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. 8 And 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. 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. 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. 11 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.
Relationship with God is personal. Of course experiencing the presence of God has always been, and will be, enhanced by the fellowship of corporate worship. However, the power of God to change exists only in the one on one, face-to-face experience. One cannot know and be moved by God if knowing and being moved by him requires the presence of other people. Otherwise, the experience of God will be present in one moment and non-existent in another, completely defying the nature of Emmanuel, God with us to the very end of the age. God is a God with the ability to bring people to their knees in awe-inspiring corporate worship, but his ultimate desire is to meet us as his beloved children. A face-to-face conversation requires trust and intimacy, and this is how God chooses to speak to us. The relationship with God is “ours” as Christians, but it is first and foremost “yours.” God, the Father, spoke to Moses face-to-face, as a father speaks to a child. Jesus the Son spoke to his disciples as friends, inviting them to “come and see” him for themselves (John 1.39). He showed them who he really was, is, and will always be. To know God is to know how He sees you, how He chooses to approach you. His desire is to always be close. His desire is to draw near.