1 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘You and the Israelites must all leave this place. You brought them out of Egypt. You must lead them to the country that I promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I promised to give the country to their children and grandchildren, for all time. 2 I will send an angel in front of you. He will throw out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. 3 Go to that country where there is plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone. But I will not go with you because you will not obey my commands. I might go with you. But then I might kill you as you travel.’
4 The Israelites heard the message and God's words frightened them. They began to cry and nobody put on his beautiful stones. 5 The Lord had said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites. Say to them, “You are people who will not obey me. If I go with you, even for a moment, I may kill you. I may kill you as you travel. Now remove your beautiful stones. Then I will decide what I will do with you.” ’ 6 So the Israelites threw off their beautiful stones near Mount Horeb.
The Tent of Meeting
7 Now Moses put up a special tent outside the camp, in every place where the Israelites stayed. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone could go there and listen to the Lord's words. The Tent of Meeting was outside the camp.
8 When Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would stand at the doors of their tents. They would watch Moses until he went into the Tent of Meeting. 9 When Moses went into the tent, the special cloud would come down. The cloud would stay at the door of the tent while the Lord spoke to Moses.
10 Every time that the people saw the special cloud at the door of the Tent of Meeting, they all stood up. Then each person worshipped at the door of his tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp. But Joshua, the son of Nun, stayed in the tent. He was a young man who helped Moses.
Moses wants to see God's glory
12 Moses said to the Lord, ‘You have said to me, “Lead these people.” But whom will you send with me? You have not told me. You have said, “I know you by your name. You give me pleasure and I love you.” 13 If you love me, please tell me your thoughts. I want to understand you. I want you to love me always. Remember that the Israelites are your own family.’
14 The Lord replied, ‘I myself will go with you and I will give you rest.’
15 Then Moses said, ‘If you do not go with us, do not send us away from here. 16 If you do not go with us, nobody will know about you. Nobody will know that we give you pleasure. We will not be special people. We will be like everyone else in the world.’
17 And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will certainly do this thing that you have asked for. This is because you give me pleasure. Also, I know you by your name.’
18 Then Moses said, ‘Please, show me your glory!’
19 And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you. I will tell you my name, that I am the Lord. I will be kind to anyone that I choose. I will show my love to anyone that I choose. 20 But you cannot see my face. Nobody can see my face and live.’
21 Then the Lord said, ‘There is a place near me. You can stand there upon a rock. 22 When my glory passes in front of you, I will put you in a hole in the rock. I will cover you with my hand until I have passed in front of you. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back. But nobody must see my face.’