Face to face, as one speaks to a friend
As Moses’ faith and understanding of God increased, he entered into a deeper personal relationship with God.
When Moses first encountered God, God was a voice in a burning bush. While that reveals parts of God’s character (especially in the way the bush burned but was not consumed). It is hard to have a relationship with a burning bush. God repeatedly talked with Moses during the plagues on Egypt. God was present in a cloud and pillar of fire leading them out of Egypt. He was present in the cloud descending on the mountain top.
But, in the tent of meeting God meets with Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. This may be a figurative description explaining the relationship they had formed or it may be a literal description. God has the ability to take on human form (Jesus Christ), and there are instances of the preincarnate Lord appearing to people.
But, here is the key thing to keep in mind. God didn’t change. Moses changed.
Moses has grown and matured from obedience, respect, honor, fear to love and longing and friendship and joy. He didn’t set those other things aside, they are still appropriate responses, but he has grown and matured.
Where are you in your relationship with God? Is He a distant being? Words in a book? Or is He real and substantial and someone he long to talk with every day as your best friend (BFF!)? If you aren’t there, yet, do you recognize that you are the one who needs to change? God is there already – He is waiting with open arms. He doesn’t just consider you to be a friend, you are family.
The people of Israel had chose to remove themselves from God’s presence when they worshiped the golden calf
They inquired of the Lord, they honored Moses (rose and stood at their tent entrance), when saw cloud, stood and worshiped each at the entrance to their tent
God presented Himself to Moses in human form, not in His full heavenly glory
Through Jesus He did and still does