Exodus: Week 22 Study Guide

What’s it like to see God face-to-face? In part 22 of our study through the Book of Exodus, we learn about the tabernacle (the tent of meeting) where the presence of God would dwell among His people. Learn how we can live in and be guided by God’s presence every day!


Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to consider, questions to personally reflect on and/or discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, and some action points for the week. 

Memory Verse of the Week: Exodus 33:11 (NIV)

“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”

The Tent of Meeting

READ: Exodus 33:1–10 (NIV)

In Exodus 33, we’re introduced to the place called the tent (or tabernacle) of meeting. After the people had repented of their idolatry and turned their hearts back toward the Lord, Moses took the next step towards revival and restored relationship. He made his own tent a tabernacle where he would meet with God and the people would meet to worship God.

What is a tabernacle? It’s a dwelling place; a place to rest and call home. While on the mountain, God instructed Moses to make a tabernacle. But the tabernacle wasn’t built yet. So, in the meantime, Moses—as the leader of the people, who desired for them to have intimate and right relationship with God—used his tent. He didn’t plan this ahead of time. Instead, he sought God with all he had and gave God all he had. And God used Moses’ passion and devotion to move in the hearts of the people.

This is seen clearly in the way the people responded when they saw Moses go into the tent: “Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose.” They watched to see what Moses did. When he worshiped, they worshiped. His example helped guide the people to draw close to God.

Now, I want to point out something that’s just so amazing, beautiful, and, I hope, encouraging! When Moses went into the tent, the presence of God, as seen by the people through the pillar of cloud, came to meet with Him. But for us today, meeting with God doesn’t require a specific location. We don’t need to go to a tabernacle, temple, or church to meet with the Lord. According to John 1:14 (NIV), “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

Ephesians 3:17 draws a parallel to Exodus 33, declaring that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith! He who appeared in a pillar of cloud tabernacled among us, fully human and fully God, in order to fulfill the law and die for our sins so the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead could live in us! We can meet with Him any time, any place, because He has made His special table, His home, in our hearts. 

And just like Moses’ relationship with the Lord served to draw the people to worship, our lives can do the same. Everywhere we go, as we carry the presence of God with us and walk in intimacy with Him, our testimony and the fruit of our close relationship with Him can be used by God to draw people to Jesus, to receive for themselves that which we have received by faith. 

So, how are you leading by example? How are you worshiping Him publicly with your life?

Discussion Question 1: How did Moses’ relationship with the Lord serve as an example for the people? How can your life do the same for those around you?

Face-to-Face Friends

READ: Exodus 33:11 (NIV)

It’s important to have good friends in this world. The truth is the world is a hard, unforgiving, dark place filled with temptation to sin and pressure to accept sin as good and normal. It’s full of brokenness, pain, and hate. We need true friends to confide in and confess to, to navigate all the darkness, to be 100% real with, to hold one another accountable, to build one another up, and spur one another on. 

In light of that, consider one of the most beautiful sentences in all of the Bible: “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”

Isn’t this amazing? But what does it mean? Well, let’s break it down:

“Face to face”: In this passage, the expression is figurative meaning free and open fellowship. Moses couldn’t see the actual face of God the Father in His glory (Exodus 33:20). Why? Matthew Poole put it this way: “If God should display all the beams of his glory to him, it would certainly astonish, overwhelm, and destroy him.” But His presence was with Moses and His voice spoke openly with Him. 

“As one speaks to a friend”: There was a beautiful level of comfort for Moses in talking with God. The conversations between them were free, vulnerable, and open. John Gill explains it as “without any reserve or show of authority, or causing dread and fear.” There was a deep intimacy and closeness in their relationship. 

Friends, this is the kind of relationship you can have with the Lord! It’s available to you by the grace of God through faith in Jesus! There is no veil or separation between us! Because of Jesus, the Spirit of the living God lives in you, and you have unlimited access and closeness with Him. You can speak with Him any time as one speaks to a friend because He is your friend (John 15:13–14).

Continuing on, we’re told Joshua, Moses’ protégé, stayed inside the tent. He likely lived there to assist and direct those who came to seek God in Moses’s absence. The deep and intimate relationship Moses shared with the Lord served as an example to the entire nation, but it was also a special example to Joshua who got to witness it firsthand. When Moses drew close to God, it also drew Joshua close to God.

This is what true discipleship looks like. You bring someone along by making them part of your life. They get to witness how you live and interact with others in light of your relationship with Jesus, but they also get to witnesses your personal relationship with Jesus. They get to personally see the fruit of it, both publicly and privately. 

Discussion Question 2: How is your relationship with the Lord impacting others? How can you set an example of friendship with Jesus to them?  

Glory Story

READ: Exodus 33:12–20 (NIV)

You can tell a lot about a person’s heart by what they ask for. Our hearts are revealed by what we ask for. 

With that as a backdrop, pay close attention to what Moses asks for here in this passage. He doesn’t ask God for wealth, length of years, the respect of others, or any other form of personal gain. Instead, Moses asks to see the Lord’s glory, which is another way of asking to see God in all His fullness without any barrier or obstruction between them. In asking for this, the heart of Moses is revealed because it shows that nothing mattered more to Moses than the One who appeared to him in the middle of nowhere, placed a supernatural calling on his life, and accomplished the impossible through him. Moses wanted to know the One who changed his life and how he could come closer to the very core of His very being! 

For those who have experienced the transforming power of Jesus in their lives, there’s a familiar ring in this. When your life apart from God gets interrupted by Him, when your eyes and heart are finally opened to what He actually did for you on the cross, when His Spirit makes the historical personal, and when you begin to see Him expressing a new life through your life and the impossible becoming possible, your heart changes. And you start caring about different things. More than anything in this world, you’re drawn to the same desire as Moses . . . to be as close as possible to the Lord and to bask in His glory.

May our hearts be known by what we ask for as we seek a deeper, fuller, and clearer view of the One whose glory will illuminate heaven for all eternity!

Discussion Question 3: What are you asking the Lord for in this season?


As you draw deeper into relationship with the Lord through prayer and devotion, be intentional to bring someone along with you. Maybe it’s your own child, grandchild, or a nephew or niece. Maybe it’s a coworker, a classmate, or a new person at church. Make sure you have someone to join you on this journey!


Have you ever felt like you needed a second chance? In week 23, we’ll read about the remaking of the Ten Commandment tablets, discover the patience and mercy of God to give us second chances, and how God’s presence transforms us.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.