Sunday June 24th
A man arrived home from work promptly at 5pm as he always did each day but as soon as he stepped through the door, his wife started yelling at him.
"Why don't you ever wipe your feet before walking into the house? ..... Where's the shopping I asked you to do on the way home? ..... Why don't you ever buy me flowers anymore?"
This goes on for nearly 2 hours - nothing he says or does seems to be good enough for her. By 7 o’clock, he decides to try a diplomatic approach.
"Darling," he says, "Please - let's start over. Let me go back outside and shut the door. Then I'll open the door and come in again. And we can pretend I've just come home. What do you think about that?"
"OK," she replies reluctantly.
So he puts on his coat, goes outside, shuts the door, waits about a minute, opens the door, and steps inside with a smile on his face. He announces, in a musical tone, "Oh darling, I'm home."
And his wife says, "And just where have you been? It's after seven o'clock!"
In Exodus chapter 34 God allows Moses to start over with a new copy of the 10 Commandments:
Now the Lord said to Moses, “Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered. 2 So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain. 3 No man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; even the flocks and the herds may not graze in front of that mountain.” 4 So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand.
God is being very gracious to Moses here, because Moses had smashed the original copies of the 10 Commandments to pieces in anger when the people were worshipping the golden calf. But God is a God of second chances (and third and fourth and fifth chances) which is exactly how He describes himself to Moses:
5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. 6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
This same description of God’s faithfulness and love is found in quite a few other scriptures, such as Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8, Joel 2:13 and Jonah 4:2. The point of these verses is that God’s mercy is continually available despite the dismal failure of His people to follow His commandments. He will not abandon His people even when they abandon Him.
Now look at the request that Moses makes on behalf of the people:
8 Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. 9 He said, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.”
Moses specifically asks God to “go along in our midst”. But back in chapter 33 God specifically said that He would not do this, because the people were too sinful, too “stiff-necked”
Exodus 33:3 “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.”
God told Moses that He couldn’t go along for the journey with this sinful, stiff-necked bunch of Hebrews, but now Moses points out that their sinfulness is the very reason why they so desperately need the Presence of God.
Moses knows that God has a soft and tender heart towards them, despite their repeated failures. And God confirms that with His reply:
10 Then God said, “Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the Lord, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.
So God says, “Alright, I’m going to do this thing for you, but you better understand that this is serious process! If I do what you’re asking me to do, there are some things that I expect from you also:
11 “Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. 12 Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13 But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— 15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.
God is always willing to give us another try, but He warns the Israelites that they can’t just keep repeating the same old patterns. If they want Him to be their God, He will renew His covenant with them. But they can’t be in covenant with Him if they are going to make covenants with all of the pagan groups that they will meet in the Promised Land. And especially if they start worshipping their pagan Gods!
Verses 17-27 summarize their part in the covenant:
28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
So Moses completes his task, look what happens next:
29 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
Matthew 17:1-2 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John the brother of James, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.2 And His appearance changed dramatically in their presence; and His face shone [with heavenly glory, clear and bright] like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light.
2nd Corinthians 2:18 but we all with unveiled faces are being transformed into this same image from glory to glory.