Monday, 3 February 2014

(35) February 4: Exodus 34-36 & Matthew 23:1-22

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read note what is new compared with earlier chapters.

To ponder:
Human beings need a mediator between them and God. Previously this was only hinted at. Again and again we have read as in verse 1 “the LORD said to Moses.” Nevertheless, God spoke directly to Israel in chapter 20. However, their idolatry has shown they would not be able to endue this. So Moses is now central. Everything is through him, and would now be through mediators until the coming of Christ.
            Ending yesterday’s reading, Moses asks to see God’s “glory,” which is the manifestation of God’s nature encompassed in his name “the LORD” (33v19-23). God himself stresses two things: His “goodness,” and his sovereignty - seen in his right to dispense mercy and compassion as he chooses. Paul notes how we are still tempted to question this right, implying God is unjust for saving only some (Rom 9v10-23).
Even Moses cannot witness God’s glory directly and live, probably (as elsewhere in scripture) because his sin would cause him to be consumed. So God calls Moses up the mountain again and proclaims his name, whilst hiding Moses in a cleft of the rock (33v22). In 34v6-7 God summarises his own character!
Like Moses the only fitting response is worship, and an appeal for mercy on the basis of that character (34v8-9). Expressing his sovereign right to show mercy to Israel despite her unworthiness, God has already shown he is disposed to forgive, having asked Moses to chisel out two new stone tablets. Although the people immediately broke the covenant just made, without requiring their assent, God makes another, reiterating his promise to settle the people in the land. What reassurance. God perseveres with those he chooses.
This time the covenant is made directly with Moses as representative of the people, just as the new covenant is made with Christ as ours. In the light of Israel’s idolatry, the importance of not making treaties or intermarrying with the nations is stressed. Rather, the people are to destroy all that might lead them astray and ensure no false gods are worshipped. This warns us to guard our hearts in a pluralistic society. As the covenant is renewed, its commands about the three festivals are then reiterated.
The heightened nature of Moses’ meeting with God is seen in his being sustained without food and water for the entire forty days. And when he descended, the people’s distance from God due to their sin was seen in the fact they couldn’t even come near Moses’ because his face reflected God’s glory. Paul explains this was because of the hardness of their hearts. By contrast, having turned to the Lord we now do behold God’s glory in Christ, and are ourselves being transformed into that glory (2 Cor 3v7-18).
            In what follows it is stressed that the commands given Moses on the mountain are obeyed “just as the LORD commanded.” Moses assembles the people, reaffirms the Sabbath and instructs them on building the tabernacle. Everyone whose “heart moved” them give to the work until more than enough is received. Moreover, the women use their skill, and the men God promised to equip with his Spirit are given the ability to teach others. It’s as if the golden calf had never been made. That’s grace.
Praying it home:
Praise God for his attributes in 34v6-7. Pray that he would transform your from glory into glory (2 Cor 3v18)

Thinking further:
None today.

If you receive this post by email, visit and make a comment.


Post a Comment