Exodus Chapter 33

Exodus Chapter 33 begins with God’s frustration with the Israelites. He told Moses to go with His people to the land of milk and honey and He, the Lord, would send an angel before them to expel the other people from the land.

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God Is Angry

Even though God told Moses to continue leading the people, He said He would not go with them. He said the children of Israel were stubborn and He might destroy them if He went with them. When the people heard the Lord say this, they were dismayed and would not put on their fine clothes or their jewels.

Moses’ Temporary Tabernacle

After this, Moses put the Tabernacle outside of the camp and renamed it. Everyone who wanted to seek the Lord went out to this temporary tent that Moses had placed outside the camp. Before long, whenever Moses went to the Tabernacle, people came outside of their tents and watched him go.

Eventually, the pillar of cloud that was the form the Lord took to lead the people from Egypt came to the Tabernacle and spoke to Moses. This filled the people who watched Moses with awe and they began to worship at the entrance to their tents.

Moses Asks for God’s Help

Exodus Chapter 33 also recounts how God and Moses spoke often to each other like old friends. Moses asked the Lord who He will send with him to show him the way forward. He also told God that the Israelites were His people. The Lord reassured Moses that He would be with him after all and He would forgive the Israelites of their stubbornness.

Moses asked God to show him His glory, but and the Lord told him that He could not reveal Himself in His glory because it would destroy Moses to see it. But He did promise Moses that if he went to a cleft in a certain rock, He would be able to show Himself from behind. However, God said, no living man could see God’s face and still live.

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Exodus 33 (King James Version)

1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:

2 And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.

4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.

5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.

6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.

7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.

8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.

9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.

10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.

11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

12 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.

13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew 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.

14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

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