The Tent of Meeting was NOT the Tabernacle. It was simply a tent Moses set up outside the camp where would communicate with God. “Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.” And there the Shekinah cloud would descend. Moses would go into the tent, and “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend..” It is interesting to note that even when Moses went back into the camp, Joshua, his aide, would stay in the tent. It is then recorded that Moses asks two things of the Lord: that His Presence go with them and that Moses could see God’s glory. God answers the first in the affirmative, “because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Does this mean He does not know the names of others? It is important to remember that both “know” and “name” had more extended meanings for the Hebrews than they normally do now. To know implied intimate knowing, not intellectual acknowledgement or information. It meant to be intimately acquainted with. And ‘name’? That was also an idiom for character, as in “he has a good name in our town.” Thus the implication here is that God is intimately acquainted with Moses’ character and is pleased with Moses. When Moses then hears that, he is brave enough to ask to see God’s glory. God’s response is that Moses will see God’s goodness and that God will proclaim His Name to Moses (again, more in the line of character than a specific word or ‘proper’ name), but that Moses cannot see the face of God and live. Is God’s glory the same as God’s goodness? They are certainly connected, although when we think of glory, we think of far more than goodness. Nevertheless, that was God’s response to Moses – God would proclaim His character and show Moses His goodness in response to Moses’ request to see God’s glory. God also says something else to Moses that, I think, is widely misunderstood: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Does this mean that God is, somehow, by human estimation at least, arbitrary? No, it does not. What it does mean, however, is that God judges the heart and not the outward appearances, as is stated so many other times in the Bible. God’s judgment is right; man’s judgment is surface, and therefore often wrong. But, as Abraham asked in Genesis 18, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And the answer is “of course He will.” In Isaiah 1 He invites the sinner to come reason with Him. In the beginning of Hebrews 11 we see that faith is based on what we know but cannot see. All the way through the Bible, we are led to understand that although God judges justly, mercy does triumph over judgment. We find that this is through Jesus Christ, and His work, and that, as we know from the gospel of John, those who believe receive eternal life. Thus we can understand how God judges, but we are warned many times we cannot judge other men – only God knows what is in the heart of a man, and it is according to this that His just judgments are made. Thus, He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and compassion on whom He will have compassion. The chapter closes with God directing Moses to a place where He can be protected from the impact and force of the fullness of God, but see enough after God has passed to satisfy him.