I will do this thing also - My presence shall go with thee, and I will keep thee separate from all the people of the earth. Both these promises have been remarkably fulfilled. God continued miraculously with them till he brought them into the promised land; and from the day in which he brought them out of Egypt to the present day, he has kept them a distinct, unmixed people! Who can account for this on any principle but that of a continual especial providence, and a constant Divine interference? The Jews have ever been a people fond of money; had they been mingled with the people of the earth among whom they have been scattered, their secular interests would have been greatly promoted by it; and they who have sacrificed every thing besides to their love of money, on this point have been incorruptible! They chose in every part of their dispersions rather to be a poor, despised, persecuted people, and continue separate from all the people of the earth, than to enjoy ease and affluence by becoming mixed with the nations. For what great purposes must God be preserving this people! for it does not appear that any moral principle binds them together - they seem lost to this; and yet in opposition to their interests, for which in other respects they would sacrifice every thing, they are still kept distinct from all the people of the earth: for this an especial providence alone can account.
Compare Exodus 33:13. His petition for the nation, and his own claims as a mediator, are now granted to the full.
Brethren, you will have to wrestle with difficulties, carry burdens, give advice, plan and execute, constantly looking to God for help. Pray and labor, labor and pray; as pupils in the school of Christ, learn of Jesus. GW 417.1
The Lord has given us the promise, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5.] It is in the order of God that those who bear responsibilities should often meet together to counsel with one another, and to pray earnestly for that wisdom which He alone can impart. Talk less; much precious time is lost in talk that brings no light. Let brethren unite in fasting and prayer for the wisdom that God has promised to supply liberally. Make known your troubles to God. Tell Him, as did Moses, “I cannot lead this people unless Thy presence shall go with me.” And then ask still more; pray with Moses, “Show me Thy glory.” [Exodus 33:18.] What is this glory?—The character of God. This is what He proclaimed to Moses. GW 417.2
Let the soul in living faith fasten upon God. Let the tongue speak His praise. When you associate together, let the mind be reverently turned to the contemplation of eternal realities. Thus you will be helping one another to be spiritually minded. When your will is in harmony with the divine will, you will be in harmony with one another; you will have Christ by your side as a counselor. GW 417.3
Enoch walked with God. So may every laborer for Christ. You may say with the psalmist, “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”[Psalm 16:8.] While you feel that you have no sufficiency of yourself, your sufficiency will be in Jesus. If you expect all your counsel and wisdom to come from men, mortal and finite like yourselves, you will receive only human help. If you go to God for help and wisdom, He will never disappoint your faith. GW 417.4Read in context »
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 »
Moses has a deep sense of his unworthiness and his unfitness for the great work to which God has called him. He pleads with intense earnestness that the Lord will go with him. The answer comes: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” But Moses does not feel that he can stop here. He has gained much, but he longs to come still nearer to God, to obtain a stronger assurance of His abiding presence. He has carried the burden of Israel; he has borne an overwhelming weight of responsibility; when the people sinned, he suffered keen remorse, as though he himself were guilty; and now there presses upon his soul a sense of the terrible results should God leave Israel to hardness and impenitence of heart. They would not hesitate to kill Moses, and through their own rashness and perversity they would soon fall a prey to their enemies and thus dishonor the name of God before the heathen. Moses presses his petition with such earnestness and fervency that the answer comes: “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know thee by name.” 4T 532.1
Now, indeed, we would expect the prophet to cease pleading; but no, emboldened by his success, he ventures to come still nearer to God, with a holy familiarity which is almost beyond our comprehension. He now makes a request which no human being ever made before: “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.” What a petition to come from finite, mortal man! But is he repulsed? does God reprove him for presumption? No, we hear the gracious words: “I will make all My goodness pass before thee.” 4T 532.2Read 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 »