Consequences of Unbelief

Israel's transgression was great when they made the molten calf and began worshipping it. But God is rich in mercy, which is divine favor, and grace, which is withholding of merited judgment. God accepts His people back and repeats His promise to be echoed in their ears.

Exodus 33
:1 And the Lord said unto Moses,
    Depart, and go up hence,
        thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt,
        unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying,
            Unto thy seed will I give it:
:2 And I will send an angel before thee;
    and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite,
        and the Hittite, and the Perizzite,
        the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
:3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey:
        for I will not go up in the midst of thee;
        for thou art a stiffnecked people:
        lest I consume thee in the way.
:4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned:
    and no man did put on him his ornaments. [jewelry and decorated clothing]
:5 For the Lord had said unto Moses,
        Say unto the children of Israel,
            Ye are a stiffnecked people:
            I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment,
                and consume thee:
            therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee,
            that I may know what to do unto thee.
:6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.
:7 And Moses took the tabernacle,
    and pitched it without the camp,
        afar off from the camp, [the presence of God was no longer dwelling within the camp]
    and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation.
    And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord
        went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation,
            which was without the camp.

This reference to a tabernacle is a tent that was set up for worshipping God, not yet the tabernacle that was to house the ark of the covenant, it had not been made yet. That was built in Chapter 36 and following.

Even after the people were drawn away from worshipping God He was willing to take them back and be their God and fulfill His promise to them. Moses also needs reassuring after Israel's transgression. After all Moses was quite angry even to the point of breaking the tables that God had written His Word on. In Exodus 33:8 - 23 God tells us of His conversation with Moses. He comforts, encourages and strengthens him for God knows that the journey will still be arduous.

Exodus 33
:8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle,
    that all the people rose up,
    and stood every man at his tent door,
    and looked after Moses,
        until he was gone into the tabernacle.
:9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle,
    the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle,
    and the Lord talked with Moses.
:10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door:
    and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
:11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face,
    as a man speaketh unto his friend. [what a comfort]
    And he turned again into the camp:
    but his servant Joshua,
        the son of Nun, a young man,
    departed not out of the tabernacle. 
        [this is our first glimpse of Joshua in training to be a leader]
:12 And Moses said unto the Lord,
        See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people:
        and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me.
        Yet thou hast said,
                I [God] know thee [Moses] by name,
                and thou [Moses] hast also found grace in my sight.
                [Moses is forgiven also-great comfort and assurance]
:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I [Moses] have found grace in thy sight,
    shew me now thy way,
    that I may know thee,
    that I may find grace in thy sight:
    and consider that this nation is thy people.
:14 And he [God] said,
        My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
        [You cannot do better than that]
:15 And he [Moses] said unto him [God],
        If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
:16 For wherein shall it be known here 
    that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight?
    is it not in that thou goest with us?
    so shall we be separated,
        I and thy people,
    from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
    [Separating God's people from the other inhabitants keeps Israel faithful to Him]
:17 And the Lord said unto Moses,
        I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken:
        for thou hast found grace in my sight,
        and I know thee by name. [what a relationship]
:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
        [Moses is seeking strength and reassurance]
:19 And he [God] said,
        I will make all my goodness pass before thee,
        and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee;
        and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious,
        and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
:20 And he said,
        Thou canst not see my face:
            for there shall no man see me, and live.
:21 And the Lord said,
        Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
:22   And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by,
        that I will put thee in a clift of the rock,
        and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
:23   And I will take away mine hand,
        and thou shalt see my back parts:
        but my face shall not be seen.

What God did for Moses gave him the strength and encouragement to continue in His Word and be faithful to him. What has God done for us? He sent His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God the greatest lover
so loved to the greatest degree
the world, the greatest number
that he gave the greatest act
his only begotten son, the greatest gift
that whosoever the greatest invitation
believeth  the greatest simplicity
in him the greatest person
should not perish, the greatest deliverance
but  the greatest difference
have  the greatest certainty
everlasting life. the greatest possession

John 3:16

God saved Israel from destruction because He saw you and me. God gave the Children of Israel the tabernacle and ark of the covenant so that they could have visible evidence of their God. We have the living witness within us who believe. We have His written Word so that we may continually read, study and speak it to manifest the power of God.

Setting up the Tabernacle and ark of the testimony is the last chapter in the book of Exodus. The book of Leviticus is the law that God gave Moses to tell the Children of Israel so that they could live justly before Him. I encourage you to read it. Why? For we are redeemed from the law. You need to know what you are redeemed from. We no longer have to work out our own salvation it is given freely in Christ Jesus. Christ is our passover lamb redeeming us. He is the ultimate sacrifice.