What does it say?
The Lord tells Moses to go to the land which he promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but he the Lord would not go with them, he will send an angle before them to drive out the inhabitants of the land. The sons of Israel went into morning and striped themselves of their ornaments because of the word of the Lord who said: “I will not go in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.” (Ex.1:3, 5) Moses pitched a tent, that he called the tent of meeting, outside of the camp, and when he entered the tent, the Lord would descend in a pillar of cloud and meet with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. While the Pillar of cloud was at the entrance of the tent, the people worshiped the Lord. Joshua was Moses servant and he remained in the tent whenever Moses departed from it. Moses prayed to the Lord to let him know the ways of the Lord, that he may know the Lord and find favor in his sight. He prays that the Lord will reconsider and go with the people, so that they may be distinguished from all the other people on the earth, with God dwelling amongst them. The Lord consented to go amongst the people because Moses had found favor in the sight of the Lord; however, Moses could not see the face of the Lord but the Lord promised to let all of his goodness pass before him and Moses could see his back as he passed. The Lord said that he will proclaim the name of the Lord before him; and he, the Lord, will be gracious to whom he will be gracious, and he will show compassion to whom he will show compassion.
What does it mean?
It means that the Lord is holy and all people are sinners fallen short of the glory of God. Should God condescend and dwell amongst people who sin against him? These people saw the mountain burning and God spoke to them from the mountain. He commanded them to not make an idol of anything in heaven or on earth and bow down to it, yet they made a golden calf and bowed down to it. The Lord was rightly angry with them. If the Lord did not go in their midst but sent an angle ahead of them to fulfill the covenant that he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the Lord would be kinder than they deserved. However, the Lord is amazingly gracious and compassionate. He is gracious to whom he will be gracious and compassionate to whom he will show compassion. The Lord is righteous to forgive whomever he wills.
What shall I do?
I shall worship the Lord because he has shown me all of his goodness. He has been gracious to me and compassionate towards me. There is nothing good in me that is in my flesh, yet he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I deserve death but he has given me eternal life already but not yet, there is a resurrection coming on the last day. All of the goodness of the Lord passed before us in the person of Jesus Christ. The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and the apostles saw his glory. No one, including Moses has seen God at anytime but the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, has revealed God in human flesh. (Jn 1:14, 18) Moses wanted to know the Lord. We know the Lord because he descended and became a man like us in the person of his Son. I shall worship the Lord our God: Father and Son and Holy Spirit.