After the debacle at Sinai, Moses pitched his tent far outside the camp and called it the tabernacle of meeting.  When people sought the Lord, they went to Moses’ tent.  When Moses went out to the tabernacle of meeting, all the people rose and stood at their tent door until Moses was in the tabernacle.  Once Moses entered the tabernacle, the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.  When the cloud stood at the door, the people would rise again.  So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as to a friend.  Moses would return to camp, but Joshua did not depart from the tabernacle.

A few things to consider:  The people had sinned grievously against God in worshiping a false god, an idol.  Therefore, they had to be shown again the need for reverence of the true God.  Therefore, the tabernacle was far away from the sinful people of Israel for a time.  When we sin, we create a distance between us and God spiritually that must be bridged by the blood of Jesus and the grace of God.  We must never take sin lightly and disregard the need to restore the tenderness and closeness of our relationship with Him as soon as possible.  Also, the man of God, the pastor/shepherd of Israel, Moses, had been in the presence of God, and had been faithful to God.  Because of his relationship with God and his position of leadership over the people, he heard from God and had a word for the people.  In the same way, a pastor or ministry leader should live in that type of close relationship of faithfulness to God where he or she can hear the voice of the Lord and be a friend of God.  That leadership position, though, is one that should be recognized and respected by the people of God.  No doubt, under the covenant of grace wrought through Jesus’ blood, we are all considered the priesthood of believers.  However, leaders in the church should be given the respect of their position and the support of those they lead and care for, especially those leaders who hear from God and feed and protect the flock.  The Israelites rose and stood before Moses.  I do not think that pastors and leaders must be coddled or saluted, but they should be respected.  Finally, we should respect the presence and voice of God.  When God showed up at the tabernacle, they people rose and stood at the appearance of his presence.  Do not treat the presence of God lightly.  He is worthy of all reverence!

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