Scripture Reading: Exodus 33:11
We’ve reached lesson 40 of this 50 lesson study of the book of Exodus. Before we head into the final 10 lessons of this study, I’d like to remind you of the purpose of “the Exodus,” of getting free, in the first place.
God sets us free so we can worship Him. We don’t have to wait till we die and go to heaven to be in the presence of God. We don’t have to wait till we get to the end of some spiritual journey to be with Him. We don’t even have to wait one more minute.
We can worship God in our hearts right now. We can spend time in His presence, commune with Him, at any given moment.
There’s a little passage tucked in Exodus 33 that reminds me of this. The Bible says that when Moses would want to spend time with God, he would go to the “Tent of Meeting,” and God would meet with him there. But then the Bible adds these words:
“Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent” (Exodus 33:11b).
I try to picture what it would be like to be a young aide to Moses, the great deliverer of the people of Israel. What would it be like to walk beside him into the tent of meeting, and watch him as the Lord would, “speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11a)?
I think it would be awesome! Apparently, so did Joshua. Since Moses was the leader of the nation, he had to then go back to the camp to deal with the issues of the day. But not Joshua. Joshua stayed. He wasn’t about to leave that tent. He was going to stay right there in the presence of God.
Although they hadn’t reached the promised land yet, they could still spend time in the presence of God. Although they hadn’t resolved all of the problems and struggles of life, they could still worship Him. Although they were still in the midst of one of the worst struggles of their nation, this didn’t deter Joshua from spending time in the “tent of meeting.” Rather than deterring the people, it probably drove them even deeper into the presence of the Living God.
Sometimes we think that we have to reach a certain place in our freedom before we can fully worship God. We think that we have to get free of a particular sin, or be fully restored from a broken relationship. Or we wonder if we might never really be able to worship God here on this earth, but will only get to truly enter His presence when we die.
But this passage in Exodus, as well as many others throughout the Bible, encourage me that we can, at any moment, step into the presence of God. Sure, it’s a lot easier to step into His presence when we’re not weighted down with sin and strife and struggle. That’s why God wants us so desperately to throw off anything that might entangle us.
And yet, sometimes, it’s the very act of coming into His presence that helps us to finally surrender our grip on those things that are holding us back, letting God Himself take the weights off of our shoulders. As Joshua would later find out, when Moses died and Joshua had to take over the leadership of the entire nation, those regular moments in the presence of God would prove invaluable to his own effectiveness as a leader.
Whether there’s peace all around you, or strife swirling out of control, I’d like to encourage you to step into God’s presence sometime today, even right now if you can. Like Joshua, maybe you can just stay there and linger awhile with God, like a honeymoon couple enjoying some intimate moments together.
Worshiping God is one of the most glorious, life-giving, and life producing acts in which we can engage. It’s the reason God set us free in the first place. Why not take a little time to just step into His presence today?
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.