As Moses steps into the role of mediator between God and the Israelites, we see an example of what Jesus has done for us. We'll also understand why God loves Moses so much, and grants his request for mercy toward the Israelites.
As we pick things up, we're in the middle of the fallout of the infamous golden calf incident, the Lord offered to wipe out Israel and restart the plan through Moses and his family. But Moses loved the people that God had given him to lead so much that he pleaded with the Lord on Israel's behalf.
He interceded for Israel and the Lord granted Moses his request. Israel had to deal with a plague sent by God as one of the consequences of their rebellion. And at the end of the previous chapter, at the end of Exodus 32, we learned of another consequence.
God would send an angel to guide Israel through the wilderness to the promised land.
But his presence would no longer go with them. Let's pick things up at that place. In Exodus, Chapter three will dove in at verse one. Then the Lord said to Moses, Depart and go up from here. You and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob saying to your descendants, I will give it, and I will send my angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amal right.
And the Hittites and the parasite and the heavy and the Gibby's. I go up to a land flowing with milk and honey, for I will not go up in your midst lest I consume.
That means literally lest I destroy you on the way.
For you are a stiff necked.
You're a stubborn people.
God says what Israel has done is so egregious, it's so awful that if my presence comes among Israel, I'll have no choice but to destroy everyone because Israel's wickedness is so extreme, my presence simply cannot be around it. Now, if you've been around the Old Testament for a while, you'll know that whenever the text refers to the Angel of the Lord, it's talking about Jesus. Now, even though many of your Bibles will capitalize the AI of Angel in this verse, it's a bit of a mistranslation because this angel is not Jesus.
In fact, the original language renders it an angel rather than my angel. Ditto for Exodus 32 to 34. We know this because if it were Jesus, then God's presence would still be going with Israel. Right. But from what God himself says and from the reaction of the people, it's clear that this angel is not Jesus, he's not God. The people of Israel know this, which is why they respond like this in verse four.
And when the people heard this bad news, it wouldn't be bad news if the news was that Jesus was going with them. When they heard this bad news, they mourned and no one put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, say to the children of Israel, you are a stiff necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you now. Therefore, take off your ornaments, take off your jewelry that I may know what to do to you.
So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb. The most likely explanation for this command regarding jewelry is that God was saying you should be in a state of mourning and grieving over your sin. Nobody should be getting dressed up nice and going about business as normal. And that leads us into our first fill in on your outline.
What we're seeing here is the reality that God's holiness. Cannot coexist with sinful rebellion, God's holiness, his presence cannot coexist with sinful rebellion. To be more specific, God's holiness cannot coexist with our sinful rebellion, because if you haven't picked up on it yet, we are the Israelites in this story. Yeah, it's us. Isaiah, 53 six declares the truth. All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way.
Every one of us was born a sinner. Every one of us rejected Jesus in our own way. And every one of us who is a believer has sinned in egregious ways, even long after we understood the seriousness of our sin. It's a serious problem for every person that God's holiness cannot coexist with our sinful rebellion. How serious of a problem? Serious enough that Jesus, the only begotten son of the father, came to Earth as a man to solve it.
Because we couldn't and it cost him his body and blood and life. Jesus was our mediator, he bridged the gap between us and God at the expense of his life and the telegraph where we're going, Moses is going to step into that role for Israel.
But if you're not a Christian, you need to know this. You have an appointment coming up that you cannot avoid. A day is coming when you will stand before God and you do not want to stand before him as a rebellious sinner. You need a mediator, you need a mediator, and the only one who can fill that role is Jesus. Let's read together in verse seven. Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting.
So just understand that the the actual tabernacle has not yet been constructed in our chronology. They've received all the instructions on how to build it, but they haven't actually built it yet, Moses says.
I want to meet with the Lord and I know where the Lord isn't. I know where he's not going to be right now.
He's not going to be among the camp of Israel. So I better move my tent far from the camp if I want to meet with the Lord. 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 a nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. There's a lot here we could talk about, but I want to highlight four different people in four different groups in these verse is. So we read about Moses. You wanted to speak with the Lord, commune with the Lord.
And Moses understood that in order to do that, he needed to get away from the sin of the camp of Israel. This is a reminder that for us, even under the new covenant, there's a connection between experiencing God's presence. And holiness taking sin seriously, would you write this down? There is a connection between experiencing God's presence and walking in holiness.
So when I talk about experiencing God's presence, I'm talking about feeling that real sense that he's near you, having an almost tangible encounter with God where you can sense his presence.
There's a connection between that and walking in holiness. Yes, we're covered by the blood of Jesus. Yes, our sins are forgiven past, present and future. Yes, we're going to heaven if we've placed our faith in Jesus. But that does not entitle us to live however we please and expect God to bless us with his presence in our daily lives.
If a man were blessed with the most faithful and committed wife in the world, he would still be a fool to think he could treat her like garbage and still expect to enjoy a wonderful friendship with her.
If you're a believer, the Lord is with you, but if you want the experience of his presence in your daily life, then you need to take holiness seriously. If you're watching this today and you'd say, man, I just don't experience God's presence like other Christians seem to, let me just ask you, are you taking holiness seriously or is there sin in your life that that you're not fighting anymore, you're just enjoying it and allowing it to be at home in your life?
Don't be fooled. There's a connection between holiness and experiencing God's presence in your life. The next group we see are the Israelites who who saw what Moses was doing and said, I need to be as close to God's presence as I can. And so they got up and they made the journey with Moses. They walked with him far from the camp in order to be closer to God's presence. And their actions are more notable because of how they contrast to the rest of Israel who stood in their doorways and watched as Moses left the camp and then worshiped at their own tents.
These were the Israelites who didn't want to be on God's bad side. They had enough sense to say, well, let's not test the Lord any further. They're like people today who want to make sure that they get into heaven, but they don't love the Lord.
They don't love the Lord. They don't love his presence. There's no passion for the Lord.
And it's interesting to me that a very, very similar scenario is playing itself right now out in many, many different churches due to covid-19 believers are being faced with choices like going to church at an inconvenient location outside, where it's probably always going to be too hot or too cold or the chairs are uncomfortable with it were the sound probably isn't great and the floor might sometimes be muddy or staying at home at their own tents in their PJs or sweatpants where there are snacks and you can watch the service online in the comfort of your living room.
There's no question which choices easier, more comfortable and more convenient. But those who show up for services in person do so because they want to be as close to the presence of God as they can. They want to be where the people of God are, where God is moving. Among his people were the worshipers are.
They want to be where the spirit is moving. I know some people are in situations where they can't physically join us, but if you can do it, do it. I know covid is wearing us all down. I know we're all tired. But but church, my exhortation to you is the same as it's always been. Be zealous for the Lord, be zealous for the Lord, the zeal I'm talking about is the difference between knowing about God. And actually knowing God.
In a church like ours who who loves the word, this is always a danger, we can break down exegete and dig into the text, we can memorize the scriptures, we can learn all the answers.
We can listen to tons of messages, watch videos and read books about the Bible, all without ever actually entering in and experiencing God's presence. We can just stay at our own tent and say, I know all about God's presence.
I've studied it extensively. Be zealous for the presence of the Lord. The invitation is not simply to know about him. The invitation is to know him. And then lastly, we see the ultimate example of zeal for the presence of God. Joshua loved the presence of God so much that he simply didn't leave.
He didn't leave. I love that about Joshua. And most of us miss this little detail in scripture and in life.
Before, Joshua was the mighty warrior who led Israel through the Promised Land and had a book of the Bible named after him.
He was a man who loved the presence of the Lord so much that he stayed in it as long as he possibly could. That's true, Joshua was first, and men especially, we need to hear this Amen Amen, I need to hear this. Great men, great men, great husbands, great fathers, great leaders are formed in the presence of God.
Jesus told us this when in John 15, he said, guys, listen, if you just focus on abiding in me staying close to me, you'll be a fruitful person. And apart from me, you can't do anything. Write this down, truly great men and women are formed in the presence of God, they're formed in the presence of God.
When I look at these four men and groups of people, I'm reminded of a simple truth. Every single one of us is as close to God as we want to be. Every one of us is as close to God as we want to be. Every man had the choice to stay at their tent or make the journey with Moses far from the camp. Those who made the journey experienced more of God's presence and Joshua experienced even more because he stayed as long as he could.
Every one of us is as close to God as we want to be, spend some time thinking about that further this week, Verse 8 12 than Moses said to the Lord, See, you say to me, bring up this people. But you've got let me know whom you will send with me yet you've said I know you by name. And you have also found Grace in my sight. So Moses says, you're leaving me to lead these people without you, without your presence.
And you think some random angel is going to suffice in your place. How can you possibly claim that I found Grace in your sight if you're going to leave me Verse 8 13. Now, therefore, I pray if I have found grace in your sight, show me now your way that I may know you and that I may find grace in your sight and consider that this nation is your people. God, there's only one way that I'm leading your people and that's with you, with your presence.
Because they're your people. They're your people. Verse 8 14 and he that's God said my presence will go with you and I will give you rest in the original text and language. The phrase with you is not included and you should actually cross it out in your Bible. So what God actually says is my presence will go and I will give you rest.
And I believe this translation is correct based on the response we're going to see from Moses in the next two verses.
When God refers to you there, when he says, I'll give you rest, he's referring to Israel collectively, not just Moses. We know this from multiple other scriptural references to you when the promise of rest in the land is being given by God. So to summarize all these these little academic points, God is saying here, I'm going to give Israel the promised land Moses, because I promised I would. I'll get you there. I'll give you the land.
But my presence is not going to dwell with Israel anymore. It's not going to be among Israel anymore. So what God does. By saying this is is he throws out the question, the question behind the statement. Is it really me that you want Moses? Israel, is it really me that you want or is it what I can do for you that you want? Is it freedom and prosperity that you really want? And I'm just the ticket you need to hold for a while to get those things.
And you kind of get the feeling that most of Israel would have said, well, as long as you crush our enemies and give us the promised land and bless our lives in material ways, we're kind of fine with your presence is with us or not.
You see, God is asking he's asking Moses in Israel, is it the prosperity gospel that you want or is it me? Is it me? Verse 8 15, then he that's Moses said to him, If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that your people and I have found Grace in your sight? Except you go with us, so we shall be separate your people and I from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.
This is why Moses was such a great man, this is why God loved him so much. Moses says, Lord, listen, if your presence isn't going to go with us, then just let us die right here at Mount Sinai. Because without you. It's all meaningless. Who cares if we make it to the promised land if we don't have you? Life is pointless. We don't care about being a free people or a prosperous people. We care about being your people.
When God looks at Israel, he saw a people who thought they didn't need him. A people who thought he could be replaced by an idol of a golden calf, but but when God looked at Moses, he saw a man who was incredulous at the suggestion that he and Israel could go on without the Lord's presence. And man, that just blessed the heart of God, I just love Moses's heart here so much because he asks rhetorically for how then will it be known that your people and I have found grace in your sight, except you go with us.
In other words, Moses says, how will the rest of the world know that we're the people of God? If your presence doesn't dwell among us, how will they know? There are plenty of other answers that people could have given, they could have said, well, Moses, a few clues that were God's people might be our miraculous deliverance from Egypt, the entire Egyptian army being drowned in the Red Sea after we walked through miraculously on dry ground or are prosperous growth as a people God protecting us from our enemies, our Sabbath, which is a distinct concept, our feasts, which are different to the pagan nations, are prosperous flocks and herds.
But Moses says, no, this is no, listen, forget all that stuff at the end of the day, the thing that makes us God's people. Is got. It's God, it's his presence among us. Nobody else has that and nobody else can have that. Would you make a note of this? The presence of God differentiates the people of God from the world. The presence of God differentiates the people of God from the world. There's so much more I could say about this, there's so much I could say about how Western churches try to attract people with community music, nice buildings, seemingly oblivious to the fact that you don't have to go to church to find those things.
The one thing the church has that nobody else has. Is Jesus, it's Jesus. So so if people come to our churches, let's make sure they experience the one thing they can experience, no one else.
Let's make sure that when people come to our churches, they experience Jesus. And I pray that as we grow as a church, more and more and more, we would be known for God's presence being among us.
And I believe we will be known for that, because I believe that a gospel city church, the Lord is gathering a group of people who have a zeal for God's presence.
I see it. I feel it. I experience it when we're together as the church. And I want you to know that I'm so blessed personally by our churches. Collective passion for Jesus administers to me. It blesses me so much.
So let's be a people of his presence, of people, of his presence. Just one other quick note on these last few verse is, if you didn't catch it, they really reinforce that Moses understood that the angel Yahweh was promising in his place was not Jesus.
It makes it really clear after hearing Moses's heart, verse 17, says the Lord said to Moses. I will also do this thing that you've spoken for, you have found Grace in my sight and I know you by name.
God says you want my presence to go with you, Moses.
You got it. You got it. I'll go with you. Now, Moses can sense that he really does have the Lord's favor in this moment, especially in this moment of friendship and intimacy between them, Moses is also very Jewish and he knows how to negotiate.
And sensing a moment of opportunity. Moses says, one more thing, Lord, one more thing. Now, let me ask you this, if you had the Lord's ear, the Lord's heart, the Lord's favor, and you could sense that in a moment, you could ask for anything, the Lord would probably give it to you. What would you ask for? If you want to understand what made Moses so special, why the Lord loved him so much, why the Lord listened when Moses prayed.
Just listen to what Moses asks for In verses Verse 8 team. And he said, please. Show me your glory. Show me your glory, Lord. What I want, God, is as much of you as I can have. I'm not in this because of what you can do for me, Lord, I'm in this because I want you. You're the treasure. You're the prize I'm seeking, you're the reward I'm living for, it's you got.
Verse 8 19, then he that's God said. I will make all my goodness pass before you and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But he said, you cannot see my face for no man, she'll see me and live, and the Lord said, Here's a place by me and you shall stand on the rock.
So it shall be while my glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and I will cover you with my hand while I pass by. Then I will take away my hand and you shall see my back. But my face shall not be seen. God says, OK, I'll give you as much of me as you can take in your human form.
You see, our flesh cannot see God, it is his glorified state because we literally couldn't handle it would be overwhelmed spiritually, emotionally, mentally, would be vaporized physically.
This is one of the primary reasons we're going to need new bodies in eternity, our current bodies just don't have the capacity to handle the unrestrained glory of God's presence. We need an upgrade. My goodness, we're going to get one.
The Bible declares that when we see Jesus, we will be made like him, will be made like him.
Rather than you shall see my back, the Septuagint says you will see what is behind me, that's a much better way of putting it.
The idea is that Moses would see God's wake as you or I would see the week left in the water by a boat even after it had turned the corner and disappeared around a bend.
Now, what is God's work look like to humanize? There's only one man who knows, and I checked.
He's not currently available for comment. All we can say is that this experience would have been it would have been indescribable. Moses saw as much of the glory of God as is possible for a man to see in his earthly body what a blessing for Moses.
Verse 8, 22, tells us that in order to see the wake of God's glory, the Lord hid Moses in the cleft of a rock. Who is our rock? It's Jesus Sunday school answer. It's Jesus in Psalm 62. It's on your outline. David wrote, Truly, my soul silently waits for God. From a hymn comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation. How is it that we will be able to spend eternity in the unfettered glory of God's presence?
How is it that we could even have fellowship with God's spirit now as the church our brother Paul tells us in Colossians three three where he writes for you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When we give our lives to Jesus, our our sinful spirits die, they're put to death and we receive a new spirit from God, his spirit, that's what it means to be born again spiritually.
And Paul says not only do you have a new spirit, but your life is hidden in Christ as Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock and the picture is your life being surrounded by Jesus on every side.
Now, think about this and all that. You can see from this place where you are surrounded by the rock that is Jesus.
The only place you can see out of that is where the glory of God is. And your view is becoming increasingly consumed by the glory of God. That's what happens to us as believers.
We get to grow more and more in our knowledge of the Lord. We get to see more and more of Jesus until we arrive in his presence and we get to see it all. Jesus is the rock in which we are hidden. The cleft of the rock is a place where a rock has been split, where it's been broken and it provided a place of shelter for Moses. Our lives are hidden in Christ because he was broken for us and when he was broken for us, he provided a place of shelter for us, a refuge for us.
How can we know our salvation is secure because our lives are hidden in the rock that is our savior Jesus Christ, who was broken for us, and he himself declared, I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. Neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. Would you make a note of this? Our lives are hidden in Christ and our perspective is increasingly consumed by his glory. Our lives are hidden in Christ and our perspective is increasingly consumed by his glory.
For those of you who've been with us for several of our studies through Exodus, let me ask you. Who is Moses, a type of who is he, a picture of Sunday school answer again, it's Jesus. With that in mind, don't miss the picture that Exodus 32 and 33 paint for us using this typology when God's righteous wrath was ready to be poured out on Israel. Who stood between God and man who mediated who interceded on the behalf of sinners Moses?
It's a picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we were fully deserving of God's wrath because like Israel, we also rejected God and rebelled against him. We've also worshiped and served idols and false gods. But the man Christ Jesus, the son of God, God in the flesh served us by offering himself as the one and only mediator between God and man.
Even though the only acceptable terms. Were his body, blood and life. Hebrews seven speaks to us of Jesus's ministry, is our high priest, our mediator, it says, but he.
Because he continues forever. Has an unchangeable priesthood, therefore, he's also to save he's also able to save to the uttermost the actual term there is forever. So Verse 8 25 should really read, therefore, because Jesus continues forever.
He's also able to save forever those who come to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them, the Ministry of Jesus on your behalf is covering you even this very moment. For such a high priest was fitting for us, in other words, a high priest like Jesus is exactly what we needed. Who's holy, harmless?
That just means innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners and has become higher than the heavens who does not need daily as those high priests to offer up sacrifices first for his own sins and then for the peoples for he this sorry for this.
He did once for all when he offered up himself. Jesus is our mediator, always, always. Now, did God relent and show Israel mercy because God was so impressed with Israel, of course not. God relented and showed mercy to Israel because God was so impressed with Moses. And Moses interceded on Israel's behalf. Israel wasn't faithful, Moses was faithful. God is not all that impressed with you and me. I'm sorry if that's shocking news to you.
But he is impressed with Jesus, and when we give our lives to Jesus, the Bible says Jesus robs us in his righteousness so that when the father looks at you and I, he sees a man or woman who looks like. Jesus. You see, Jesus has made us beautiful. Why did the Israelites have their sins forgiven? Why did they receive blessings from God instead of what they truly deserved?
It was because Moses linked himself to them. Moses said, Lord, I'm with Israel, I'm with them, and if you love me, you got to love them. If you want to bless me, you got to bless them. And that's what Jesus did for us. He he linked himself to us by becoming a man. He he bound himself to us.
He went through everything, the scourging, the beatings, the cross, the grave and the resurrection on our behalf so that our fates could be intertwined and connected forever. And because we are linked to Jesus. When he was raised, we were raised to new life to. Israel was blessed because Israel was linked to Moses. We are blessed because we are linked to our greater than Moses Jesus Christ. Can you imagine how wonderful it would have been to hear the Lord himself say, I will be with you?
You don't have to imagine because the Lord has given you that same promise over and over again in his word. Do not fear the future. Do not fear the future. God has promised to be with you, and he's a God who always keeps his promises. I want to close by just reading some scriptures over you, and you don't need to turn to any of these places in your Bible, the references are on your outline so you can look them up again later if you'd like to.
I'm going to ask that you would just still your mind and your spirit as best you can. Feel free to close your eyes while I read and just let God's word wash over you, let it counsel you, let it change your thinking as God's word fills you with his peace. Jesus said, I'm with you always, even to the end of the age. Isaiah 41 10 declares God's heart toward his people fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Psalm 139 is famous, but let me read it for you, oh, lord, you've searched me and known me. You know, my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought a far off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways, for there's not a word on my tongue but behold, oh, Lord, you know it all together.
You've hedged me behind and before and laid your hand upon me, such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high. I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit or where can I flee from your presence if I ascend into heaven? You are there if I make my bed and she'll behold you're there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there, your hands shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say surely the darkness shall cover me. Even the night shall be light about me. Indeed, the darkness is not dark to you. But the night shines is the day. The darkness and the light are both alike to you. For you formed my inward parts.
You wove me in my mother's womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. It literally means I will praise you. For you are fearfully wonderful. Marvelous are your works and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth, your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed. And in your book, they all were written the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are your thoughts to me, oh, God, how great is the sum of them? If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awake, I'm still with you. Paul writes this in Romans eight. Who is he who condemns so in other words, who's condemning you? Who's making you feel guilt and shame? It's not the Lord. Here's what the Lord is doing. It is Christ who died and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Jesus isn't condemning you.
He's praying for you. He's the one interceding for you and covering your sin who shall separate us from the love of Christ and who's going to separate you from God shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword. I mean, after all, it's written for your sake. We are killed all day long. We are counted as sheep for the slaughter, but.
But. Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, what but how are we conquerors if we're killed and persecuted and targeted by Satan every day?
For I am persuaded that here's why we're conquerors. Here's the victory. Here's why we win no matter what. It's because neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, she'll be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We win. We win. Because no matter what we have Jesus, we have God's presence with us, and he'll never leave us.
So don't worry that the Lord will not be with you. It doesn't depend on you. It depends on Jesus and Jesus said, do not fear little flock, for it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. If this whole thing rests on the issue of whether we can stay faithful to the Lord. That we have every reason to worry, we have every reason to be afraid. But it doesn't. This whole thing, our life here on Earth and our eternity rests on Jesus and his faithfulness.
His righteousness, his goodness. I'm so thankful for that. You will fail. I will fail. But the Lord never will. So aren't you glad that you're in his hands? I know I am. Let's pray. Would you buy your head and close your eyes? Father, thank you for your presence through your spirit. Among us right now, thank you for your presence among your people and thank you for your presence within us individually. Thank you.
That your world is filled with promise after promise that you'll never leave us. And command after command to therefore not be afraid of anything ever. And so in the name of Jesus right now, Lord, we just want to release any trace of fear or doubt or anxiety about the future. Because such fears are not fitting. For people who have the presence of God, which we do. So, Lord, forgive us for our insecurities. And help us not to be afraid.
Help our perspective to be consumed. With you, with your glory, so that it's all we see, so that it's all we think about, especially as we look into the future, Lord. Thank you, Lord, for the promises of your word and thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you. That we can depend on you.