In Exodus 33:7-14, we read a brief description of the Tent that Moses pitched outside the Israelite camp. This Tent was called The Tent of Meeting. It was where Moses would go to speak with God and learn God’s guidance. This became a ritual for Moses and the people. They would gather outside the Tent when Moses would speak with God (33:8). When the Pillar of Cloud, a symbol or manifestation of God’s presence, appeared over the Tent, the people would worship God.
There is an interesting note in this section of the text. When Moses left the Tent to return to camp, a young man named Joshua remained at the Tent. He would not depart from the Tent. Of course, this is the same Joshua we read about in Exodus who served as a spy to go into the Promise Land. Joshua (and Caleb) told Moses about the riches of the land and how they should go fulfill God’s promise to them even though there were enemies in the land. Joshua succeeded Moses in leading the Israelite nation, years later, into this land flowing with milk and honey.
One has to wonder how Joshua gained such faith in God regarding his leadership. Maybe this text from Exodus 33 provides a clue. Joshua never left the Tent of Meeting where Moses inquired of the LORD. Joshua saw all that Moses did and all Moses encountered at the Tent. I can’t help but imagine Joshua learning how to speak to God because Joshua watched Moses talk with God “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” By remaining at the Tent, Joshua put himself in place to be transformed by the presence of God.
Whose Tent are we standing by? Joshua showed perseverance and commitment by standing at the Tent of Meeting. In our walk with God, are we willing to stand, sit, walk, or kneel with the same commitment as Joshua? Will we put ourselves in a place where our lives can be transformed? Will we spend time seeking God’s face and speaking to God as a friend speaks to a friend so that we, too, can encounter the presence of God in our lives?
As we begin the New Year, let us be committed to “standing by the tent” where we can be shaped and formed by the Holy Spirit as we worship, pray, and immerse ourselves in the word of God so that we might be sent out into the mission fields that God is sending us to.