Fast Devotional #11 – Your First Step

By Greg Attwells – Creative Pastor

Scripture

Exodus 33:7-11

Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.

And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.

So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.

Insight

The most common Hebrew term for ‘presence’ is panim, which is also translated ‘face’, implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord. The Greek word for ‘presence’ is prosopon, also translating as ‘face’. Today’s passage of scripture recounts an encounter Moses has with the face of the Lord.

To help us with context, the chapter before this was the golden calf episode. God was furious with Israel. He has just commanded Moses and the people to go and enter into the Promised Land. He had also said He would not go with them, lest He consumes them on the way. He promised an angel to help drive out the inhabitants of the land, but He himself wasn’t going with them.

After one of the most disappointing chapters in the story of Israel, Moses responds to the Lord by making his own tent the tabernacle of meeting and setting it up outside the camp. Everyone in Israel rose and simply watched as he met with God face to face, while they worshiped at a distance. Moses, as the leader, would to and fro from the tabernacle back to the camp whilst Joshua, his successor, simply remained at the tabernacle in God’s presence.

What would it mean for you to make your own tent the tabernacle? What do you need to do to set yourself up to be the one who has a close and personal encounter with the Lord? You can’t experience the ark (His presence) unless you first go through the gates. Psalm 100:4 tells us that we enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Praise is your first step. The people of Israel watched Moses worship, or at best they worshiped at a distance.

Who are you in this story? Moses? Joshua? The people of Israel?

Who would you like to be?

His presence is the womb of your potential. A womb is a place in which something is formed or produced. Joshua was the ONLY person in all of Israel to remain in God’s presence at the tabernacle and he became the next leader. This is not a coincidence. The presence of God changes you and forms you into who you are destined to be.

Praise is your first step.

Prayer

Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Forgive me for the times I have stood at my own tent door and refused to draw near to You. Forgive me for the times I have stayed with the crowd when You were calling me outside the camp. Give me a Joshua spirit. A spirit that will courageously go to where You are calling me in praise and worship. May Your presence change and form me into the person of salt and light You have destined me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.