospel. Thank You, Jesus, for always being with me. Amen.