Photo by Andrew Gloor
Now Moses used to take his own tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting [for God with his own people]. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the [temporary] tent of meeting which was outside the camp. Exodus 33:7
Before God gave specific instructions for the tabernacle, we see Moses making a place where He and anyone who needed to access the presence of God could come meet with God. He calls his own tent- the Tent of meeting. It became a place where God could come fellowship with Moses and the people.
Our homes- a tent of meeting
If in the Old Testament with all the regulations and requirements where God meeting man was concerned, Moses is able to make a place where God could meet with him… We the New Testament believers have no excuse for not creating room for God to come into our lives.
Moses pitches his own tent… And the all-glorious God would humbly invade this tent. No fancy equipment, no special tent, just his ordinary living quarters.
God could come because a man had made room for Him. God will come into our houses, living rooms, couches in the corner, balconies, or even bedrooms if we’ll make them a tent of meeting for Him. All God needs is a man or woman willing to make their houses or space a place for Him. All He is looking for is a person who will find the time as Moses did so He can show up the way He did in Moses’ tent.
Something stands out, even though Moses could have left the tent where it was- among the tribes of Israel- he doesn’t. We are told he pitches his tent outside the camp- far away from the camp. There is a separation; I believe there was a need for Moses to separate his tent because he needed to create a holy ground for a holy God.
Even though He is gracious and merciful and can sometimes invade our not-so-holy lives. There is a level we cannot go in God or be able to access God unless there is holiness-unless there is a separation.
We are going to let some things go because we want to create a place where a holy God can invade. We cannot live any way we want. There are things that will not be in our lives because we want to be separated unto a holy God. There are things we will not entertain in our tents (houses or spaces) because we have created a holy ground for the Lord.
One of my favorite songs this season is a song called “Holy Ground” by Kari Jobe.
“I will defend this holy ground with reverence
Nothing familiar to be found in your presence
Clean hands, pure heart, I will be set apart for you
I will defend this holy ground”
I love this… The first thing that sanctifies our lives for a Holy God is reverence. We reverence His holiness and live accordingly. We also show up before His presence accordingly. If we lack reverence, He will not come. The second thing we refuse to allow is familiarity; we cannot become familiar with a holy God or with holy things because familiarity defiles it. We also remember to ask God to help us come before Him with clean hands and pure hearts. This is how we separate our lives and make them a dwelling place for God.
His manifest presence
In the Old Testament, man could tangibly see the manifestation of God. When He came you knew because there were physical manifestations of Him.
Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand in the doorway of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. Exodus 33:9
When God shows up the cloud showed up. That’s how Moses and everyone knew God had come. In the New Covenant, God still shows up and He can come in any way He wants, but He mostly comes through the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes, there are physical ways in which you can know that God’s presence is in the room. Other times we know He is there because we have faith in His promise that if we seek Him, we will find Him. So we cannot limit God to physical manifestations or we will enter into deception.
Sometimes the way I know His manifest presence has entered the room is I will feel this blanket of peace, joy, and love cover me (notice these are all fruit of the Holy Spirit). Other times, I will feel gentle warmth (He is a consuming fire) flood my room. My hands will feel very hot. Other times, the glory of God is so heavy in the room that my only response is holy fear…
Other times (which is most of the time) there are no physical manifestations; I rest on His promise to always come. I know by faith that He is there.
How God shows up to each individual is unique and special. That’s why we need to have constant fellowship because that’s how we get to know Him intimately. And remember the more we get to know Him, the more He reveals himself to us.
This is a New Testament promise.
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him. John 14:21
Some translation says…I will manifest myself to him. Signifying God’s manifest presence revealed to us.
Set a standard
The way we worship God will either lead people to worship God or lead people to not take God seriously. Moses sets the standard.
When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tent door, all the people would rise and worship, each at his tent door. Exodus 33:10
Moses doesn’t have to blow a trumpet and tell people to worship. When he worships God shows up, and when God’s manifest presence shows up, people have no other response but to worship.
Sometimes we are trying all kinds of gimmicks and tricks to get people to worship. Our children will worship God when we make our home a place where His manifest presence can invade. When He comes, they don’t have a choice but to worship. Our spouses or family members will worship God when they begin to encounter the God we worship in private. We don’t have to nag them; we just have to create space and then invite them to encounter God for themselves.
Our worship and devotion to God has a ripple effect for those around us. Create a space of worship, if you do it long enough you will begin to see those around you begin to enter into worship. There is a depth we go in God that anyone who enters our lives has to live by that standard- by default. The whole camp worships because a man had set a standard that allowed God to invade his environment.
Imagine what would happen if our lives became a tent of meeting for God? The possibilities are endless!