Soul Purpose – Pt.2

“Meeting God Face To Face”

Last week we saw that our Soul Purpose, according to the Bible is TO KNOW GOD INTIMATELY…!

For many years the Hebrew people were tied to the hip with God…, but in Exodus 32, Moses, had gone up on Mt. Sinai to receive direction from God, & the people were impatient because Moses was taking too long, which meant, in their view, God was taking too long. So, they decided that they no longer wanted this invisible God to lead them, they wanted something tangible…,  so they gathered all their jewelry together & melted it & they built a Golden Calf…!  

When God saw what they had done He was incensed that they had forgotten Him so quickly, so in Exodus 33, God tells Moses, V-3, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way,”

What an interesting statement…, “Go up to the PLACE of blessing but I’m not going with you to the place of blessing with you  PLACE flowing with milk & honey but I’m not going to be with you,” evidently it’s possible to be blessed & have stuff flowing to you & God not be with you!

V-7, “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp, 

Moses had a tent that he called, “Tent of Meeting,” & this was a very special tent that had a special purpose, V-7, “Anyone inquiring of the Lord (Consult or talk to God or have God talk to them) would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp”  don’t miss that, the tent of meeting was outside the camp!   


Context:  The Children of Israel are traveling by foot across the desert heading toward their promise land, & when they would grow weary, they’d stop & set up a campsite to rest, but we’re told the “Tent Of Meeting” was “Outside The Camp.”  In other words, it was separated from the masses of people, which meant you had to leave the crowd & go to a special place to meet with God.  Putting it…, to get to the “Tent Of Meeting” you had to leave THE ordinary WHERE you normally hung out, inside your tent, inside the common campground & you had to make your way outside the camp to a special place, for a special purpose because you needed to meet with a special person.

Q – “Why Was The Tent of Meeting Outside The Camp?”  Because God was no longer dealing with His people inside the camp.  Remember, they had become a stiff-necked people & God had…, “I will not be with you collectively…, but even though I’m not going to be collective with you I will make myself personally available to any person who needs to inquire of the Lord.  So, any person who wants me I will make myself available to you if you will go outside the camp, away from the masses,” In other words, “If you really want me to come & get me, because I’m not hanging out inside the camp because the camp is full of folk who call my name but don’t want me.”

V-8 is fascinating, “Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent,” wait a minute, V-7…, “Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting outside the camp,” but V-8 tells us that whenever Moses went out to the tent of meeting all the people stood at the entrances to “Their Tents” watching Moses until he entered “The Tent.”  

You didn’t miss that, did you?   God was available to anybody who would go to the “Tent Of Meeting,” but they wanted to PIGGYBACK on MosesCOME to church to hear what the preacher had to sayMOSES to have a face-to-face meeting with God & tell them what God said.  This is remarkable, God was making Himself accessible, not to the masses inside the camp because collectively the people had decided they didn’t want God…, but God was still willing to make Himself available to “Individuals” who were willing to leave the campsite & go to the “Tent Of Meeting” to have a face to face talk with God, but the people were content to watch Moses go into the tent of meeting on their behalf. 

V-9, As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses,” Moses would get away from the crowd, (Regular programming of life) because WHAT he was facing was so massiveTHE task before him was so colossalTHE people he was dealing with were so menacing, he was in a situation that human advice could not fix, so he went to this special place for a special purpose to meet with this special person because he needed a special word from God. 


Q – “What Was The Purpose Of The Tent Of Meeting,”  V-9.., “The pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses,” The purpose of the “Tent of meeting” was for Moses (any anyone else who was willing) to talk to God & to have God talk to them. 

One of the reasons we don’t meet God face to face is because we don’t have A TENT of meetingTIME to break away from the everydayness of lifeTIME to break away from the noises/distractions of the crowd to hear what God has to say to us.  Actually, that’s not quite correct, it’s not that we don’t “Have” the time, because we have plenty of time to do the things that are really important to us?   If something is really important to us, if we really believe that something has the ability to affect our future…, then schedules can be adjusted, folk can get up a little bit earlier if we really believe…, & if we really believed that a face to face meeting with the Almighty has the power to change things then we will move heaven & earth to go outside the camp, away from the ordinariness/routineness of our lives to our tent of meeting to meet with God.

So many times what we do is catch God on the run or hook up with Him on the fly, but when Moses really wanted to hear from God he SOUGHT the LordSEGREGATED himself by leaving the camp & going to the tent of meeting because he wanted to talk to God & he needed God to talk to him, and …, “The pillar of cloud (Presence of God) would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses.” 

I know what some of you are thinking, “Pastor, that was the Old Testament & God spoke to people back then,” God still talks to people today, the problem is, you’ve got to be in a Place where you can hear Him & you have to be tuned into the right Frequency.


Native American Man was walking with an American man in Times Square NYC.  Noise & chaos all around, taxis honking, people yelling, busses…!   All of a sudden the native American man…, “Do you hear that?” ~ “I don’t hear anything but the noise of cabs/busses & people” ~ “No, listen carefully, I hear a cricket” ~ “A cricket? You’ve got all this noise in Times Square, there is no cricket” ~ “Oh but I hear a cricket,” & he walked over to the edge of a building & reached down & picked up a cricket. ~ “How in the world, in the midst of all this noise could you hear of all things, a cricket?” While the man was talking, the Native American secretly reached into his pocket & grabbed a few coins & dropped them on the ground behind his friend’s feet. ~ “Somebody dropped some money.”  The native American…., “That’s because you always hear what you’re listening for.”


God is speaking, but maybe we’re just not used to hearing His voice… maybe you’re not tuned into the right frequency.  As you read the New Testament, it says throughout, “And the spirit said,” so the spirit is still talking, but are you hearing Him?  


In your car, you have AM & FM radio, & those are 2 different frequencies.  If you push AM you’re going to hear stations on that frequency, if you push FM you’ll hear…, & you can’t be tuned to both at the same time.  What many of Christians do is they push Holy Ghost Frequency when they come to church on Sunday but when they leave the church they push World Frequency & they wonder why they are not hearing the voice of God more often. They are not tuned in!


Moses knew that he would not be able to tune into God inside the camp so got away from the people/distractions by going to the tent of meeting, “Outside the camp,” and it was at this special place, “Outside the camp” that God spoke to him.

V-10, “Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent.  It’s not that these people were not religious, they were having church because when Moses went to the tent of meeting they stood at the entrance of their tent & worshipped, but they were satisfied to WORSHIP God from a distance, to BE part of the crowd… “As long as I go to church with the group & sing the songs & hear what the preacher says, that will be enough,” but God had already declared, “My interest is not in the group, my interest is in those who want to seek me & not to just have a worship ceremony.” 

V-11 is the theme verse of the day, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face.”  Q – “Do you want God to SPEAK to You face to faceGET In Your Grill” because that’s what face to face means.  Face to face is a figure of speech that means, “Openly & honestly,” in other words, there is a free flow of communication. 


One of the ways you can tell that a person is not as close to God as they are trying to sound is they relate to God in the Abstract,… “Oh heavenly Father, creator of the heavens & earth. Awesome designer of the universe. The one who has painted the heavens with His unseen hand.”  They talk in an ethereal way where all the words are correct but you just can’t do anything with them.  You know when a person doesn’t really know God because when they pray they say the same thing every time, “Lord bless this day, amen. Lord bless this breakfast, amen. Lord bless this lunch, amen. Lord bless this dinner, amen.  Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord…,” that good if your 5.


“Peter I don’t know what to say,” you do when you have met somebody face to face because there’s intimacy, & you can talk about anything/everything!


When a Husband & Wife have nothing to say to each other that usually means something has happened in the relationship because there’s no FREE-flowOPENNESS & honesty in the relationship, because when you have a face to face you…, “This is what I did today. This is what I thought today & I just wanted to be open/honest with you,” that’s a face-to-face conversation. 


We will never experience God until we go face to face with Him, if we stay vague, he will be vague.   

And this face-to-face meeting probably doesn’t happen if it’s not SCHEDULEDON the calendar somewhere, because this is the kind of meeting that you have to leave the camp to go to, so it’s a scheduled meeting in a designated place for an undistracted meeting. 

This meeting I’m talking about is not the general, “On the move” prayer, this is leaving the camp & separated yourself to be with God to focus on God, “Because God, I need a word from you because my situation is so desperate.”

I love V-11, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”  

We use to sing a worship song, “I am a friend of God,” that’s a nice concept but God defines friends as folk who talk face to face, because if there is not face to face relationship, then you are a fair-weather friend. 


Q  – “Ok Pastor, that’s fine, but that’s the Old Testament. What about us today as New Testament Saints?”

Let’s look at Hebrews 13:12-14, And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come,” so now we’re talking about the New Testament church, but the writer piggybacks on an Old Testament phrase from Exodus 33 where it…, “Moses set up the tent of meeting outside the camp to use the same concept for New Testament Christians.

V-12, “Jesus also suffered outside the city gate,” we know Jesus was crucified outside the city gates of Jerusalem, Q – “Why was Jesus crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem? Why did the Jews…, ‘Crucify him,’” because Jesus rejected empty religion, He would not go along with their religious games, so they took Him outside the CITY gatesREGULAR religionNORMAL flow of the culture & crucified him!  That’s where our Savior died, on the outside, He was an outsider, your salvation comes from AN outsiderSOMEBODY who wasn’t accepted by the massesRECEIVED by the masses, He was kicked to the curb, your savior, the one who died on the cross for your sins & rose from the grave & is seated at the right hand of the Father, was an outsider.

V-12…, (This outsider) “Jesus suffered outside the city gate to make his people holy through his own blood,” but guess what V-13…, “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore,” in other words, as a New Testament Christian, if you want to hear from God then you’ve GOT to be an outsiderCAN’T be part of the crowd… You can’t just be SATISFIED that you showed up at church with everybody else; Holy Spirit is speaking to the church that it is time to press in, and not just be a follower of Jesus, but to be separate, and personal – a choice piece which allows you to be used for special purposes (2 Timothy 2:20-22).  

Nothing wrong with being with everybody in the church, you can be inspired in church, encouraged in church, taught in church but where God is DOING His special workGIVING His special informationTALKING to people face to face like a friend is outside the camp, away from the crowd, away from all the activity.

And one of the things that keep us from going outside the camp to our Tent of Meeting is something called, Worldliness.”  Worldliness simply means to take on the values of a system that leaves God out.   

That’s why James 4:4, “ Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God,”  We’re called to live in the world but not be of this world, sort of like a boat is in the water but he doesn’t want the water taking over the boat. 

But maybe for some of us, we are too tied to the world system to go outside the camp & the reason why we don’t want to go outside the camp is that we don’t want the rejection that comes with being too committed to Jesus. But V-13, “Let us go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.”  God is a gentleman, He will give us the world if that’s what we want, you just won’t get the cloud/presence/power of God, you won’t get what Moses got, God spoke back to Moses as one who speaks to a friend.”  

Our world today is in a Crisis Of Epic Proportions.  Everywhere you look these days things are going downhill…., & we don’t even have to talk about the world, we can just talk about your world or my world. God is inviting you to a special place, a time away from the distractions of life to have a face-to-face meeting with Him to get an answer from him about what we ought to do about our situation.  


Have you ever been on a Blind Date?  Blind dates are interesting because you have been given some information about the person but you have yet to come face to face.  Somebody has told you some good things, “You’ve got to meet him/her. He’s so nice, intelligent, and handsome.   She’s so pretty, smart & sweet, you’ve got to meet her.”  What that information does is it whets your appetiteGIVES you enough to want more. Now, it may be a big lie but it’s always presented in a way that whets the appetite.  If someone were to…, “He’s nasty, he’s just a nasty, foul man. She’s the ugliest woman you’ve ever seen,” they have discouraged you from a face to face, but when the information is appealing, enticing & promising, then you want to move from a blind date to a face to face experience. God has given us more than enough information to wet out appetite to want to have a face-to-face with Him. 


Practical steps…

  • 1st -Sit in your holy place (perhaps that’s a Chair) Read a portion of God’s Word.
  • 2nd – Pray, “Holy Spirit, would you empower me today so that this word come alive in me…!”

The last line of Exodus 33:11“Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”  

Here’s what you do if you have lost your appetite for God, maybe you’re a Christian, but thru life circumstances or thru your own disobedience you’ve lost your hunger for God…

1stHang Out in Hungry Places.

Have you ever not been hungry, but you went into a restaurant where they were cooking up a storm & even though you weren’t hungry when you arrived, you got hungry because the smell was so good that it enticed you to eat even though you thought you weren’t hungry.  Someone…, “Try it,” & you took one bite & then ate the whole thing because it made you hungry.  Hang out in hungry places!

2nd Hang Out with Other Hungry People.  It says, Joshua went to the tent with Moses, so Joshua hung out with a hungry man, in a hungry place, & when the hungry man left the hungry place, the hungry young man didn’t want to stop eating, he hung around. 

So if you’ve lost your hunger for God, find someone that you respect & …, “Do you know where some good food is? Can I hang out with you for awhile? Can we eat together for awhile until I learn to eat by myself?”


Beginning – begin daily devotions – Faith to Faith


Crawling – read through the Bible in a Year


Baby Steps – Join others on your Spiritual growth journey

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Precious Heavenly Father, I am obedient and faithful to the direction of the Lord, and prioritize His assignment to me, as it is higher and grander than my own will and desires. I believe that with each assignment He gives me, God also ordains obedient and faithful people who are positioned with me to see that assignment through to completion. Just as Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase, we each do our part by the direction of God as we give all glory to His name! Therefore, I am confident that as I continue to hunger after the things of God, and take the steps to seek God, I will be filled with His strength, His increase, and His joy in all that brings glory to Him.

In Jesus’ name, Amen


Pastor Peter Henneberry

Peter Henneberry,

EMIC Groups Pastor
 Office: 817-252-2925
E-mail/ Group questions