This chapter finishes off the golden calf story (myth, whatever, how ever your viewpoint.), the tent of meeting, & Moses & the glory of God. Now this glory of God isn’t when Moses came down from the mountain top & he had to cover his face because it was so bright. No, no. This glory of God is when Moses said he wanted to actually see God & like see Him, His body, His physical form. But God says “Nope. You get to my…butt.” Yep, God moons Moses! I hope y’all enjoy the read!
God tells Moses to leave the place the Israelites were camped out at & to go the land that God had promised Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob/Israel. God then proceeds to tell Moses that an angel would go before the Israelites to drive out 6 different people groups. (Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites (this one surprises me because the Hittites were so nice to Abraham, selling him the grave/tomb that many generations of the Israelites were buried.), Perizzites, Hivites, & Jebusites. Most of these people groups have been mentioned already, in previous chapters of Exodus & in the book of Genesis.) God tells Moses that this land is flowing with milk & honey. Moses is also informed that God won’t be going with the Israelites, pretty much because they don’t know how to listen & God lets it be known that if He’s with them, for even a moment, that He might destroy the Israelites.
When the Israelites where told of this (that God wasn’t going to be going with them part), they began to mourn. No one put on any “ornaments.” God let Moses know that He will decide what to do with them & to not put on any ornaments. So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb. (Yes, Mount Horeb is still in existenc. It’s an actual geographical location. Google it!)
Moses used to take a tent & pitch it outside the camp, a bit away from the camp. Moses called it the “tent of meeting.” Anybody who wanted to inquire of God would go to the tent, located outside of the camp. (This was important! God didn’t just hang out in the middle of town, He’s God. C’mon.) Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the Israelites, all of them, got up & stood at the doors of their tents. They watched Moses until he entered the “tent of meeting.”
As Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down & stayed at the entrance of the tent, all while God talked to Moses. Whenever the Israelites saw the pillar of cloud at the entrance of the tent, they stood & worshipped. Everyone just did it at the door to their tents. God would speak to Moses, face to face. They talked like a man speaks with his friends.
Moses then would come back to the camp. But Joshua, the son of Nun, didn’t leave the tent. (I’ve always thought that this was awesome. Joshua got to stay in the tent where God came & chilled, here on Earth.)
Moses then says to God that God’s been telling him (Moses) to lead the Israelites to the “promised land” & that if he (Moses) found favor with God to teach him God’s ways. God told Moses that God’s presence would go with Moses & that God would give Moses rest.
Moses continues the conversation with God. Moses tells God that if God’s presence didn’t go with everyone to not make them leave the place they were camped at. Moses gives the reasoning to God that if He leaves that how could the Israelites be different than anybody else in the world, that the Israelites would just be like everyone. And how would the Israelites know what God wanted them to do. God tells Moses to relax, that He would do what Moses asked because God was pleased with Moses. The text also says because God knew Moses by name.
Moses asks God to see his glory. God tells Moses that he’ll cause all his “goodness” to pass in front of Moses. God then tells Moses that He would proclaim His name, God, in Moses’ presence. God then proceeds to tell Moses that Moses can’t see His face, because no one has seen His face & lived. God then says to Moses, “There’s this place near me where you can stand on this rock. When my glory passes by you, I’ll put you into the cleft in the rock you’re standing on. Then I’m gonna cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by you. Then I’m gonna move my hand, you’ll be able to see my back. (Everybody thinks this is where God moons Moses. But it doesn’t say that God was naked. Or if He had clothes on. Either way, it doesn’t say.) But my face shan’t be seen.” (You can also check this out in First Timothy 6:16.)