The tabernacle door - The entrance of the tent.
The people by their act of worship gave another proof of their penitence.
The tabernacle here mentioned was a temporary tent arranged for the worship of God. The tabernacle, the pattern of which God gave to Moses, had not yet been built. 3SG 287.1
All who sincerely repented of their sins made supplication unto God in the tabernacle, confessing their sins with great humility, and then returned again to their tents. Then Moses went into the tabernacle. The people watched with the deepest interest to see if God would accept his intercessions in their behalf, and if he condescended to meet with Moses, then they might hope that they should not be utterly consumed. When the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, then all the people wept for joy, and rose up and worshiped, every man in his tent door. They bowed themselves upon their faces to the earth in humility. As the pillar of cloud, a token of God's presence, continued to rest at the door of the tabernacle, they knew that Moses was pleading in their behalf before God. “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” 3SG 287.2
“And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people; and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight, and consider that this nation is thy people.” Moses was very urgent that the Lord should show him just the course which he would have him pursue toward Israel. He wished to have God mark out his course, that his instructions to Israel might be with such wisdom that the people would receive his teachings, and their course be approved of God, and that he would again consider them as his people. 3SG 287.3Read in context »
In deep sadness the people had buried their dead. Three thousand had fallen by the sword; a plague had soon after broken out in the encampment; and now the message came to them that the divine Presence would no longer accompany them in their journeyings. Jehovah had declared, “I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” And the command was given, “Put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.” Now there was mourning throughout the encampment. In penitence and humiliation “the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.” PP 327.1
By the divine direction the tent that had served as a temporary place of worship was removed “afar off from the camp.” This was still further evidence that God had withdrawn His presence from them. He would reveal Himself to Moses, but not to such a people. The rebuke was keenly felt, and to the conscience-smitten multitudes it seemed a foreboding of greater calamity. Had not the Lord separated Moses from the camp that He might utterly destroy them? But they were not left without hope. The tent was pitched without the encampment, but Moses called it “the tabernacle of the congregation.” All who were truly penitent, and desired to return to the Lord, were directed to repair thither to confess their sins and seek His mercy. When they returned to their tents Moses entered the tabernacle. With agonizing interest the people watched for some token that his intercessions in their behalf were accepted. If God should condescend to meet with him, they might hope that they were not to be utterly consumed. When the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the entrance of the tabernacle, the people wept for joy, and they “rose up and worshiped, every man in his tent door.” PP 327.2
Moses knew well the perversity and blindness of those who were placed under his care; he knew the difficulties with which he must contend. But he had learned that in order to prevail with the people, he must have help from God. He pleaded for a clearer revelation of God's will and for an assurance of His presence: “See, Thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight. Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people.” PP 327.3Read in context »