As we look at the Christian landscape, only a portion of believers in Jesus appear to enjoy an intimate, vibrant relationship with God. Are they God's favorites? Is it possible that there are some people who have "qualified" for a deeper intimacy with Him?
In Exodus 24, we can see here about people who were at four different levels of intimacy with God. The first level contained the Israelites who Moses led out of the camp to meet with God at the foot of the mountain (Ex. 19:17). This group worshiped God from a distance. The second level was attained by "Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of Israel's elders" (Ex. 24:1). They ascended the mountain and actually "saw the God of Israel" (vv. 9 - 10). In fact, they ate and drank in His presence (v. 11). The third level was realized by Joshua and Moses who "set out" to receive God's commands inscribed in stone (v. 13). Why did Joshua receive this honor to accompany Moses? In Exodus 33:11, we catch a glimpse into his heart. Joshua desired intimacy with God. He preferred to be in God's presence, to be identified with Him. The fourth level was reached solely by Moses with whom the Lord spoke "face to face, as one speaks to a friend" (Ex. 33:11).
Oswald Sanders, in his sermon on Exodus 24, concluded: "Every one of us is as close to God as we have chosen. It is not as close as we would like to be, or what we sometimes want to be". God will not drag us up the "mountain". But He sees the desire of our heart as displayed in our choices, and as you "come close to God. . . God will come close to you" (James 4:8). Don't confuse familiarity with intimacy. Familiarity is knowing about God; intimacy is knowing God.