Moses Went on a Retreats: Why Not You?
While reading the Bible, it always amazes me how I can notice something I never noticed before in a passage I've read countless times before. This happened to me recently while reading in Exodus and it has to do with the "tent of meeting," of all things. Notice where the tent of meeting is located in Exodus 33:7-11:
"Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each of them, at the entrance of their tents and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down, all of them, at the entrance of their tent. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp. . . "
In other words, when Moses went to the tent of meeting, he was going on a retreat, for the tent was "far off from the camp." He had to get away from normal life to a quiet place.
And what happened there? "When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses."
Moses' tent far outside the camp is where the Lord would speak with him. It's far outside the camp because God's voice is more clearly heard in silence and solitude than in the hustle and bustle of the camp.
Forest Haven is a place outside your "camp," whatever or wherever your camp might be. It is, if you will, a tent of meeting available to you where you too can hear God's voice.
What happens on retreats? Note what happens to Moses when he comes down from the mountain where he has received the Ten Commandments from God: "Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God" (Exodus 34:29b). His nearness to God caused his face to shine. People could tell just by looking at him that he had been with God.
The same is true for you. When you go on a retreat, you come back different as a result. You might not notice that your skin is shining, and maybe that won't happen. (It hasn't happened to me yet, either.) But, even if you don't literally glow with God's glory, people will see the difference in your life that comes from spending time in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
What might people see? How about "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control"! (Galatians 5:22-23).