The Lord Tells Israel To Leave Mount Sinai
1 The Lord said to Moses:
You led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Now get ready to lead them to the land I promised their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 2-3It is a land rich with milk and honey, and I will send an angel to force out those people who live there—the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I will not go with my people. They are so rebellious that I would destroy them before they get there.
4-5Even before the Lord said these harsh things, he had told Moses, “These people really are rebellious, and I would kill them at once, if I went with them. But tell them to take off their fancy jewelry, then I'll decide what to do with them.” So the people started mourning, 6and after leaving Mount Sinai, they stopped wearing fancy jewelry.
The Lord Is with His People
7Moses used to set up a tent far from camp. He called it the “meeting tent,” and whoever needed some message from the Lord would go there. 8Each time Moses went out to this tent, everyone would stand at the entrance to their own tents and watch him enter. 9-11Then they would bow down because a thick cloud would come down in front of the tent, and the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, just like a friend. Afterwards, Moses would return to camp, but his young assistant Joshua would stay at the tent.
The Lord Promises To Be with His People
12Moses said to the Lord, “I know that you have told me to lead these people to the land you promised them. But you have not said who will go along to help me. You have said that you are my friend and that you are pleased with me. 13If this is true, let me know what your plans are, then I can obey and continue to please you. And don't forget that you have chosen this nation to be your own.”
14The Lord said, “I will go with you and give you peace.”
15Then Moses replied, “If you aren't going with us, please don't make us leave this place. 16But if you do go with us, everyone will know that you are pleased with your people and with me. That way, we will be different from the rest of the people on earth.”
17So the Lord told him, “I will do what you have asked, because I am your friend and I am pleased with you.”
18Then Moses said, “I pray that you will let me see you in all of your glory.”
19 The Lord answered:
All right. I am the Lord, and I show mercy and kindness to anyone I choose. I will let you see my glory and hear my holy name, 20but I won't let you see my face, because anyone who sees my face will die. 21There is a rock not far from me. Stand beside it, 22and before I pass by in all of my shining glory, I will put you in a large crack in the rock. I will cover your eyes with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back. You will not see my face.