Outside the Camp

From the very beginning we were designed by God with a capacity to know Him, love Him, hear His voice, speak to Him and have our lives significantly shaped by intimacy with Him.

Nothing disrupts our fulfillment of God’s mission in our lives today more than separation from that place and time in God’s immediate presence, where we learn who we are and receive wisdom and strength for living like children of His eternal Kingdom.

God sent His only Son to provide the way to restored intimacy for us all. That is why one of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, God with us.  Some of the greatest promises of the Bible for the people of God seem reserved for those who seek God, who intentionally draw near.

Deuteronomy 4:29 (ESV)“

…you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Psalm 105:3–4 (ESV

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

With all of this in mind, you can see why Exodus 33:7-11 caught my attention during some study time this week.

It is the earliest months of the Exodus, where God is establishing what it means for them to be the people of God…a holy nation, a royal priesthood. It is before the construction of the Tabernacle, and Moses pitched a tent outside the camp. It was a tent designated for anyone wanting to meet with the Lord. In fact, it is called the tent of meeting, and verse 7 says, “…everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting.” Seems God’s presence was available to anyone in the congregation of Israel.

Four times in the five verses it is recorded that the tent was outside the camp and some distance from the camp. This is conjecture on my part, but could that be because seeking the Lord required some degree of separation from all the noise and activity of the camp. It makes sense. Jesus frequently pulled away to a secluded place to pray.

All of this raises a few questions for me…and you:

  1. Is there a hunger in you to be with the Lord?

If there is, it is a hunger from the Lord. We don’t and can’t conjure up that  hunger on our own.

If there isn’t a hunger for the Lord, there is something wrong. Stop, fast and pray until the hunger is back.

  1. Do you have a place and time “outside the camp of busyness and distraction?”

I think we all need sacred time and space allocated in our lives for seeking God.

He has promise to show up when we go there, not on our command, but by His grace (James 4:8)

If you are feeling like your life is lacking purpose, meaning, focus, peace and joy, it is entirely possible it is because you have been missing out on the one place these things are given by our Creator and the One who longs to be near to us.