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Exodus 33 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Tent of Meeting

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. 10 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. 11 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.

Moses’ Intercession

12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”



  • Read this passage, or read the whole chapter if time allows.
  • Many qualities made Moses a strong spiritual leader. He was courageous.  He sought to please God rather than men.  He was willing to take a stand.  He rallied support.  He prayed for sinners, and yet was willing to confront them.  But the secret of Moses’ greatness is found in the “tent of meeting”, where Moses met the Lord face-to-face.
  • No one knew what went on within the tent, though the pillar of cloud came down to stand by the tent door when Moses was inside. Yet the very fact that Moses met with God there instilled awe, and the evidence of God’s presence caused the people to worship the Lord.  Moses’ greatness was not his own, it was God’s.
  • We have constant opportunities to influence others. They include our children, our neighbors, and coworkers as well as members of our church.  The only way we will truly influence others is to follow the path of Moses and meet God regularly face-to-face.
  • Others won’t know what happens in our private time with the Lord. But the aura of God’s presence will go with us.  Being with God changes us – and the change God works in us is the key to our ability to influence others to worship and obey Him.



Use this hymn as a prayer for today.

Make Me a Blessing Ira B. Wilson, 20th cent. George S. Schuler, 1924

Out in the highways and byways of life, many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife, making the sorrowing glad.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love; Tell of His pow’r to forgive:
Others will trust Him if only you prove true ev’ry moment you live.

Give as ’twas given to you in your need; Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed; Unto your mission be true.


Make me a blessing, make me a blessing, Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray, Make me a blessing to someone today.