“I will come down and speak with you there…” (Num. 11:17)
The Great Escape (photo credit Brian Oldham, on flickr)
Moses was getting ready for an event every leader longs for: recruiting helpers that will carry with him the burden God has placed on his shoulders. God commanded him to appoint 70 elders for that purpose. Not a small number, but not that many either, considering the magnitude of the flock they had to oversee.
In verse 16 God tells him to gather those whom he – Moses – knows to be Israel’s leaders and officials, and bring them to the Tabernacle. How could Moses know who these leaders and officers are? Didn’t he have` his plate full as it was from dusk till dawn? And why does he have to bring them to the Tabernacle, to the Tent of Meeting, of all places?
Because that is exactly where they were about to be tested. The Tabernacle is where we are all tested, where our real stand with God is expressed. I assume Moses could recognize the candidates for the job only because they have been faithful and diligent to come to him, while he was sitting at the gate of the Tent and judging the people. From there he could see who brought their sacrifices as required; how they treated others; how they approached the priests and in what regards; how they ministered even before they were appointed.
Where Is There?
Earlier God made it clear to Moses where He will speak to him. The “there” verse 17 refers to is described in Exodus 25.
“There I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the Mercy Seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the Ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel” (Ex. 25:22; also see Ex. 29:43, Num. 7:89 and elsewhere).
Our half scaled model of the Tabernacle
Such a specific location. This is not just some unidentified spot within the Holy of Holies, or across the Mercy Seat. It was specifically within the triangular space created between the two cherubs placed upon the Mercy Seat.
How Does One Get There?
How could Moses get there? For only the high priest was allowed to enter that specific spot, and that, only once a year – on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, which starts today).
Back then, these were indeed the restrictions. But Moses, being Moses, symbolizes a path that Yeshua, the Prophet-like-Moses, was about to open wide for all of us. Today the path that leads “there” is wide open and the entrance fee is fully paid for anyone who trusts in the Blood (Heb. 12:9-11). Only these people can get “there”, and clearly hear what God says to them about us, Himself, and others.
One Important Point
We can’t just hop our way over there, skipping what is in our path. Yes, the Gate is open and the path is sprinkled with Blood that has prepared the way for us, but we still must enter in through the only Gate, that narrow one, and then do that which the priests did by each of the Tabernacle’s furnishings.
Otherwise, we won’t truly know if it is God speaking to us when we hear something, or maybe our flesh or, God forbid, some other voices.
What did the priest do by each piece in the Tabernacle in order to get “there”? And how are we to do that today?
This is a lifelong process for any disciple, who desires to always hear Him “there”. You constantly have to wash your heart and understanding with the blood of repentance and forgiveness (Bronze Altar), with the living water of the Word (Basin), allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to all truth (Lampstand), digest fresh Manna (Table), burn incense that is deeply connected to the process you have just been through (Golden Altar), etc.
Ot OoMofet’s Tabernacle workshops focus on this process (a discipleship program that lasts several months or can be taught in an intensive format over the span of 10 days).
Taken at one of our intense ten-day workshops.
Up and Down
How many times did Moses climb up the mountain to get “there”? For years I thought he did so twice. Once to receive the tablets upon which God inscribed His commandments, the second time to write them himself. But one day I marked each reference and realized there were many more times.
Eight instances in which Moses went up the mountain are mentioned in that Torah portion. “God, have mercy”, I thought. “The guy’s already upwards of 80 years old!” But then I got it: turns out we are always called to climb higher, and then a little more, in our intimacy with God. It may seem tedious to us, even redundant, until we get to that place where He is “there”. A place in which no questions are left unanswered, ascending and descending is as natural and easy as it is for a gazelle, our needs are so fully taken care of, that even eating and drinking are not an issue, and there’s nothing left for us to do – besides being!