1 The Eternal reigns powerful over all; let the earth sing with joy; let the distant islands celebrate. 2 Clouds and deep darkness encircle Him; righteousness and justice are the bedrock of His rule. 3 Fire precedes Him; it burns away His opponents on all sides. 4 With His lightning flashing about, He illuminates the world; the earth watches and trembles. 5 Like wax before the flame, mountains melt when the Eternal appears, the Master of the whole earth.
6 The heavens display His order and perfect justice; all peoples witness His magnificence. 7 Those who worship idols, who boast in the impotent creations of human hands, will be shamed. Worship Him, all you gods. 8 Zion heard and was glad, and the daughters of Judah celebrated because they saw Your justice, O Eternal One. 9 For You are the Eternal, the Most High, over the entire world; You far exceed all gods.
10 Hate evil, you lovers of the Eternal. He protects the souls of those who follow Him; He rescues them from the devices of the wicked. 11 Light is sown in the just; as it grows, it brings joy to the pure of heart. 12 Celebrate the Eternal God, all you who are faithful; offer thanks to His holy name.
The golden-calf incident creates a deep rift between God and His people. For their safety, God refuses to travel with them to the land of promise; instead, He sends His messenger to guide them. The people’s response to God’s threatened absence is to mourn and refuse to wear their jewelry and fine clothes. The meeting tent and the congregation tent reflect this rift too. The congregation tent is to be God’s unique dwelling with His people, so it is located right in the middle of the camp. But now there is another tent, the meeting tent set up a long way from camp, far from the contagion of evil spreading there. From time to time, God and Moses meet there to talk; and Joshua stands watch over this intimate encounter, for only Joshua and Moses are not imperiled when the rest of Israel violates God’s directive and worships the golden calf. Moses speaks with God and does his best to get God back on good terms with His covenant people.
Moses(to the Lord):12 Look, You tell me, “Lead these people!” but You haven’t yet told me whom You will send to accompany me. Yet You tell me, “I know you by name, and you have gained My trust and blessing.” 13 If I have gained Your trust and blessing, reveal Your way to me so that I can truly know You, and so that I may gain Your favor. Remember that this nation is Your covenant people.
Eternal One:14 My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest.
Moses:15 If Your presence doesn’t travel with me, then don’t lead us away from here. 16 How will the people know that I have gained Your trust and blessing if You do not travel with us? Isn’t it the very fact that Your presence travels with us that distinguishes us from every other people on earth?
Eternal One:17 I will do what you have said because you have gained My trust and blessing, and I know you by name.
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