In my younger days I used to love gospel music, and one of my favourite singers was Mahalia Jackson. I had one LP (long-playing record, for those too young to know about such things!) with a track that I particularly loved and used to sing with great gusto. The words were:
Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it, Jesus, if you please
Daily walking close with Thee
O let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
I have recently been reminded of this, as it has become my prayer once again – that I would draw ever closer to the Lord and that my relationship with Him would become ever deeper.
In today’s verse we read of the Lord speaking to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. That is what I long for, and I think there are some keys as we look at this passage. In Exodus 33:7, we see that Moses “used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting’”. Several things struck me about this. First of all, this was something Moses was used to doing – it was his regular practice. Do we make it a regular practice to make time and space to meet with God?
Secondly, he pitched the tent outside the camp, away from the people. We sometimes need to make a point of withdrawing from the crowds and from the hustle and bustle of our lives – perhaps even from the computer and phone as well!
Thirdly, Moses called it the tent of meeting. This shows that he was expectant that he would meet with God. Early in my Christian life I was taught that we needed to have a ‘quiet time’ each day to read the Bible and pray. However, Moses wasn’t just withdrawing to have a time of quiet – he was expecting to meet with God! Do we?
In these encounters, Moses was not the one doing the talking! God would speak to Moses face to face. Do we expect and allow God to speak to us, or are we always busy doing the talking, telling God what we need, rather than listening to Him?
Finally I was impacted by the fact that God would speak to Moses as a friend. In the Old Testament there were only a few people with whom God communicated in this way, but because of what Jesus did on the cross, every believer can now have access to God and relationship with Him. Jesus even calls us His friends: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). How wonderful to have Jesus as a friend, wanting to tell us all that He has learned from His Father! Why not make a new resolution to set aside a time and place each day with the expectancy that He will meet with you and speak to you in this way?
Prayer: Lord, thank You that we can be in relationship with You through the cross. Forgive me for the times when I have not waited on You or expected You to speak to me. Help me to make a regular time and place to meet with You and listen to You. Amen.
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