The LORD said to Moses, "Now that you have brought these people out of Egypt, lead them to the land I solemnly promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I told them long ago that I would give this land to their descendants.
And I will send an angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
Theirs is a land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not travel along with you, for you are a stubborn, unruly people. If I did, I would be tempted to destroy you along the way."
When the people heard these stern words, they went into mourning and refused to wear their jewelry and ornaments.
For the LORD had told Moses to tell them, "You are an unruly, stubborn people. If I were there among you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and ornaments until I decide what to do with you."
So from the time they left Mount Sinai, a the Israelites wore no more jewelry.
It was Moses' custom to set up the tent known as the Tent of Meeting far outside the camp. Everyone who wanted to consult with the LORD would go there.
Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would get up and stand in their tent entrances. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside.
As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at the entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses.
Then all the people would stand and bow low at their tent entrances.
Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, stayed behind in the Tent of Meeting.
Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Take these people up to the Promised Land.' But you haven't told me whom you will send with me. You call me by name and tell me I have found favor with you.
Please, if this is really so, show me your intentions so I will understand you more fully and do exactly what you want me to do. Besides, don't forget that this nation is your very own people."
And the LORD replied, "I will personally go with you, Moses. I will give you rest -- everything will be fine for you."
Then Moses said, "If you don't go with us personally, don't let us move a step from this place.
If you don't go with us, how will anyone ever know that your people and I have found favor with you? How else will they know we are special and distinct from all other people on the earth?"
And the LORD replied to Moses, "I will indeed do what you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and you are my friend."
Then Moses had one more request. "Please let me see your glorious presence," he said.
The LORD replied, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, 'the LORD,' to you. I will show kindness to anyone I choose, and I will show mercy to anyone I choose.
But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live."
The LORD continued, "Stand here on this rock beside me.
As my glorious presence passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed.
Then I will remove my hand, and you will see me from behind. But my face will not be seen."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)