Face To Face Friend
9” And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” Exodus 33:9-11 NKJV
I love the imagery of verse 11 as God Himself is speaking to Moses face to face, as one does a friend! But look at the whole picture of what we are seeing take place, and the picture of the love of God for us. How great His desire is to be with us and to be intimate with us.
Picture the Tent of Meeting set up in the wilderness and the multitudes of the Israelites all camped together, 12 camps of the 12 tribes, and all of the thousands and thousands of people in each of the camps. They are in the desert, watching as Moses goes to the Tent of Meeting to meet with God on their behalf. Then they would see the pillar of cloud descending from heaven, reaching down and standing at the doorway of the Tent. Once it stood before the doorway of the Tent there it would remain, the presence of God there to meet with the man Moses.
Then God would speak with Moses face to face in front of the Tent of Meeting. Now just a few verses later of this chapter, in verse 20 it says something which sounds contradictory. But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” Exodus 33:20 NKJV
It is true that no man can see the glory of God in this natural flesh and live, and yet look at how much God wants us to see Him. Verse 20 is followed by the verses that show God putting Moses in the cleft of the rock and passing by him, so that Moses would only see the back portion of God and not the face of God. How much God desires to be with us, to be seen by us. He even found a way to speak with Moses face to face. While Moses could not look at the face of God, God appeared to him in the cloud by day and stood before the Tent in the cloud, covered by the cloud, but He could still speak with Moses directly, hence the face to face.
Now of course as His new creations in the new covenant, we are designed as His sheep to hear His voice. The ability to hear Him is built right into us showing us again how much He desired to speak right to us, just as He did to Moses. He spoke to Moses face to face and He desires to speak to you with this same directness. He is speaking to you today face to face and spirit to spirit in the deepest and most tender ways, as one speaks to a friend. Are we listening!
J Todd Hostetler