Friday, April 14, 2023

2023.04.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 33:7–11

Read Exodus 33:7–11

Questions from the Scripture text: Who took what in Exodus 33:7? Where did he pitch it? At what distance? What did he call it? Who were seeking Whom? Where did they go? Who, specifically, went there (Exodus 33:8)? When he did, who else took what posture? Where? To do what? Until when? What would descend when Moses entered (Exodus 33:9)? Where would it stand? Who would talk with Moses? What would all the people see (Exodus 33:10)? Then what would the people do in the door? With whom did Yahweh speak (Exodus 33:11)? In what manner? Who else was there? When?

How can a sinful people interact with God? Exodus 33:7–11 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that, for a sinful people to interact with God, they must do so through an accepted, honored mediator. 

The mercy of God to give them a mediator. The tabernacle, whose designs Yahweh had given on the mountain, was not yet built. That one would proceed in the midst of the people. How marvelous that the glorious God would one day come down upon it in His glory cloud and inhabit it with the most intense communication of His presence, right in the midst of His people!

But here is another marvel. We can see the depth of their sin and the danger of their condition in the fact that this tent of meeting is outside the camp. This is emphasized by its placement “far from the camp” in Exodus 33:7. But even for such a people as this, the great God Whom heaven and highest heaven could not contain, or even the Tabernacle or later the Temple, comes and meets with His people in Moses’s personal tent. Moses is a sinner like they (cf. Exodus 32:32b). But his role looks forward to Christ, and the Lord meets with His people through Moses (Exodus 33:7b) at Moses’s tent.

The mercy of God to enable them to see that He has provided a mediator. When Moses arises to go there, each man arises and watches him (Exodus 33:8). Why, what do they see? When Moses enters, the glory cloud descends and stands at the door (Exodus 33:9). They do not see Yahweh talking with Moses. But they can see that Yahweh is talking with Moses (Exodus 33:10). They can even see that when Moses returns to the camp, his understudy would remain. One day, Moses the Lord’s servant will be dead, but the Lord’s presence to His people and power for His people will not die with Moses (cf. Joshua 1). Even while he lives, Moses cannot be on duty 24/7, so Joshua stands in, when necessary (Exodus 33:11b). 

But we have a Mediator Who, even in His human nature, has been so glorified as to never need sleep, to never need a break. We cannot see the Lord Jesus mediating for us on the throne of glory. But His death, resurrection, and ascension have been witnessed by men on earth. And, His Spirit enables believers to perceive by faith that He is mediating for us, always living to intercede for us by the power of His indestructible life (cf. Hebrews 7:25). 

The mercy of God to affect them by their knowledge of the ministry of the mediator. The Lord has continued that work in their hearts that we saw in Exodus 33:1-6. There, they mourned at the thought of the Lord not going with them. Here, they have hope for a resolution to their mourning. He is still present to their mediator. He is still speaking with Him face to face as with a friend (Exodus 33:11a). 

Moses is not merely receiving ideas in his mind or hearing words in his ears. The Lord is manifesting Himself before Moses’s face in the tent and communicating to him in that way. And the knowledge that this is happening in Moses’s tent causes each man to bow down in the door of his own tent. 

It is one mercy from the Lord to know what Jesus is doing for sinners in heaven. It is another mercy from the Lord for each one of us to have our own heart affected by what Jesus is doing for me. By what God is doing for me in Jesus. Indeed, Jesus Himself has called us His friends (cf. John 15:15)—first the apostles by the Spirit, and then the entire church by their Spirit-inspired Scriptures, blessed to us by the same Spirit. And His Spirit makes us to know God’s glory in the Lord Jesus’s own face (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:6), and even to grow by this personal knowing of Him (cf. 2 Peter 3:18). It is a weak, sickly sort of Christianity that is unaffected by these things, but we may look to the same Spirit to work in our hearts as He was working in the hearts of Israel here.

How often do your heart and mind go to the fact that the Lord Jesus is interceding for you in glory? How deeply does this affect your heart? Who can give you greater frequency and effect? By what means does He do so? What use are you making of the means? To Whom are you looking to bless them to you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving us Your own Son to be our Mediator. Grant that Your Spirit would move our hearts with this knowledge we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion, Lord, with Thee”

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