Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:5. Moses’ Intercession and its Results
CHAPTER 33 Repentance and Intercession
1. The word of the Lord and the people’s repentance (Exodus 33:1-6)
2. The tabernacle without the camp (Exodus 33:7)
3. Moses enters the tabernacle (Exodus 33:8-11)
4. Moses’ prayer and Jehovah’s answers (Exodus 33:12-17)
5. Moses’ request (Exodus 33:18-23)
The words of the Lord, with which this chapter begins, reveal Him as the covenant-keeping Jehovah. He remembers His covenant, though they are a stiff-necked people. Yet He is a holy God and if He were to be in their midst they would be consumed. They had to take the place in self-judgment and acknowledge their guilt and separation from the Holy One. They were obedient to this demand and stripped themselves of their ornaments. In this place they had taken the Lord could show them mercy.
The word “tabernacle” here in this chapter means “tent” and of course is not the real tabernacle, for that had not yet been erected. It was a tent which had been used as a place of worship, it now had to occupy a place outside of the camp. All who wanted to seek the Lord had to go to the “tent of meeting,” outside of the camp. See Hebrews 13:13. Christ and His gospel is now rejected; the professing people of God are in rebellion and apostasy; the call, therefore, is to go outside of the camp, bearing His reproach. Christ occupies this place in Laodicea , the phase of Christian profession in these last days. He is outside, standing at the door and knocking. And there, “outside of the camp,” the Lord spake unto Moses, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Again he represents Christ as mediator, only our mediator is higher than Moses. And through Christ we have access into His presence. “Outside of the camp” leads to the closest communion with Himself. The Lord talked to Moses out of the cloud and then Moses turned again into the camp. Joshua remained in the tabernacle and did not enter the camp. All is written for our learning. Though we go “outside of the camp” yet we have a solemn duty and responsibility towards those in the camp. May we discharge these. Moses’ prayer pleads now grace, and upon that the Holy One answers graciously. But His face Moses could not see. Read and compare with John 1:18 and John 14:9.