Exodus 35:20-35 (Offerings and Artisans)

Exodus 35:20-35
Offerings and Artisans

If you travel around America, especially in the older sections where people moved to and settled, there is one thing you will find of particular note. Normally, right in the center of the original town that was settled, there is a church building. It is where everything else radiates out from.

Further, this is usually the oldest building in the town, or it was built right at the same time as the other oldest buildings. In other words, the people came together to form a community, and while they were either building their own houses, or while they were still living in wagons or tents, they set about to build the house of God where they could meet, worship, marry, bury their dead, and be instructed by the man designated or elected by them to lead them in the pursuit of God.

In ancient Israel, Moses was that man. The people have come out of Egypt and are on their way to the Land of Promise. However, before they arrive there, they are already set to build the place where the Lord will reside. It will be the spot where they come for meeting with Him. It will be right in their midst, and everything else will radiate out from that spot.

When the people finally get to the land of promise, the tabernacle will be set up and it will be the focal point of the land for many years, even until the time of David. He will begin to prepare for the building of a temple, and his son Solomon will be the one to build it. But until then, this tabernacle will be the continuous reminder of the Presence of the Lord living among them.

It’s a sad thought that we no longer set out to establish new communities with a central focus on the Lord. We might build a new town around a Walmart or a factory, but the churches are spread out, away from the town’s center. Quite often, they are missing altogether.

Text Verse: “Thus says the Lord:
‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the Lord of hosts,
The Holy Mountain.’ Zechariah 8:3

In the Gentile world, people are still coming to Christ in great numbers. New groups are hearing of the Lord and are building a place where they can go and worship Him. This is so even in the remotest parts of the earth. But for the most part, the more populous places of the earth are moving in the opposite direction.

Their worship is directed to false gods, or to no God at all. While this is occurring, Israel is being prepared for the building of their third temple. It will be where they go to honor the Lord of their past, but not yet in the way that He has determined acceptable. They will go through the tribulation period and at the end of it, He will return to them and dwell in their midst.

He must long for this day, as we all should. The dwelling of the Lord among His chosen people Israel is not something to be taken lightly. It is a sign that He is the covenant keeping Lord who will never fail to keep His promises to them, despite their failures in His presence. The true beginning of the dwelling of the Lord among His people is pictured in His dwelling among Israel in the tabernacle.

The actual beginning of the process of constructing this wonderful edifice is detailed in today’s verses. What a marvelous thing it must have been for these people to anticipate, especially after what they had done with the golden calf. Peace was restored, and the Lord would dwell among them after all.

And so it will be once again after the tribulation period. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Willing Offering to the Lord (verses 20-29)

20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.

In the first half of this chapter, three specific divisions were made by the mouth of Moses as directed by the Lord. The first was applicable to all people and came in the form of a command. This was in verses 1-3, and which comprised the law of the Sabbath as pertained to the congregation.

The second was a request from all of the congregation concerning the offering to the Lord. However, it was qualified with the words, “Whoever is of a willing heart.” Within this, there would be divisions as well. Those with a willing heart, do not necessarily mean they have something needed that they could give. Those who had something to give, may not have had a willing heart to give it. And then there are those that both had needed items, and they also had the heart to give.

And finally, the last division spoke to the “gifted artisans” among the people. Those who had an ability for the making of the sacred things were petitioned to come and assist in the work. With these commands, petitions, and instructions now imparted to the people, they are said to have “departed from the presence of Moses.”

They will have to consider the command of the Sabbath, search their goods and their hearts for offerings, and determine if their skills are acceptable for assisting in the making of the things required by the Lord. As they are in the wilderness, time is not a consideration. Rather, there is simply a need for willingness to step forward and demonstrate obedience in the three areas specified.

21 Then everyone came whose heart was stirred,

In Exodus 25:2, when the original call for materials was made to Moses while with the Lord on Sinai, it said, kal ish asher yidevenu libbow, literally “…of every man whose heart impels him.” Now a completely different word is used. It says, kal ish asher nesaow libbow, or basically, “everyone whose heart was lifted up.” Instead of the word nadav, or “impel,” it says nasa or “lift.”

There is then the sense of the removal of a weight which had burdened them. As a congregation, they had departed from the Lord and fashioned a golden calf. The covenant was annulled in Moses’ breaking of the original tablets, and there was the removal of the Lord from the midst of the people.

Instead, He had met with Moses a far distance from the camp. There was no surety as to what their fate would be as Moses once again ascended the mountain and stayed for a second forty-day period petitioning the Lord and being instructed concerning the people. They didn’t even know if He would go with them or not.

Now Moses has returned and given them the news. A tabernacle will be built, and He will be in their midst. He will dwell among His people Israel. The hearts are lifted now in gratitude to that fact.

21 (con’t) and everyone whose spirit was willing,

Only now is the term nadav used. It says, v’kol asher nadevah ruakhow otow – “and everyone whose spirit in him was impelled.” This is the second of eighteen times it will be seen. It means to incite or to impel. It is the kind of willingness that would impel a person to volunteer as a soldier after their country was attacked.

It would also be the type of offering someone would make when a great need arose in a community or a church. They would see the need and their heart would impel them forward to meet the need. This is exactly what the Lord is looking for. With their hearts lifted because of the grace and mercy of the Lord, their spirits are now impelled forward in an act of giving.

It is the same sentiment that Paul uses in the New Testament concerning one’s giving in church for any reason. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he gives one of only two specific verses concerning giving in our dispensation of grace. There he wrote –

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

There was to be nothing forced upon the people for this most sacred of habitations. Rather, the bestowal of the offerings was solely up to how their heart urged them on.

21 (con’t) and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.

Note for your Bible, it says here ohel moed, or “tent of meeting.” The translation should say “tent,” not “tabernacle.” Despite this, the people whose hearts were lifted and whose spirits impelled them are now said to come forward with their offerings.

The word used for offering is terumah. It indicates an offering for sacred use which is lifted up as if exalted. The people probably came, lifted the gift above their heads as a note of devotion to the Lord, and then bowed to place it among the piles of things which were being offered.

One can see in this the contrast between the offering now made to the Lord and that which was made for the golden calf. At that time, Aaron told the people to break off their earrings using a word which implied near violence. Now they humbly bring a terumah which is accompanied by a lifted heart and a willing soul.

22 They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart,

Now in this verse, the heart is described as nadav or “impelled to give.” They first needed to have their hearts lifted. When the heart was lifted, the soul was willing, and now from that the heart is made willing as well. The words show us the process of what is going on. And it is the same as what occurs in us today. When we are dispirited, giving isn’t the first thing on our mind, but when our hearts are lifted up, then our souls will be willing to give, and from that springs forth a willing heart.

The wording of this verse is debated. It says, v’yabou ha’anashim al hannashim – “and they came the men over and above the women.” What it appears to be saying is that the women were the first and prominent givers in the process, and only then the men came forward and gave of their things. If so, it would follow the normal pattern of the ladies being more disposed to such things than men, but their example prompts the men on to giving as well.

22 (con’t) and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the Lord.

There are five things which are mentioned here. The first is khakh. It is the first of 7 times it will be seen. The word comes from khoakh which indicates a thorn. That is derived from a root meaning to pierce, as a thorn would pierce. Thus, this is some type of thing which pierces, such as an earring, a nose ring, a hook, or the like. It is used in Ezekiel 38 in this way –

“I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.” Ezekiel 38:4

The next is nezem. These are the same as the earrings mentioned in Exodus 32 when Aaron asked the people to break off their earrings and give them to him for the golden calf.

Next are tabbaath or “rings.” This comes from another word, taba, which means “to sink.” This then gives the idea of a signet which is sunk into clay or wax in order to make a seal. From this comes the idea of any ring. It is the same word used to describe the rings on the Ark, Table of Showbread, and the other things to be made.

Next is mentioned kumaz. This is the first of two times it will be seen. It isn’t sure what it means, but maybe a golden ornament, or perhaps a bracelet. It comes from an unused root meaning “to store away,” and so it is probably some type of jewelry or item that is kept stored away, or that is used to store something away.

And finally is mentioned keli. It is a general word that is widely translated as utensil, implement, article, vessel, and the like. All of these precious gold items were brought forward and waved as a wave offering by the people; an offering of gold to Yehovah. The gold of these items will be used to signify the deity of Christ as well as His kingly authority.

23 And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them.

The one major note of disagreement with this verse as far as translation is the word tekhashim, which is translated here as “badger skins.” This is not likely. Rather it is the skins of a sea animal like a seal, porpoise, or a manatee. Older versions made a guess as to what tekhashim meant, and it was not a good guess.

Each of these was previously mentioned and each detail of them was precisely seen to picture the Person and work of Christ. The blue signifies the law; the purple royalty, scarlet pictures war, blood, and/or judgment; fine linen symbolizes righteousness, goats hair signifies an awareness of sin and that it will be punished; the ram skins died red reveal Christ’s atoning blood covering our sin; and the skin of the marine animal pictures Christ’s order and harmony covering us from chaos and confusion

24 Everyone who offered an offering of silver or bronze brought the Lord’s offering.

Again, the call was made for these articles, and the people are found to be obedient in bringing them as well. The silver symbolizes redemption and the bronze judgment. These were brought as an offering lifted up before the Lord.

The silver which is specifically to be used in the tabernacle itself will actually come from a mandatory redemption tax, but this silver may have been used for some unnamed articles for the service of the Lord.

24 (con’t) And everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it.

The acacia wood represents the incorruptible nature of Christ’s humanity. This was brought forward for the meleket abodah, or work of labor. It is a fitting choice of words considering what it symbolizes – the work of labor of those items which picture the humanity of the Lord by which He accomplished His earthly work.

25 All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands,

v’kal ishah khakmat lev b’yadeha tavu – “And all the women who were wise of  heart with their hands spun.” Their skill is said to be a skill which is reflected in a wise heart. The word for “spun” is tavah. It will only be used here and in the next verse in the entire Bible. It comes from a root which means “to spin” and thus it simply means, “spun.” The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is said to do this type of labor. There it says –

“She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.” Proverbs 31:19

25 (con’t) and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

The process of making yarn would be very simple, just as described in the Proverbs. It was probably done by the use of a wheel and a spindle and either with or without a distaff. Once the yarn was spun of the various dyes, or simply made into white fine linen, then it was brought forward as their offering.

26 And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair.

This verse is translated one of two ways. Either it is “the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats hair,” or it is “the women whose heart stirred them up, in wisdom, spun goats hair.” The word for “stirred” is the same as that which was used in verse 21, nasa, or “lifted,” rather than nadav, or impelled.”

Either way, what appears to be the case is that the goats hair took a special skill, or more laborious effort than that which went beyond the normal spinning of the other mentioned items. Thus, the different word for the prompting of the heart is used.

And more, as goat’s hair pictures an awareness of sin, the Bible is highlighting this specifically. It shows that these women’s hearts were impelled forward concerning the sin-debt in their lives.

27 The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate,

Now are mentioned the nasiim or “rulers.” They are the ones to bring the special stones which would be used on Aaron’s shoulder pieces and on the breastplate of judgment. What we have here has been an order of offerings. The first were ornaments worn on the body, then after that were the special treasures or the possessions of the people, the offering of the labors of the females, and finally the offerings of the rulers which consist of the princely jewels.

28 and spices and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.

The rulers also brought the spices and the oil for the light, and those for the special anointing oil and incense as well. It would be expected that the rulers would have such items on hand, whereas the common people would be less likely to have them in their possession. It is no different today where some have Rolex watches and diamond earrings, but the common people have tee shirts and blue jeans. However, in the end, every need that was named is filled by the various people.

29 The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.

This verse is translated in a surprising number of ways, and yet most of them get the general sense of what is being said. The people, both men and women, whose hearts had been willing, are the ones who brought, for every kind of work, the things that Yehovah commanded to be done, by the hand of Moses, which were to be brought by the children of Israel as a willing offering to Yehovah. Concerning all of the previous details since verse 21, Matthew Henry states –

“Without a willing mind, costly offerings would be abhorred; with it, the smallest will be accepted. Our hearts are willing, when we cheerfully assist in promoting the cause of God. Those who are diligent and contented in employments considered mean, are as much accepted of God as those engaged in splendid services. The women who spun the goats’ hair were wise-hearted, because they did it heartily to the Lord. Thus the labourer, mechanic, or servant who attends to his work in the faith and fear of God, may be as wise, for his place, as the most useful minister, and he equally accepted of the Lord. Our wisdom and duty consist in giving God the glory and use of our talents, be they many or few.” Matthew Henry

He is correct in this, and what is implied in both verse 22 and in this verse, is that there were some whose hearts weren’t stirred up. They were neither lifted up, nor were they impelled, to give of their goods in the service of the Lord. They are the same people today who will gladly sit on the sidelines and let nothing change their demeanor, even when something is hoped for or needed.

And of course, there were certainly some who came forward hoping everyone would see that they were giving, even though their hearts didn’t give a hoot about the cause. Jesus addressed those types in Matthew 6.

In the end, the Lord is looking on the heart, and He is looking for those who have their hearts lifted up towards Him, and who are willing to give without expecting anything in return. For Israel, they would be given the honor of having Him dwell in their presence in a magnificent edifice. What more reward could they ask for?

How much can I give Lord; from You I have received so much
I know that what I give is never enough
I have been blessed with Your salvation, grace, mercy, and such
My life is abundantly blessed when it once was so rough

Now, even the worst of times is filled with joy
I have a hope which transcends the troubles of this world
How much can I give Lord, for others to employ
Let my heart be appreciative of the wonders You have unfurled

Help me to never be tight-fisted or to turn away from a need
Grant me the heart to respond in turn as You have blessed me
When I see a lack that needs filling, may I fill it with speed
May my heart be willing to share, and to do so joyfully

II. Bezalel and Aholiab (verses 30-35)

30 And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;

Bezalel was specifically named by the Lord in Exodus 31. These verses now are exceedingly similar to those of Exodus 31:1-6. Moses simply repeats the words of Yehovah to the people, and the only substantial differences in them are to be found in the additional words of verses 34 and 35.

The name Betsalel is formed of three parts. The el at the end means “God.” The “b” at the beginning signifies “in.” and the middle part comes from the noun tsel, meaning shadow. Thus his name means “In the Shadow of God.” As shade is considered a protection, like the tabernacle, his name is a metaphor for “In the Protection of God.”

He is the son of Uri, which means something like either “My Light” or “Light of Yehovah.” The name of Uri’s father is Hur which means “White.” And Judah means Praise. It is Bezalel who will be the chief artificer for the construction of the tabernacle and everything associated with it. This is because of the next words…

31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God,

The term male or “fill” gives the idea of being set apart or consecrated for a specific task. In this case, he is said to be filled with the ruakh elohim or “Spirit of God.” This means that his work will be acceptable concerning the things which are required for him to accomplish. In this case, he is said to be specifically filled in four particular ways…

31 (con’t) in wisdom

The word is khokmah. It signifies wisdom in a good sense. It is a common word, but it is used a great deal the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. It refers to understanding which is rightly applied in a wise, prudent, or beneficial way.

31 (con’t) and understanding,

The word is tebunah. It indicates discretion, reason, skillfulness, understanding, and wisdom. Again, it is mostly used in Proverbs and it indicates an ability to comprehend. A man may see a storm coming and say, “Gee, it’s going to rain,” but he may not understand that the lightening in the storm can reach out beyond the storm itself and kill him before the storm even arrives. Having a knowledge of something does not mean that there is an understanding of the thing.

31 (con’t) in knowledge

The word is daath. It was first seen in Genesis 2:9 when speaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It indicates knowledge in the general sense. One is either aware of something or they are not. If they are, then they can use that for understanding or even in wisdom. In this we can think of empirical, experimental, or experiential knowledge.

Therefore, we can rightly assume that Bezalel was probably already able to accomplish the things necessary for the work to be done. He had empirical knowledge, experimental knowledge, and experiential knowledge, all of which comprised who he was based on what he had already learned.

31 (con’t) and all manner of workmanship,

The word is melakah. It is the same as the word malak, or angel, and so it signifies employment in a task or job, but never in a servile way. Rather it would be in an industry or occupation. Just as an angel or a messenger has his duty to carry out, this indicates the ability to accomplish the task at hand by employing the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom one possesses.

In every aspect – in his name, in the name of his father and grandfather, in the tribe he descends from, and in his skills and abilities – in each of these he makes a marvelous picture of Christ. If you missed the sermon where he was introduced, it would be worth the time to go back and see how intricately each of these aspects of him points to the coming Christ.

In just his aspects of workmanship, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, he is seen as a marvelous type of Christ who possesses the Holy Spirit without measure, and “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

32 to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze,

All of the tasks and designs for the sanctuary had been laid out in minute detail by the Lord to Moses. It would be Bezalel who would be in charge of carrying out the work. The designs which needed to be made, the gold that needed to be shaped, the silver which needed to be refined and poured into molds or beaten into implements, and the bronze which needed to be formed as necessary – all of it required the work of a master craftsman.

Bezalel was selected for the task, and he was capable of seeing it to its completion. The Lord knew him and his capabilities, and he was selected as the perfect artificer for the job, and the perfect picture of Christ to come. But the tasks thus far mentioned are not the total of his abilities. He could do even more…

33 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.

The word for both cutting and carving is the same. In other words, the stones to be cut and the wood to be carved uses this same rare word, kharosheth. In this noun form, it is found only here and in Exodus 31:5 when Bezalel was first introduced. It indicates mechanical work such as carved or cut, and it is actually a noun, but it is almost exclusively translated as a verb.

34 “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach,

These words are not a part of what was recorded in Exodus 31. Not only would Bezalel have the abilities to form everything necessary to build the edifice and implements, but he would also have the ability to teach. What he could do was not to be limited to him, but he would be an instructor of others who would participate in the process until completion. And this is true with another person…

34 (con’t) in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.

Another person who would have the gift of teaching would be Aholiab. The name Aholiab comes from av, which means “father,” and ohel, which means “tent.” Therefore, the name means “Father’s Tent,” just as the tabernacle pictures the Father’s Tent. He is the son of Ahisamach which means “My Brother has Supported.” And finally, he is from the tribe of Dan which means “Judge.” Again, like Bezalel, everything about him points to Christ.

*35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.

The passage and the chapter end today with these words. Several categories of workmen are specified – the kharash, or the engraver, would more aptly be called an artificer. He would be skilled in cutting stone as well as engraving it. The word also means a person who might be a skilled cutter of wood, or an iron worker, etc.

The next is the “designer.” The verb used to describe him indicates “to consider,” and so he who would “count and calculate the threads in weaving figures after the manner of tapestry or carpet. His work was chiefly used in the curtains and veil of the tabernacle, in the ephod and the breastplate” (Albert Barnes).

The next is the “tapestry maker” who works in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and in fine linen. The verb describes a weaver, and so he would work with a needle, weaving and embroidering the materials for the entrance curtains of the tent and of the court. He was also the one who fashioned the sash of the high priest.

And then the weaver is mentioned with the qualifying words “who do every work and those who design artistic works.” This would probably be the person who worked on the loom. The things he made would have been then used for the robe of the ephod, along with its binding, and also for the garments of the priests.

What is seemingly certain to me is that these people were folks already capable and able to accomplish these tasks. If further instruction was necessary, they had the direction of Bezalel and Aholiab to guide them.

And the same is true with us. We already have abilities when we come to Christ. What we need to do is to direct them towards our new calling in Him. We certainly don’t need to look for an external zapping of the Spirit to make us qualified to do the Lord’s work. What we need to do is to take what we have and apply it in a wise and considered way.

Another thing that we can see in the gathering together and formation of this tabernacle by the work of the people is that it leads us to a marvelous picture of Christ. God created the heavens and the earth. He has directed the course of nations and by His hand each thing happens so that redemptive history continues on as it should.

Each earthquake, or each war is used in His plan. Each person who is born or dies is known to Him. Some are raised by Him to be kings, while others die in obscurity. He is sovereign over all that happens. With this understanding, we come to the obvious thought that He could have simply caused the tabernacle to come into being and then moved in.

But instead, He went to the people to receive the materials from them. He then had them take those materials and fashion them according to the plan that He had laid down. The people who did the work were already known to Him and were used by Him to bring the thing into existence in the form that He determined.

And this is exactly how Christ came about as well, at least His humanity. God chose the selected form, and directed the materials that would form the Man. There was Adam, and there was Methuselah. Along came Abraham and Sarah as well as Lot and both of His daughters. Israel and Judah and Tamar were all brought forward.

Ruth, David, and Solomon were directed into this genealogy along without countless others, some named, but many completely unknown to us. Each life was a part of the weaving together of the fabric of the Man who would come.

Just as the Tabernacle was used of materials from God’s creation, but which passed through humanity in order to be returned to Him to build this sanctuary, each and every detail of which points to Christ, so the materials of which these people were comprised passed through humanity in order to be returned to Him to form the human aspect of Christ.

And as the ruakh elohim, or “Spirit of God” endowed these men with the ability to form that which came into their hands, the Spirit of God also formed in Christ to erect the more perfect edifice which is the humanity of our Lord; an edifice where the Spirit of God is found without measure.

But on top of this, these men were also given the ability to teach. And this is one of the great titles of the Lord Jesus, Teacher. Time and again, the title is used of Him in the gospels. From there, we deduce that if there is a Teacher, then He must have students who would carry out the work with and for Him.

That is where disciples and apostles came in. They were taught by the Lord how to form the various parts of the great edifice which God is building, of which we are a part. This is seen in the writings of the New Testament. As Peter and Paul and the others are not with us now, then we must have something from them that tells us how we are to be shaped so that we too will properly fit into this marvelous building… and we do.

It is the Holy Bible. Christ is, in fact, the great Artificer. And He is also the great Teacher. He then instructed others who have written down what He expects of us, the materials of this house of God which are continuing to be brought forth for His workmanship even today.

It should not be enough to say, “I am a living stone which will be placed in God’s temple.” Rather, it should be our goal to be the most perfect living stone possible. We have all of the instructions necessary to be just that if we will only avail ourselves of them.

Today and every day, I would hope that you would continue to perfect yourself though first an understanding of God’s word, and then secondly to a right application of it. If you do these things, then you will be a prominent part of the magnificent thing which God is erecting as His eternal dwelling.

Please don’t waste the few moments you have here on earth in chasing after the wind. Look unto Christ, pursue Christ, and endeavor to be more Christ-like in all ways and at all times. Before you know it, the life you are living will be over and your eternity will begin. It is an eternity which will be based on a very, very short span of time. Use it well.

And if you have never taken the time to first call out to Christ to begin this process, today is the day. You cannot be a part of God’s building if you are not the redeemed of the Lord. His cross is what makes that possible and it is what You need for it to come about…

Closing Verse: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Next Week: Exodus 36:1-38 Every need will be met in this proffering… (The People’s Offering) (99th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Offerings and Artisans

And all the congregation of the children of Israel
Departed from the presence of Moses, after the things he did tell

Then everyone came whose heart was stirred
And everyone whose spirit was willing, not as if competing
And they brought the LORD’s offering
For the work of the tabernacle of meeting

For all its service, and for the holy garments too
Fulfilling each need as requested to do

They came, both men and women
As many as had a willing heart
And brought earrings and nose rings
Rings and necklaces, this was a great start

All jewelry of gold, that is, according to this word
Every man who made an offering of gold to the LORD

And every man, with whom was found
Blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Fine linen, and goats’ hair, which did abound
Red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them as is said

Everyone who offered an offering
Of silver or bronze brought the LORD’s offering
And everyone with whom was found acacia wood
For any work of the service, brought it as their proferring

All the women who were gifted artisans
Spun yarn with their hands

And brought what they had spun
Of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen
They brought the work that they had done

And all the women whose hearts stirred
With wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair, according to the word

The rulers brought onyx stones, as was right
And the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate
And spices and oil for the light
For the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense
The offering was great

The children of Israel brought
A freewill offering to the LORD
All the men and women whose hearts were willing
To bring material for all kinds of work, according to the word

Which the LORD, by Moses’ hand
Was to be done at His command

And Moses said to the children of Israel
“See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel

The son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah
And He has filled him with the Spirit of God
In wisdom and understanding
In knowledge and all manner of workmanship, ability so broad

To design artistic works, as was understood
To work in gold and silver and bronze too
In cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood
And to work in all manner of artistic workmanship they were to do

And He has put in his heart the ability to teach each man
In him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan

He has filled them to do all manner with skill
Of work of the engraver and the designer
And the tapestry maker, according to His will

In blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And fine linen, and of the weaver as well
Those who do every work
And those who design artistic works, as the account does tell

Lord God, help us to learn from Your word
May we give willingly of ourselves and of what we possess
Let us be thankful and thus glorify our Lord
Who has beautifully fashioned what was once such a mess

May the lives that we lead be comparable to what He has done
May we live for Him following in the life He lived for us
His perfect life was lived and through it victory was won
Help us, O God, to emulate our marvelous Lord Jesus

Yes, O God, and to You we shall forever sing out our praise
And to You we shall come with these offerings for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…


Exodus 35:1-19 (A Call to Service)

Exodus 35:1-19
A Call to Service

In today’s passage, as with next week’s as well, we will have a significant amount of repetition. However, it is repetition which stems from passages going all the way back through all of the instructions for the construction of the sanctuary.

If you remember more than 1% of what we talked about in those sermons, you have an excuse to nap while we review. However, I’m going to hand out a proficiency test to make sure you qualify before your nap is approved.

In all honesty, as I was reviewing these verses and getting things prepared, I was astonished at how much I didn’t retain. Going back over those 22 sermons, I couldn’t believe the amount of detail we covered. The symbolism of Christ in each of the things described to Moses is overwhelming.

If you missed those sermons, you missed a great deal and I would encourage you to take the time and listen to them. For now, what was presented to Moses will be restated to the people, calling them to holiness in life and holiness in conduct.

The call to holiness in life will be by a short explanation of the Law of the Sabbath. The calling to holiness in conduct will come by a request for offerings of material and service from the people. Now think about that from our perspective today. Is it any different?

We have been called to holiness by resting in Christ – what He has accomplished. That is our first obligation. After that, we have been called to holiness by giving of our possessions in the service of Christ, and then of the giving of ourselves in a more complete service to Christ.

I am going to repeat this thought in just a few minutes during the sermon in hopes that it will sink in through the repetition. What Israel did is the same thing that we are asked to do.

Text Verse: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2

The only difference between Israel and us is that they worked and then rested. We rest and then we work. They gave of their goods, they gave of their lives, and then they rested in anticipation of the Messiah’s promised rest which was yet ahead.

We rest in that which they looked forward to. In this completion of His work, we then are given the chance to give of our goods and then of our lives. Please though, do not think of this as a call for you to give to the Superior Word. That has never been something we have done, nor will it ever be. And yet the Lord has always provided.

It is up to you where you give your tangible gifts and your gifts of service, but you are to give. You can’t be a living sacrifice if you aren’t sacrificing. The animal on the altar which was presented by the people to God died there by the altar.

We on the other hand died on the altar with Christ, and now we are to live for Christ as that gift being offered to God. In whatever way you determine, and as the Lord prospers you, so you should return yourself to the Lord.

The call is made today by Moses. It is a call which contrasts a shameful act of giving not long passed. After the call is made, work on the Lord’s dwelling place can begin. And you, the call was made and you responded. Now, you should be actively working on being a more perfect part of that more perfect temple which the Lord is building.

Types and shadows of the reality we now live in Christ are seen in today’s passage. So let’s get into it. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Law of the Sabbath (verses 1-3)

Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together,

The word “gathered” here comes from the verb qahal, which means “to gather as an assembly.” It comes from the more common noun qahal, which is the assembly itself. It was first used in this verb form in Exodus 32:1 when the people “gathered together to Aaron” in order to demand the making of a golden calf.

Now it is used for the second time in complete contrast to that. Instead of gathering together for disobedience to the Lord and His commands, they are being called together for honoring Him. He has spared them despite their rebellion, and because of His mercy, Moses is calling them together as a people to come and learn the way of holiness.

In today’s verses, we will see three separate sections by which they will learn this way. Each step is carefully positioned and methodically presented in order for the people to understand this way of holiness.

He will begin with the external display of how they are expected to live in this manner by repeating the Sabbath requirement to them once again. He will then continue with this in asking them for donations of articles in order to build the sanctuary which will stand in their midst, and from which, their means of interacting with Him in holiness will come about.

After this, he will then ask for those who have the abilities to make the things mandated out of those same offerings. In this, they will learn of the sanctification of the people by the Lord for sacred purposes.

Each step in its own order is a reflection of the process of sanctification of the people. They must first be given the law which reflects their sign as a people. This is done in the repetition of the Sabbath law. The next is a giving of what one possessed in honor of the Lord. And the third is the giving of oneself in the service of the Lord.

In the church, there are those who are saved and who are given the sign of that salvation, baptism. This reflects the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was received upon belief in Christ. There are next those who are obedient in the giving of their possessions to build and sustain the ministry of the Lord. And then there are those who are set apart to minister to the Lord with their lives, and according to their abilities. This is what we are seeing reflected in these verses today.

1 (con’t) and said to them, “These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do:

These words should rightfully have been placed after Exodus 31:18, a full eight sermons ago. This was when the Lord handed the first two tablets of stone to Moses. He should have simply received them, turned down the mountain, and found the people respectfully and obediently awaiting his return with the word of the Lord for the future conduct of their lives.

Instead, chapter 32 introduced the sin of the golden calf and all that occurred after that. Instead of a joyous regathering of Moses to the people, there was wrath, indignation, and death associated with his return. Because of that incident, a new direction in the law came about as well.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that none of those things were unknown to God, and they were ultimately a part of His unfolding plan. However, it doesn’t change the nature of the catastrophe which came upon the people. Nor does it change the many variations in direction which resulted in the occurrences of those intervening chapters.

Moses’ shining face was given as a permanent reminder to the people of this. And when I say permanent, it is a reminder which continues to this day. Only in Christ is the veil taken away and the glory of God revealed in a new and marvelous way. As you can see, everything occurred as it should.

The intervening eight chapters have formed an integral part of the unfolding plan of the ages. Understanding that, we now return to where the account left off. The last thing before the giving of the original tablets of the commandments to Moses was that of the Law of the Sabbath.

As I said, the giving of the Sabbath law to the people in connection with the building of the tabernacle was for the purpose of tying it into the sanctuary. The sanctuary is where the Lord is to reside. It signifies that He is dwelling among the people.

Once again, the reason for the Sabbath’s inclusion here is because it, like every other detail which has been given concerning the tabernacle ultimately points to Christ – His Person and His work, for us. That physical manifestation of the tabernacle being among the people is now realized in the giving of the Spirit to the believer in His finished work.

This is why the Sabbath is no longer required. The rest which was anticipated for God’s people is realized in His completion of the work of the law. And this is why Hebrews 4:3 now says that we who have believed, do enter that rest.

In the Old Covenant, man worked and then rested. In the New Covenant, man rests and then works. A picture is made of the process of salvation in the two dispensations. Israel worked six days and then rested on the Sabbath. It was an anticipation of the time of rest which lay ahead when all things would be restored.

We rest in Christ and then do works for Christ, not for salvation, but for our walk in Christ and in anticipation of our heavenly rewards. This is all reflected first in the law of the Sabbath, and then in the fulfillment of it in Christ. Now, that law is briefly summarized for the people to hear…

Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord.

The Law of the Sabbath was given in Exodus 31:12-17. However, this first spoken mandate by Moses to the people actually parallels only verse 15. Although not a direct quote, it carries all of the substance of that verse. Also, he has abbreviated the substance of the words that were given to him, but the main point of the instruction is carefully repeated here to the people.

They are to work six days and then have a shabbath shabbaton, or a Sabbath of rest to the Lord as a holy day. The instructions for the building of the tabernacle lie just ahead. Its construction though was not to take precedence over the Sabbath. Rather, they were to rest each week from their work. Of the words of this verse, Joseph Benson says –

“Work for the tabernacle, but on the seventh day they must not strike a stroke, no, not at the tabernacle work; the honour of the sabbath was above that of the sanctuary.” Joseph Benson

This is not correct. The Sabbath has no more honor than the sanctuary. As we have seen and will see again, every detail of the sanctuary points to Christ. The Sabbath rest also points to Christ. It simply would make no sense to work for Christ on a day which points to Christ. In fact, in Leviticus 26:2, the Sabbath and reverence for the sanctuary are tied together in one thought –

“You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary:
I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:2

Though the Israelites didn’t realize these things, we now do. What was given in type and shadow is realized in the marvelous Lord who fulfilled those same types and shadows. The Sabbath was to be a day the people heeded according to the word of the Lord. If they didn’t heed, the penalty is now repeated from chapter 31 –

2 (con’t) Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

These words here also reflect the substance of Exodus 31:15. The Sabbath looked forward to the coming “rest of God” which was lost when man was cast out of Eden. When Adam disobeyed the word of the Lord, his punishment was –

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19

Man was destined to work in order to survive, implying that this was not previously the case. During my sermon on the Law of the Sabbath, one person – obviously caught up in the legalism of either the 7th Day Adventists, or some Hebrew Roots movement, argued that the Sabbath was God’s standard for man all along; it was an eternal edict.

Not only can that not be inferred in Scripture at all, it is completely false. I directed him back to the original giving of the Sabbath in Exodus 16 where it was first presented to man. One has to remember that Genesis 2 was not recorded until the time of Moses. Here is what Genesis 2:1-3 says –

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

After that, nothing is mentioned of the seventh day for rest until Exodus 16. And the words that were used in that sermon were very specific, showing that it was now a new aspect of God’s dealings with man. Further, it was a new aspect which dealt solely with the people of Israel.

The heresy of Sabbath observance as a necessary requirement in today’s church is truly sad. All the information we need for salvation is found in Paul’s epistles. He, as the apostle to the Gentiles, defines clearly and precisely what we need to do to be saved; what we need to do in order to be pleasing to God; and how to also instruct others in meeting those same goals.

Nowhere in his writings does he ever indicate anything concerning the Sabbath, except to argue against it as an observance. This is especially so in Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16, 17, but it is implicitly true in everything he writes.

What part of the concept of “grace” these heretics don’t understand is hard to grasp. It is a simple word with a simple meaning, as is the concept of a gift. One does not work in order to receive a gift. And though the Sabbath is a day of not actively working, it is a day of spiritual work in order to not physically work. That is realized in the next verse…

You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

One must do something in order to not actively do something. Along with all the other things that the people have already been instructed to not do on the Sabbath day, a new requirement is now added in. No fire is to be kindled in any dwelling on the Sabbath. This thought can be taken as an addendum to what was stated in Exodus 16:23 –

Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” Exodus 16:23

No manna was provided on the Sabbath and so they were to prepare their food a day in advance of the Sabbath. As a further restraint, they were told to not even kindle a fire. To kindle a fire was a laborious process of work. As food wasn’t cooked, they were not to consider making a fire for any other reason as well. As John Lange says about this –

“The addition, prohibiting the kindling of fire, indicates that the law of the Sabbath is made more rigorous in the matter of abstinence.” John Lange

The Israelites were to actively abstain from work in every possible way. Now in Christ, we are given a different aspect of the same precept. We are not told to actively abstain from every work in order to attempt to merit God’s favor. Instead, we are to rest in the finished work of Christ. In the end, whether before the cross or after, it is all done in relation to Christ.

Another great scholar of times past, Matthew Henry, does a terrible job of his analysis of these two Sabbath verses. He says –

“The mild and easy yoke of Christ has made our sabbath duties more delightful, and our sabbath restraints less irksome, than those of the Jews; but we are the more guilty by neglecting them. Surely God’s wisdom in giving us the sabbath, with all the mercy of its purposes, are sinfully disregarded. Is it nothing to pour contempt upon the blessed day, which a bounteous God has given to us for our growth in grace with the church below, and to prepare us for happiness with the church above?” Henry

Matthew Henry errs in his analysis like many others in moving the Saturday Sabbath to a Sunday Sabbath. There is no such thing as a Sunday Sabbath. The Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh day of the week. In its fulfillment, it ended.

Again, if one departs from Paul’s doctrine for the church age, there is no doctrine for the church age. All theology thus becomes a pick and choose path to God. As we close out this section, let us remember a few key points. The Sabbath is a part of the law; the law is fulfilled in Christ and annulled. Salvation is a gift which comes by grace. A gift cannot be earned; grace is unmerited favor.

Attempting to be justified before God through works sets aside both the notion of receiving a gift as well as the granting of grace. Rest in Christ, trust in Christ, and be pleased to be reconciled to God solely by the work of Christ. Thank God for Jesus Christ.

I am the Lord who sanctifies you
In Me you shall find your rest
What I look for is faith that is true
And in this, I shall put you to the test

I am the Lord, pay heed unto Me
For I will give you a Day of rest
If you will simply trust, you will see
That in My presence you will be eternally blessed

Come unto Me, you who are weary
And in My presence there will be peaceful rest
Come unto Me, leave your life so dreary
If the land of Paradise-restored is your hope-filled quest

II. An Offering to the Lord (verses 4-9)

And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying:

These words begin the second and final major section of the chapter which will be divided into four smaller sections. Moses will first recount the substance of Exodus 25:2-7 which concerns the offering of the people for the construction of the sanctuary.

The Hebrew reads zeh haddavar asher tsivah Yehovah. “This the word that commanded, Yehovah.” It is to be remembered that it was not long before that the incident with the golden calf had occurred. At that time, the people has said this to Aaron –

“Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Exodus 32:1

In response to that, it says –

“And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’” Exodus 32:2

Once the calf was fashioned, Aaron indicated it was a representation of Yehovah. The people had willingly given their treasure for a false god. Now, Moses would ask something of them as directed by the true God…

‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord.

This is to be an offering “to Yehovah.” It is thus infinitely more worthy than for the false idol to which they willingly broke off their earrings. Everything that is needed can be expected to be obtained from this offering.

It would make no sense for the Lord to plan on the construction of it without knowing in advance that each and every thing that was necessary for its completion would be available. Understanding this, it will still require the stirring of the hearts of the people to give what they possess. However, there would be no “breaking off” or “tearing away” their prized possessions like Aaron asked of them. Instead, they were asked to let their hearts guide them…

5 (con’t) Whoever is of a willing heart,

A new word is introduced here, nadiv. It is an adjective which comes from the verb nadav which means willing. Nadiv means “free” or “liberal” or even a noble or a prince. The idea is that a noble person would be a charitable giver. This is what the Lord is asking for concerning the materials for the sanctuary; giving with a charitable heart.

5 (con’t) let him bring it as an offering to the Lord:

The offering, or terumah, is something which is “lifted up” to the Lord. It is an acknowledgment of His exalted status, and thus the offering is to be lifted up as an oblation to Him. This is set in complete contrast to that which was given for the making of the golden calf. The difference could not be any more distinct.

The requesting of these materials, and the direction for the construction of the sanctuary, is an understood proclamation that the covenant relationship has been restored, and that the Lord has agreed to be Israel’s God and to dwell among them in that capacity. And so the materials are now named. Each was described in minute detail in the past as to their symbolism in Christ. Here we will just briefly look at each…

5 (con’t) gold, silver, and bronze;

zahav, or gold, is the finest of the biblical metals. It symbolizes purity and holiness, royalty, and divinity. keseph, or silver is another precious metal which is associated with redemption. nekhosheth, or bronze, mainly symbolizes judgment, but also endurance. The judgment can be negative, such as in punishment, or it can be of judgment in purification and justification.

blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair;

tekeleth, or blue, is associated with the law, especially the keeping of the law. argaman, or purple is a purple or blue/red. It speaks of royalty or that which pertains to or belongs to a king. It is a mixture of blue and red, and so it is a combination of what those two colors mean – the law for blue; and war, blood, and/or judgment for red.

towlaat shani, or literally, red worms. Together, the words are translated as “scarlet,” but implying the scarlet which comes from the towla or crimson-grub worm. This scarlet, or red, pictures war, blood, and/or judgment. shesh, or fine linen symbolizes righteousness. izzim, or goat hair symbolizes awareness of sin and that it will be punished.

ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood;

orot elim me’addamim, or skins of rams dyed red, symbolize power and protection in the skins, and of atonement for sin in the dyed red color. orot tekhashim, does not indicate badger skins. Rather, it indicates skins of porpoise or a sea cow. The sea is representative of the world of chaos, confusion and rebellion. Thus these skins symbolize protection from that. Within, there is order, harmony, and peace. atse shittim, or wood acacias, symbolize humanity, but more, humanity which is incorruptible. Therefore, it symbolizes Christ’s humanity.

oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense;

shemen la’maor, or oil for lighting, symbolizes the presence of the Spirit, which is for spiritual understanding; specifically that which provides illumination. besamim l’shemen ha’miskhah, or spice for anointing oil, symbolizes the anointing of the Holy Spirit first for Christ’s work, and then that which is given to us through Christ’s work.

liqtoreth ha’sammim , or incense fragrant, symbolizes prayer to God, but specifically acceptable prayers to God.

onyx stones,

avne shoham , or stones onyx, are mentioned in addition to those to be used in the shoulder piece of the ephod on the high priest. Because of this, they are probably specifically to be for the Urim and Thummim. If this is so, and it is likely, then they signify intercession on behalf of the people.

9 (con’t) and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.

avne milluim la’ephod v’lakhoshen, or “stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.” Exodus 28:9 tells us that the stones for the shoulder piece of the ephod are to be onyx stones. Thus they symbolize the bearing of the burden of the people in a mediatorial role.

The other stones which are to be used in the breastplate of judgment are specifically named in Exodus 28:17-20. The exact identity of many of these stones is unknown, but because they are in the breastplate of judgment, they symbolize the judgment rendered for God’s people through the work of Christ.

Hints of Christ in every detail of the book
Waiting for us to study and show ourselves approved
What a marvel when we open it up and look
How our souls are stirred! How our hearts are moved

Christ is there, it all speaks of Him and His work
What He has done for us was all told in advance
Let us not fail to look for Him, let us not this obligation shirk
Each discovery is like joining in a heavenly dance

Thank You for this marvel, Your precious superior word
It is filled with wonder! It is beautiful and marvelous
Christ is there in every detail; it’s all about our Lord
Yes, every single verse tells us of our Lord Jesus

III. The Lord’s To-Do List (verse 10-19)

10 ‘All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded:

The call is now made from the general of the previous section – meaning all who had a willing heart, to the specific of this section – meaning all who are gifted artisans. Those specifically for the work of this section who were mentioned before were Bezalel and Aholiab in Exodus 31:2-10, and the others in Exodus 28:3 for making of garments.

Those whom the Lord already knew are now being called for the service of making this marvelous dwelling place for the Lord God. In it, there is a logical order to what we will see next. First, the tabernacle is mentioned. This is followed up immediately with those things by which it will be constructed.

After this, will come the contents of the tabernacle. First for the Most Holy Place, then the Holy Place, and then the furniture which is outside of the tabernacle in the courtyard. After that, those things which comprise the courtyard itself. Then the pegs are mentioned, first for the tabernacle and then for the court – with their cords. Finally the garments for each aspect of the ministry are given.

We will go over them without any detail because all of the details have already been given in the past.

11 the tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets;

In this verse, two separate words are used – ha’mishkan, or “the tabernacle,” and “aholow” or “its tent.” The two are distinct things and are not to be confused. Each of the items mentioned in this verse perfectly and beautifully prefigure Christ.

12 the ark and its poles, with the mercy seat, and the veil of the covering;

The ark and its mercy seat is mentioned in Exodus 25:10-22. The veil is detailed in Exodus 26:31-33. In this verse, the term paroketh ha’masak, or “veil of the covering” is now used instead of simply the paroketh, or veil. It is still speaking specifically of the veil which divides the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place, but a fuller name is given here.

The ark symbolizes Christ, the embodiment of, and thus the fulfillment of, the law. The mercy seat is Christ our satisfaction of the law through His shed blood. The veil represents Christ’s body through which we have restored access to God.

13 the table and its poles, all its utensils, and the showbread;

This is speaking of the table of showbread which was mentioned in Exodus 25:23-30. It, in short, details Christ our Bread, and thus our source and sustenance of life.

14 also the lampstand for the light, its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light;

The menorah and its associated articles are mentioned in Exodus 25:31-40. It was an amazing study, every detail of which pointed to Christ – the Servant, our Messiah, our Light, our Wise Counselor, our Word of God, our Giver of the dispensations of time, and so much more. The symbolism of the menorah is so exceptional that we will never fully realize everything it portrays.

15 the incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense,

The incense altar was detailed much later in the instructions provided to Moses. It wasn’t until Exodus 30:1-10 that it was named. The anointing oil and the sweet incense came later in that same chapter. They were detailed in order from verse 22-38.

The incense altar pointed to Christ’s intercessory work for us. The anointing oil minutely detailed Christ’s work which was accomplished for us, and the sweet incense symbolizes His ongoing work for us as our Mediator and Intercessor.

15 (con’t) and the screen for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle;

This screen door was the covering entranceway into the tabernacle itself. It is described in Exodus 26:26, 27. It symbolized the work of Christ for us which allows us access once again into the heavenly realms. In short, it pictures Christ, our Door to salvation.

16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, all its utensils,

This altar is detailed in Exodus 27:1-8. In short, it symbolizes Christ, our judgment on sin and thus our Justifier.

16 (con’t) and the laver and its base;

This item was mentioned seemingly out of place as a few others were, in Exodus 30:17-21. However, as we saw, it was actually perfectly placed. In short, it signifies among other things Christ, our Sanctifier and Purifier.

17 the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court;

These things were detailed in order in Exodus 27:9-19. They symbolize those things which Christ accomplished in His ministry and which are open and visible to all who are willing to simply look. They portray the evident Christ who is on display to the world, but who is also limited in effect to only those who enter through Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which is seen in the gate for the court. He is the expectant Christ, open and available to all who will simply come.

18 the pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords;

The pegs were all to be made of bronze. They speak of judgment rendered. As they are what hold the tabernacle and the court hangings up by being firmly planted in the ground, they speak of permanency. The cords are the tie between the two.

Surprisingly, the methar, or cords have never been mentioned until now. The word comes from the verb yathar, meaning left over, or abundant, or to preserve. They then signify the ability of Christ’s judgment to preserve us and tie us to all of the other aspects of His work, binding us to what He has done and abundantly keeping us for the great day of salvation which lies ahead.

19 the garments of ministry, for ministering in the holy place

These bigde ha’serad, or “cloths of service,” are lumped in here by the NKJV with the garments of Aaron and his sons. However, they were described in Exodus 31:10 where they were noted, most probably, as the cloths which cover the sacred articles of the sanctuary as they were transported from place to place.

They thus reflect Christ concealed. His actual Person and work are covered and not viewable to the people of the world. We are to trust in the work of Christ, and thus they symbolize our faith in His work, which is – other than as recorded in Scripture – completely unseen to us.

*19 (fin) the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”

The garments for the priesthood, along with the things the high priest wore on his garments, comprise all of chapter 28. The garments in particular point to the ministry of Christ – His nature, His attributes, and His work. The garments for Aaron’s sons pictured Christ’s work on our behalf, covering us in His righteousness.

As I said at the beginning of our passage today, there was a lot of repetition from 22 previous sermons. But I bet quite a bit of what we looked at brought back some great reminders of the magnificent pictures of what those sermons detailed.

And as we have highlighted the giving of the people in their goods and in their service, I would like to mention one way of giving which you may not have thought of. If you have just popped into this sermon and haven’t seen what all of those chapters on the anticipated construction of the sanctuary and all of its implements actually detail, you could give the Lord of your time and go back and watch them.

If you’re really brave, you could go back and start watching from Genesis 1:1 as several people have done, and offer your time to the Lord in learning His word. Time is the fire in which we burn, and it is a candle which is quickly being consumed. But time is also the school in which we learn. Therefore, a wise use of your time is one of the greatest things you could offer to the Lord.

I would put learning His word right up at the top of what you can offer to Him. But no matter what you choose to do, what you choose to give, or what services you decide to offer – do it all for the glory of God which is found in Christ Jesus the Lord. And under the odd possibility that you are here not knowing Christ the Lord, well… you’d better get that squared away right now.

Closing Verse: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:7, 8

Next Week: Exodus 35:20-35 Fifteen verses it spans… (Offerings and Artisans) (98th Exodus sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Call to Service

Then Moses gathered all the congregation
Of the children of Israel
Together, and said to them, to the whole nation
These are the words he did tell

These are the words which the Lord
Has commanded you to do; according to His word

Work shall be done for six days
But the seventh day shall be a holy day for you
A Sabbath of rest to the Lord
Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death, so shall you do

You shall kindle no fire, as I now say
Throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day

And Moses spoke to all the congregation
Of the children of Israel, saying
This is the thing which the Lord commanded
This is the saying; these the words he was relaying

Take from among you an offering to the Lord
Whoever is of a willing heart
Let him bring it as an offering to the Lord:
Gold, silver, and bronze, but this is just the start

Blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Fine linen, and goats’ hair as well
Ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood
Such are needed as to you I now tell

Oil for the light
And spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense too
Onyx stones, and stones to be set just right
In the ephod and in the breastplate are needed from you

All who are gifted artisans among you
Shall come and as the Lord has commanded shall make all
The tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps
Its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets, according to His call

The ark and its poles, with the mercy seat
And the veil of the covering; as He did relay
The table and its poles
All its utensils, and the showbread, as the word does say

Also the lampstand for the light
Its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light as well
The incense altar, its poles
The anointing oil, the sweet incense; so I now tell

And the screen for the door
At the entrance of the tabernacle, in that place
The altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating
Its poles, all its utensils, and the laver and its base

The hangings of the court
Its pillars, their sockets, according to these words
And the screen for the gate of the court
The pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords

The garments of ministry
For ministering in the holy place
The holy garments for Aaron the priest
And the garments of his sons, to minister as priests before My face

We have been called to follow a process in the Lord
First to rest in Him and what He has done for us
We come to do this through hearing His word
And then showing faith in the Lord Jesus

After that, we are asked for what we have to give
The things which we possess as our offering to God
With a willing heart in this life that we live
And without compulsion in this walk that we trod

And then if we have been given even more
If we possess a special ability or a skill
We should use that for the Lord, yes let us open that door
And use it for His glory with all of our will

In this, the Lord is surely pleased, we know
And so let us not hold back from Him these things
Serve the Lord with all your heart as you grow
As faithful Christians, in all that title brings

Hallelujah and Amen…




Exodus 34:27-35 (The Refulgency of God)

Exodus 34:27-35
The Refulgency of the Lord

Some years ago, I was reading this passage and it made me think of the words, “the refulgency of God.” The word “refulgent” isn’t very common. It simply means “shining radiantly” or “resplendent.” Thus, the “refulgency of God” would be the shining radiance or resplendent glory of God.

Being the odd soul that I am, I decided that instead of “refulgency,” I would modify the word to “Refulgent C.” From there, I made a meme with a marvelous, burning C on it, and put on it the title, “The Refulgent C of God.” Do you know that not one person on Facebook got my pun? I was crushed. That was the end of my meme making days…


In today’s account, and taken together with the rest of Scripture, we will logically see hints of the Trinity. We will also see the temporary nature of the Old Covenant, and how that Old Covenant is actually a hindrance to a right standing with God.

This is one of those passages that seems almost obscure and even quaint when quickly passed over, but what it reveals to us is as important to New Testament theology as almost any other passage we will come across.

Text Verse: “So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife.” Genesis 38:14

Judah’s daughter-in-law covered herself in a veil in order to hide who she was from him. Moses covered his face in a veil as well. What are we being told in these passages? Well, if you listened to  and remember the account from Genesis 38, you may already be partially aware of what today’s passage is showing us.

If not, sit tight, pay attention, enjoy what God has set before you, and know that He is unveiling His truth to those who are willing to accept what He has done through the Person and work of Jesus Christ. One theme which resounds, time and again, in the pages of the Bible is “DOCTRINE MATTERS!”

How much does it matter to you? To some, clinging to the Law of Moses is where their hope lies. For those, today’s passage should be a wake-up call. It is time to put behind us works of the law. It is time to come to Christ. For those who have trusted in the finished work of Christ, today’s passage is a reaffirmation that you are on the right road, the advantageous avenue, the perfect parkway, and the street of salvation.

Be pleased to know that God has accepted you because you have received Jesus. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. He was there with the Lord (verses 27 & 28)

27 Then the Lord said to Moses,

These words are a continuation of what began in verse 1. The entire chapter is interconnected and is revealing the concept of the on-going nature of the covenant which is made between the Lord and Israel. This on-going nature of the account is evidenced in the next words…

27 (con’t) “Write these words,

The command to write is not based on what follows, but what he has just said in verses 10-26. As was noted last week, the Lord isn’t reinstating the original covenant. Nor is a “new covenant” being made. Rather, this is a constant and continuous establishment of a covenant to the people.

Because of this, the entire time of His dealing with Israel is a transitional phase which will be in anticipation of a New Covenant. It is for this reason that the words of the prophets are considered as a part of the covenant. When the Lord spoke through Isaiah, for example, it was to be considered a part of the covenant.

He would deal with Israel in a unique way which was in anticipation of a coming New Covenant. This was shown to be true last week when citing the words of Jeremiah 31 where a New Covenant was promised. As Jeremiah was speaking under the Old, it means that the entire working of the Lord with Israel was a part of a much greater plan which was to come.

The word of the Lord through Jeremiah pointed back to the covenant which was broken by Israel after being brought out of Egypt by the Lord, and yet it anticipated a New Covenant at some future point. And nothing shows us this more clearly than the words of Deuteronomy 18:15-18 –

 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’
17 “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.”

This “Prophet” mentioned by Moses is none other than the anticipated Messiah. In John 1:21, the people wondered if John the Baptist was this coming Prophet. He told them he was not. As this Prophet, meaning Christ Jesus, was to have the words of the Lord in His mouth, then it shows that His words were to be a part of this on-going covenant. As He declared that the covenant was fulfilled in Him, and simultaneously He declared the initiation of a New Covenant, we see that the entire Old Covenant was both on-going and yet limited in its duration. It ended with Christ’s shed blood.

27 (con’t) for according to the tenor of these words

ki pi ha’devarim ha’elleh – “for as to the mouth the words these.” In other words, as the words were spoken to Moses, so He was to write. This shows us that the Lord is the ultimate Author of Scripture. When the Holy Spirit moved upon the prophets, it was according to the word, or mouth, of the Lord.

This is seen countless times in the Bible. A prophet would say, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel…” or some other similar statement. At times, it was the Lord who spoke directly to the prophet, at other times, the prophet spoke under inspiration of the Spirit. But at all times, it is the word of the Lord which defines Scripture. For this reason we can rightly say that Jesus is both the Author and the Subject of all inspired Scripture. He even hinted at this in the giving of the New Testament –

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-15

And yet, Jesus claimed that the words He spoke were not under His own authority, but those of the Father who dwells in Him –

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:10, 11

Thus, we come to understand more fully His words to the disciples, “I and My Father are one.” The work of the Trinity is fully revealed in the giving of the word of God, the Holy Bible, to us. It is this same Lord who thus says now to Moses…

27 (con’t) I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”

As the Lord made the covenant, and as He fulfilled the covenant in Himself, and as He initiated the New Covenant in His blood, then we can see the on-going nature of this Old Covenant until the time of its ending. It is all about Christ. It is all about what He determines for those He elects. As this point in history, the covenant is with Moses and Israel.

28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights;

The interval of time is repeated from Moses’ previous ascent up the mountain. It seems as if a period of forty days and forty nights is excessive for what little information we have been given here, but Deuteronomy 9:18-20 explains the state of things. Moses spent much of this time interceding for the people who had sinned –

“And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me at that time also. 20 And the Lord was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.”

It would be good at this time to reiterate the meaning of the number forty as defined by Bullinger. He says it is associated…

“…with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement—(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people). It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). This is certainly the case where forty relates to a period of evident probation. But where it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10, and in harmony with their signification.”

In fact, both of Bullinger’s significations of the number forty apply here. Moses’ time on the mountain is both a time of evident probation, and it is also a time of renewed and extended rule. The time period was certainly repeated as a test of the people below.

They had failed the first time during his absence; now they were being tested and refined through his second absence. But further, it is a time of renewing and extending the original covenant. It is really an astonishing thing how the numbers of Scripture so perfectly and continually match what is occurring in each account.

28 (con’t) he neither ate bread nor drank water.

There are three people who are mentioned as having fasted for this time period in Scripture. The first is Moses who did it twice. In 1 Kings 19:8, Elijah is said to have fasted forty days and forty nights as he traveled to this very same mountain. And finally, Jesus is said to have fasted this same time period in Matthew 4:2. It seems improbable that someone could survive this amount of time without bread and water, but the reason for it is given explicitly in Matthew 4:4 during Jesus’ trial –

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

There Jesus cites the words of Deuteronomy 8 which speak of the Manna which was given to the people –

“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:2, 3

But Moses had no Manna, and so how can the two be reconciled? The answer is found in John 6 –

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51

The Manna only pointed to Christ. Thus it is not at all improbable that these men were able to endure forty days and forty nights without food or drink. Christ is the true Manna and He was able to sustain Moses and Elijah, just as He was able to sustain Himself – relying solely on the providence of God for nourishment.

28 (con’t) And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

Although this appears to be speaking of Moses because he has been mentioned several times in repetition, the NKJV rightly translates this verse with a capital H on “He.” This clause is speaking not of Moses, but of the Lord. This is confirmed in the words of Deuteronomy 10:3-5 –

“So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the Lord commanded me.”

Though the second set of tablets was made by Moses, the writing on them was still the work of the Lord. The purity of the word of God is evidenced in these marvelous verses in a most wonderful way. God has allowed us to transmit and carry His word, but it is still the word of the Lord.

There are notable contrasts between this forty day period, and that of Matthew 4. Here, Moses receives the word from the Lord on the high mountain. In Matthew, there is the same Lord protecting and defending this same word in the wilderness. In this, fallen Moses had asked for a divine revelation of the Lord. In Matthew 4, the Lord was tempted by the one who caused man to fall, Satan. In this, the Law is spoken in anticipation of it being adhered to. In Matthew, the Law is adhered to in anticipation of it being fulfilled. In this, the tablets foreshadow Christ, coming from Man, but embodying the law given by the Lord. In Christ is the Man who is the Lord and who embodies this same law.

There is more than just a quaint account of Moses and the Lord here. In this, there is the Lord giving us one picture after another of what He intended to do, which led to what He did, and which continues to be reflected in what He does for each person who comes to Him by faith.

The word of God, glorious and pure
Has been given to us; a perfect gift
Its contents are truthful, steady and sure
There to provide our souls with a lift

When we are low, in a time of great need
We can go to this marvelous, perfect gift
And before we know it, even with great speed
Our souls have been given a blessed lift

Let us hold fast to this word which has been given to us
Let us never take for granted this marvelous gift
It is what refreshes our lives as it tells us of Jesus
And so it is exactly what we need to give our souls a lift

II. That Which is Glorious (verses 29-35)

29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain),

This is similar to Exodus 32:15. Both times, it is careful to note that the tablets were in the hand of Moses. The same is true in verse 4 when he ascended the mountain. The tablets were carefully noted as being in his hands there as well.

As the tablets are the means by which God’s word is put on display, it begs an obvious question of us. Do we have the same care for God’s word as He does? Each reference to the word of God in the word of God is noted as something which we are to be aware of, to tend to, to safeguard, and to hold in the highest of esteem.

Is this how we treat this same word which we have now been entrusted with? In the Bible, the term “in hand” has a similar meaning as in English. It refers to having possession of something and to have charge over its care. Is this attitude which we display towards this treasure of infinite value?

29 (con’t) that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.

The translation here says, “the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.” This is not the sense of what is written. Rather, it says, “the skin of his face shone through his talking with Him.” It was in the conversation with the Lord that his face was made to shine, and it continued to shine even afterwards.

A new word is introduced into the Bible here, qaran. It is a verb translated as “shone.” It is used just four times in the Bible, three times in this chapter when speaking of the shining face of Moses, and once in the 69th Psalm, where it is translated as “horns” –

This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bull,
Which has horns and hooves.” Psalm 69:31

Qaran comes from the noun qeren which means “horns.” Therefore, some translations say that Moses had horns –

“And when Moses came down from the mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was horned from the conversation of the Lord.” Douay-Rheims

From these older translations, such as the Latin Vulgate and others, depictions have been made of him having actual horns, like those of a ram, but this is not the intent of the verse. Rather, the light which shone off of him was so brilliant that it emitted out rays of light just like the horns of an animal emit out of its head.

If we compare this descent down the mountain with the previous one, there are some important contrasts to note. In the first, he was filled with righteous anger for the Lord; now he is filled with the glory of the Lord. Then he came to a people swimming in idolatry, unafraid of the Lord; here he returns to people who are literally afraid of the glory of the Lord. In the first, Moses destroyed the tablets of the Testimony; here he will have them carefully deposited in the Ark of the Covenant.

The two accounts contrast, and yet they confirm the work of Christ which is pictured in the second descent, over the failings of Adam which is pictured in the first descent. In Adam, there is enmity with God, a violation of His law, and no fear of who He is. From that came resulting death. In Christ, there is fellowship with God, faithful satisfaction of His law, and a reverent fear of who He is. And from that comes life. None of this is by random chance.

Again, each detail is given as a set of instructions concerning man, the Lord, the law, and grace. Everything is tied together to show us the superiority of the work of the Lord for us over the failings of Adam, of which we are included.

30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

This is rather similar to that of the moments after the fall of man –

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’
10 So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’” Genesis 3:8-10

Adam had been confronted with the knowledge of his sin and he feared the presence of the Lord. Now the people of Israel are being confronted again with the law of the Lord on the tablets, and the glory of the Lord reflected in Moses’ face.

Here, we are told that they saw Moses. There is nothing to suggest that they thought it was anyone but Moses. However, there was a change in him which they did not understand. The light shining off of him meant something, but they couldn’t discern whether it meant good or evil towards them.

The glory of the Lord, even in a secondary manner such as this, combined with the second set of tablet’s bearing God’s law, seems to have uncovered their sinful state and exposed it to their hearts. No wonder the Lord said in the last chapter that “…no man shall see Me, and live.” The very thought of sin-filled man standing in the presence of pure holiness and beholding it with uncovered eyes would mean utter destruction. From Aaron down, there was fear because of the revealed glory of the Lord.

31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.

Like Adam who had hid himself from the Lord, those who saw Moses hid themselves from the glory of the Lord which had rested  upon Moses. And like Adam who came forth to speak to the Lord and admit his nakedness, Aaron and the rulers came forward despite their nakedness.

This same type of spiritual encounter will occur again in the future. Christ will come back in His full splendor, and all of the rulers of Israel will fear, but when He calls to them, they will return to Him. When they do, He will speak to them as well. Their nakedness will be covered in His righteousness and the law will be secreted away, once and for all in the true Ark, Christ the Lord. The patterns repeat so that we can see the Lord’s hand in each step of the process. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:15 –

“Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be has already been; for God will seek to do again what has occurred in the past.” (NET)

32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

What this appears to be is a congregational gathering of the people where Moses stood and spoke aloud to all who could hear. Everything that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai, he repeated as commandments for the people. In their own hearing, he spoke to them, exactly as they had requested after the giving of the Ten Commandments –

“You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exodus 20:19

Again, like earlier in this chapter, the mount is called Sinai rather than Horeb. When the name Sinai is used, it normally refers to the on-going redemptive workings of God for His people. Such is the case here. The commandments of the Lord were spoken, and now they are being transmitted to the people of God.

Sinai is used once again to bring us the idea of the work of Christ. Sinai means, “Bush of the Thorn.” It is a picture of the work of Christ culminating in the cross of Christ. The law is given and it is a ministry of death, not of life. This is seen in the next words…

33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.

The KJV gives the exact opposite rendering of the Hebrew. It states that the veil was on Moses’ face when he spoke to the people, not after. This is incorrect. The NKJV corrected this error.

The people of Israel were given a chance to see the reflected glory of the Lord personally. When Moses spoke to the leaders, and then when he spoke to the people, he did it with an unveiled face. He expounded the law to them and they listened.

However, when he finished speaking with them, he then put a veil over his face. The word “veil” is masveh. It is introduced into the Bible here, it will be used once in this and each of the next two verses, and it will not be seen again. It comes from an unused root meaning “to cover.”

The glory of the Lord would be covered over and thus it would be concealed from their eyes. They would have the law, but it was a law which veiled the Lord to them. It could not save anyone, and this was never its purpose. Instead, it is a law which has an end. It is this passing away of the law, superseded by the glory of the Lord, which was veiled to Israel.

34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out;

There is rich symbolism here. What is in the spot where Moses would go to speak with the Lord? The ark which contained the tablets. This hasn’t actually been recorded yet, but it says as much in Deuteronomy 10:5.

This ark, as we have seen, pictures Christ who embodies the law. Within Him is the fulfillment of the law. In this, the veil is removed, but for those who do not know Christ, a covering stands between them and the Lord which obscures who He is and the glory He reveals.

When Moses was in the presence of the Lord, the veil was removed, and it would stay off until he once again came out. During that time, he would receive the law of the Lord which he would then relay to the people as we read next…

34 (con’t) and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.

The law of the Lord was communicated to the people by Moses who alone reflected the glory of the Lord. They would hear the words and they would have a validation that the words were from the Lord by the rays of light shining from Moses’ face. After they had received this proof, he would then cover himself, as is seen in our final verse of the day…

*35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

They would see the glory of the Lord radiating off Moses’ face. Thus the authentication of the words of the law would be made. After this, he would then cover his face until he again went in before the Lord. The fact that the law was something temporary and destined to end was veiled from the people.

They took the law as a perpetual covenant, and they still take it this way today. Even some Judaizing sects of Christianity still look at the law in this manner. And thus a veil rests over their eyes. This is explained, in detail, by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3.

How I love your law, O Lord, it is my meditation day and night
And upon Your law I contemplate with all my mind
But in Your law I find myself in a challenging plight
I find myself in a spot difficult and unkind

I see Your law is perfect, but I am prone to sin
I find a war within myself which rages against my will
What will free me from this body of death? Am I done in?
How can I these evil desires crush? I am fighting with them still

Thanks be to God! I can prevail through the Lord Jesus!
In His cross, I am set free and I am granted new life
What a marvelous God who has done these things for us!
In Jesus I find release from the once raging strife

III. From Glory to Glory (2 Corinthians 3)

We have to ask ourselves each time we come to a passage like this, “What is the Lord trying to tell us?” Why did He include this remarkable, but otherwise obscure passage concerning the radiant face of Moses? The answer is that He is showing us Christ.

And the best part about it is that we don’t even need to struggle with it to find the answer. Instead of searching mind and searching the word for secret clues, the Lord has revealed the meaning to us. Paul clearly and precisely explains it in 2 Corinthians 3. Take a minute to turn to that page, and we will go over it (read passage) –

In the previous chapter, Paul spoke of victory in Christ. He then said that the message of the apostles carried “the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Expanding on that, he gave a contrast as to how this fragrance is received. He says that, “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death.” In Greek, it reads ek thanatou eis thanaton – “from death to death.”

The state of the unregenerate is already death. This is because “the wages of sin is death” and “all have sinned.” Those who reject the gospel message do so from death to death. There can be no life for someone who is already dead and who has chosen the path of death by rejecting Christ.

For the one who reaches out and receives the fragrant aroma of the gospel message, it is ek zoes eis zoen – “from life to life.” The Source of life is found in the gospel message which centers on Jesus Christ.

In chapter 3, he told his audience that they were in themselves an epistle of Christ which was “written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” Here he contrasts the superiority of the gospel of Christ over the Law of Moses. One was written on stone, the other on the heart.

He then went on to say, very exactingly, that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” As I said earlier, the law could save no one, nor was this its intent. Rather, the letter, meaning the law, kills. Only the Spirit can give life. Remember that Paul was a Pharisee. He was trained like few other people in all of Israel. And yet, he came to understand that the law was opposed to salvation.

Despite this, he tells about the magnificence of the law. He said, “But if the ministry of death, (meaning the law) written and engraved on stones, (meaning the Ten Commandments which was the basis of the law) was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”

Here we see the truth that it was the law itself which brought the radiant shine to Moses’ face. The pure law of God, given directly by God to Moses, was so splendid that it caused his face to shine, as if he had horns protruding from his face.

The radiation of the glory of God emanated from Moses after he beheld the Divine glory. This was a part of his ministry as the lawgiver to the people. It showed the splendor of what God was doing in the giving, and tending to, of the law through Moses. And yet, Paul’s words show that this amazing glory which caused this supernatural emanation of light from the face of Moses “was passing away.”

In other words, the law which was given through Moses is being equated with the passing away of the glory of the light emanating from Moses. There would be a time when the law would fade into history, being replaced with something even more glorious.

The law was never intended to be a means to an end. It was a part of the dispensational model of God’s interactions with mankind, leading us another step towards the coming of Christ. The reason why, is because the law is reflective of the perfection of Christ. In Christ, the law is fulfilled and thus the Spirit is available to any who come to Him through faith in what He has done.

And so, if the law brought death to man, and yet it radiated with glory, Paul asks, “…how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”

It is a wonderful, even amazing sentiment! Paul has spoken of the glory of the “ministry of death” (meaning the Law of Moses) which is fading away. In an argument from the lesser to the greater he now basically asks, “If that was so glorious, then how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”

But Paul doesn’t call it the “ministry of life” as if in contrast to the “ministry of death.” Instead he calls it the “ministry of the Spirit.” This Spirit, meaning the Holy Spirit, is life. And so the contrast is made instead to the physical, tangible stone with carved letters.

Because of the use of “the Spirit” in place of the law, it is speaking of the entire process of the transmission of the gospel – the work at Pentecost, His influence on the apostles to include their work and their writings which are now the New Testament, and then the continued preaching and evaluation of that word. This, and so much more, is the “ministry of the Spirit.”

It is this which is more glorious, and it is this which will reveal glories ahead. This is seen in his use of the Greek preposition en which denotes the permanent nature of the glory, and then the verb translated as “will be,” which is in the future tense. It shows that what is yet to be revealed contains surpassing glory. Everything about the new surpasses the old, both in the present and in what is yet to be revealed.

In verse 9, Paul then changes the terms. He goes from “the ministry of death” to “the ministry of condemnation,” and from “the ministry of the Spirit” to “the ministry of righteousness.” In other words, the law brought death, and associated with that death is condemnation; it is ineffectual to save anyone.

However, the Spirit brings life, and with that comes righteousness; it is not only sufficient to quicken the spirit to live, but to also grant Christ’s righteousness to the one who is so quickened. The glory of this ministry of righteousness far exceeds the glory of the law. The law faded away, but the work of Christ will endure for all eternity. The glory of Christ will shine upon His redeemed throughout the ages of ages.

In verse 10, Paul compares the two dispensations. The giving of the law at Sinai was glorious. It was glorious in the contents of the law which it revealed. It was glorious in how that law was ministered throughout the time of Israel’s life under it as well. And yet, it was a ministry of death. It showed that man cannot fulfill its requirements. Instead, it only brought condemnation. The only thing that spared men from this was a grant of mercy based on the Day of Atonement rituals.

However, the covenant which came though the work of Jesus is a ministry of life. It excels in that where the law brought death, it brings life. Where the law brought condemnation, it brings salvation. Where the law was written on stone, it is written on the hearts.

In Jesus, there is full pardon of sin. In Jesus, there is the sure hope of restoration with God. In Jesus, there is the prospect of eternal life. In all ways, the glory of the law is shown to have only fading glory compared to the work of Jesus on our behalf. Jesus is our Day of Atonement. A one-time and for-all-time glory.

In verse 11, Paul again shows the superlative nature of the grace of God in Christ over the giving of the law. In verse 12, he says that because of the hope of this grace, there is a boldness which was lacking in the law. This is detailed in verse 13 and it explains the obscurity of our passage in Exodus 34 today.

Paul uses the account of the Israelites before Moses as an allegory of the time in which we live. The law is ended in Christ, but the Israelites could not see the end of it. They looked at the law as permanent and as a means to an end. But the law was intended to lead us to Christ. Because they missed this, they “could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.” And this is exactly what has happened in the dispensational model of history.

But the scholar Hermann Olshausen asks, “How could St Paul say that Moses covered his countenance in order that the Israelites should not behold Christ?” His question seems to imply that it would be wrong for Israel, who was looking for their Messiah, to be denied seeing Christ.

But this question is faulty. They were not denied this actively. Instead, they chose to deny Him. They were offered Christ in Acts 2. From there, and throughout Acts, it shows the truth that Jesus was rejected by them. Paul explains this in Romans 11:25 –

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

God knew in advance that Israel would reject their Messiah, but it served a greater purpose in that the nations received Him and became the called-out Gentile church. Israel was set-aside during this dispensation “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

There is a time coming when the Gentiles will have reached their fullness and they will be raptured home to be with the Lord. At that time, the focus will be on the nation of Israel once again. On that day, the veil will be taken away and they will see that Christ is, in fact, the end of the law for all who believe.

Paul explains this in verse 14. He notes that the Jews, and indeed anyone who would follow in the misguided notion about the purpose and continuance of the Old Testament, is blinded. This blinding of one’s eyes indicates a spiritual blindness.

This veil which remains in place is “unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament.” Anytime the law is read to a person who is trying to be justified by the law, the veil remains. They have missed Christ and are attempting to seek a right-standing before God based on personal merit. It is a self-condemning act.

Finally in verse 14, the NKJV ends this verse with, “because the veil is taken away in Christ.” This is not the intent of Paul’s words. The word “veil” is inserted; it is not in the Greek. They have incorrectly assumed that it is the veil which is taken away in Christ. But this is properly explained in verse 16. Rather, it speaking of the law itself. In Christ, the law is taken away. Only when one realizes this is the veil then removed. John Darby rightly translates the verse –

“But their thoughts have been darkened, for unto this day the same veil remains in reading the old covenant, unremoved, which in Christ is annulled.” Darby

In verse 15, Paul explicitly tells us that when the law of Moses is read by any who are trying to be justified by the law, a veil lies over their heart, just as the veil was placed over Moses’ face. And then in verse 16 he shows us something wonderful.

Different translators look at what this verse is saying in different ways. In the NKJV, it says “when one turns to the Lord.” It implies that each time a Jew turns to Jesus, the veil is taken away. However, other translations say, “…when it shall turn to the Lord.”

This then would be speaking of the heart of Israel collectively. The Weymouth version says this more specifically with the words, “But whenever the heart of the nation shall have returned to the Lord, the veil will be withdrawn.”

It is true that individually, as Jews come to the Lord, the veil is taken away. However, the context of the passage is implying the nation as a whole. This is what is pictured in Exodus 34. In verse 31 it said, “Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.”

The prophetic picture of that passage is that the rulers (who represent the nation) “returned” to Moses. The word drives the analogy which Paul clearly saw and is using for us to see. In verse 17, Paul says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

The Lord is the Spirit of biblical interpretation. This is not speaking then of the Holy Spirit but the knowledgeable relationship between what is written in the law and what it is pointing out, which is Christ Jesus.

Finally, Paul closes out with the marvelous words, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

At this time, we are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” This happens each time we contemplate the gospel, or now because it is written, search out the New Testament Scriptures. And, in the searching out of Christ in this way, Paul says that we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”

Just as Moses’ face reflected the glory of the Lord when he came before the Israelites, so we are being transformed. It is not a physical transformation, but a spiritual one. As we conform to the prescriptions of the New Testament, and as we follow as disciples of Christ, we are being spiritually transformed into that same image; the image of Christ – thus, “from glory to glory.” We behold the glory and it transforms us to that glory.

Paul finishes his thought and the chapter with the words, “just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is the Spirit who calls, it is the Spirit who seals, and it is the Spirit who sanctifies. As we pursue Christ from glory to glory, the Spirit is accomplishing His role in the process to conform us to the image of God in Christ.

From what is obscure and hidden, to that which is revealed and open, the Bible speaks of Christ. Because of this, I would hope that each one of you would search Him out, read His word, and fellowship intimately with Him and with those He has called – your brothers and sisters in the Lord.

And if by chance you have never taken the blessed opportunity of calling on Christ and being saved from your just due as the object of God’s wrath, please let me tell you what will bring you to become an object of His affection and a recipient of His marvelous grace…

Closing Verse:  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” Romans 11:25-27

Next Week: Exodus 35:1-19 When you get your call, don’t be nervous… (A Call to Service) (97th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

From Glory to Glory

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words
For according to the tenor of these words that I say
I have made a covenant with you and with Israel
And these words will direct you in the way

So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights
He neither ate bread nor drank water as well
And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant
The Ten Commandments; God’s great law for Israel

Now it was so, when Moses
Came down from Mount Sinai
And the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand
When he came down from the mountain, by and by

That Moses did not know
That the skin of his face shone
While he talked with Him
To him this condition was unknown

So when Aaron and all the children
Of Israel saw Moses, they were filled with fear
Behold, the skin of his face shone
And they were afraid for him to come near

Then Moses called to them
And Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation
Returned to him; and Moses talked with them
Yes, he talked to the rulers of the nation

Afterward all the children of Israel
Came near, and as commandments them he gave
All that the LORD had spoken with him
On Mount Sinai, directions for how they were to behave

And when Moses had finished speaking with them in that place
It was then that he put a veil on his face

But whenever Moses went in before the LORD
To speak with Him, he would take the veil off –
…as the situation demanded
Until he came out; and he would come out and speak
To the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded

And whenever the children of Israel
Saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone
Then Moses would put the veil on his face again
Until he went in to speak with Him; in the tent with Him alone

Lord, you have explained to us in Your word
That it is Jesus who shines forth Your radiant glory
And so we hail Him as our exalted Lord
And we hold fast to this marvelous gospel story

Praises, yes praises to You O Lord our God
Forever we shall praise You as in Your presence we trod

Hallelujah and Amen…

Exodus 34:10-26 (Behold, I am Making a Covenant)

Exodus 34:10-26
Behold, I am Making a Covenant

There is a lot going on in these verses today, and some of them seem entirely disconnected from the other verses, but that really is not the case. The Lord has shown grace to Israel rather than destroying them. Now, He is further refining many of the laws that He previously gave them. He is also repeating, in part or in whole, some of them as well.

At one point in the passage the people are forbidden from making a covenant with the people of the land, sacrificing to their gods, or intermingling with them through marriage. This is actually called harlotry. The reason for this is that in doing any of these things, their hearts will be torn away from worshipping the true God.

The rest of the Old Testament shows us continual violations of this, and the results were exactly as prophesied. We, as a species, have a perverse spot in our hearts where we want to flagrantly disobey God and turn from Him. Edgar Allan Poe would call it “The Imp of the Perverse.”

We are prone to doing something which is self-destructive simply because it takes hold of us and impels us to do it. Although his words are large, often difficult, and at times obsolete from our modern tongue, what he says well reflects the attitude we have. Listen to how he describes our often hell-bent nature –

“We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss — we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain. By slow degrees our sickness and dizziness and horror become merged in a cloud of unnamable feeling. By gradations, still more imperceptible, this cloud assumes shape, as did the vapor from the bottle out of which arose the genius in the Arabian Nights. But out of this our cloud upon the precipice’s edge, there grows into palpability, a shape, far more terrible than any genius or any demon of a tale, and yet it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bones with the fierceness of the delight of its horror. It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height. And this fall — this rushing annihilation — for the very reason that it involves that one most ghastly and loathsome of all the most ghastly and loathsome images of death and suffering which have ever presented themselves to our imagination — for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire it. And because our reason violently deters us from the brink, therefore do we the most impetuously approach it. There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him who, shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a Plunge. To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost; for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot. If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed.”

Poe’s character was consumed with the Imp of the Perverse. A thought entered his mind which would surely condemn him if he spoke it, and yet, speak it he did. He tried walking quickly from it, then running, but it over took him. He could no more constrain himself than a balloon could keep from bursting when over-filled.

Poe understood human nature better than almost any. Outside of the Bible itself, I know of no source that peers so deeply into the human soul. We all carry with us the Imp and it will tear us away from what we should most cherish – Life.

But the Bible also gives us a cure from being consumed by the Imp. It is to hide God’s word in our heart and to hold fast to it, remembering it, and reciting it. It is the safety for our soul and the protection from the eternal curse…

Text Verse: “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:4-6

Each word of today’s passage is connected because they are given as a safeguard from the onslaught of the Imp. The people are being reminded in law, and the law contains reminders in life. The rite of the firstborn, the calling to the feasts, even not boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk.

It is all given to ward off the Imp and to have the people fix their eyes on the Lord. This is what we are asked to do as well. To “fix our eyes on Jesus,” to “fix our thoughts on Jesus,” and to meditate on God’s laws day and night. These things have value because they will keep us from the Imp, and they will keep us from the Lake of Fire where the Imp calls us from. Our lessons are all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Lord Whose Name is Jealous (verses 10-17)

10 And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant.

The last words of Moses in the previous verse said, “Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” The words now coming will confirm that this request is granted. Israel will be made into the Lord’s inheritance.

This is implied in the words, Hinneh anoki koret berit – “Behold, I am cutting a covenant.” It confirms that the covenant will be worked out. Israel had broken it and it could have been annulled in its entirety. If so, they would have been susceptible to the entire weight of the penalty of death, pictured in the original shedding of the blood of the animals. But they had found grace.

Moses had interceded for the people, and the Lord had relented from fulfilling the terrifying terms of the covenant which they had violated. Now, it is God that makes, or “cuts,” the covenant. It is one sided and therefore, “…if there be quarrels, we must bear all the blame; if there be peace, God must have all the glory” (Joseph Benson).

The action here doesn’t mean that the original covenant is reinstated. Nor does it mean that there is a “new covenant.” The grace of God in forgiving the transgressions of the people “describes rather His future rule as a constant, continuous establishment of a covenant” (Lange).

Therefore, the entire time of His dealing with Israel under this covenant is a transitional phase which will be in anticipation of a New Covenant. This is confirmed many hundreds of years later in the words of Jeremiah –

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

The word of the Lord through Jeremiah points back to the covenant which was broken by Israel after being brought out by the Lord. Thus, what is being renewed here is a transitional phase of God’s redemptive workings, and it only anticipates a New Covenant at some point in the future.

10 (con’t) Before all your people I will do marvels

The word “before” is neged. It gives the idea of right in front of, or in view of all. It is the same word used in the 23rd Psalm when speaking of the Lord’s provision being provided right before the eyes of David’s enemies with the words, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (v. 5)

This promise of marvels is said to be before “your people,” meaning the people of Israel. They will personally behold what the Lord will do. In this, it will bring about a two-fold aspect for them to consider.

First, it will be that their faith in God should be strengthened as they see the marvels He does, but it will also actually bring about a more terrifying culpability when the people stray. Having personally seen the work of the Lord, they will thus be more accountable should they reject Him.

10 (con’t) such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation;

The words “have been done” here are from a single verb, bara. When used in relation to God, it signifies His creative effort. It is the word which was used in Genesis 1:1 concerning the creation of the heavens and the earth. The next time it will be used in Scripture will be in Numbers 16, confirming the word of the Lord now spoken –

“By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord.” Numbers 16:28-30

The Lord created a new thing in the destruction of those who rebelled against Him. This is the type of marvel that He would work in and among the people with whom this covenant was being made. Their eyes would behold marvels never before conceived of.

10 (con’t) and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord.

In verse 9, Moses said to the Lord, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”

The Lord now uses the same term, among, but He contrasts the words “go among us” with “among whom you are.” What this means is that Moses is the one who interceded for the people. He is considered the administrator of the law. And so even after his death, it will be recognized that the great marvels of the Lord will be among the people of Moses.

Jesus confirms this thought with words from Matthew 23:2 which say, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.” The law is called the “Law of Moses.” The authority of the law is called “Moses’s seat.” Thus the great deeds of the Lord will be before “all the people among whom you are,” meaning Moses.

Therefore, the “marvels” which are spoken of here are not just constrained to the lifetime of Moses, but they are all the marvels which will occur during the time of the law, culminating in the greatest works of all under the law, those of Christ – to include the fulfillment of the Law of Moses itself.

10 (con’t) For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

The word translated here as “awesome” is yare – it is a noun which means “fright” or a “terrible act,” but it includes the thought of being placed in a state of fearful reverence. The work which will be accomplished by the Lord will be a terror. It will be a terror to the enemies of Israel, as they are destroyed for the sake of Israel, and it will be a terror to the people of Israel as they are destroyed for violating the covenant which is set before them.

The world will behold the might, power, and majesty of the Lord in both contexts, a work which continues on to this day as He continues to bring the terror which was promised 3500 years ago.

And again, the Lord says that this will be a thing “that I will do with you.” He uses Moses as the cause of the terror which will proceed from the Lord. As I said, this continues on until this day. But how can that be if the Law of Moses is annulled in Christ? It is because Daniel 9:24-27 promises 7 more years to the people of Israel to come into the New Covenant through the work of Christ.

This is why, even to this day, the terror of the Lord as described in these verses applies to all who witness what He will do to and through Israel. When we think of the ultimate terror, that of the Tribulation Period, we can see the immensity of the words spoken at this time to Moses. He probably had no idea the scope of what he was being told. For Israel, the terror will be realized in its fullness by the words –

“Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7

For the world at large, the terror will be realized in the words of Revelation –

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:16, 17

11 Observe what I command you this day.

This is spoken to Moses personally. He will be given a set of commands, most of which are positive in nature. The admonition here is to ensure that the people, typified by Moses, were to adhere to the commands. But the Lord doesn’t immediately give the commands. Before doing so, he makes a promise on which the commands are actually dependent…

11 (con’t) Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

These words both form one of the wonders the Lord promises He will do, and they form the basis on which the subsequent commands will be given. He promises that it will be by His power, not Israel’s, that the nations would be driven out. That Israel was used in the process does not negate His having accomplished it. Rather, Israel was a part of His arsenal in making it come about. That this is one of the coming wonders He will perform is seen many years later in the words of David –

“And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land—before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? 24 For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, Lord, have become their God.” 2 Samuel 7:23, 24

David spoke both of the redemption of the people from Egypt, but also from the nations, meaning many of the nations mentioned here in this verse. The Lord promised He would do this, and He fulfilled His promise. But just as importantly as this, the driving out of these nations is necessary because it will provide Israel the basis for the laws which He will now pronounce…

12 Take heed to yourself,

These words are an imperative. The heart is prone to wander and the flesh is weak. Moses is being instructed now that a positive mindset and action is required in order to keep from failing. And lest we think we are exempted from this while living in the dispensation of grace, Paul warns us in the church otherwise –

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13

12 (con’t) lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.

The nations of the land were to be driven out for a specific set of reasons. First, they had become so perverse and ungodly that the judgment of God was due them. This is seen in Leviticus 18 –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled).” Leviticus 18:26, 27

Secondly, it was promised to Abraham and his chosen descendants. Israel was that select line and the time of the fulfillment of that promise was rapidly approaching –

“Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:15, 16

And the third reason is that if they did stay, and Israel made a covenant with them, the Lord now says that such an action would become “a snare in your midst.” This is a close repeat of the words of Exodus 23. There it said –

“You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

A covenant with the people would imply a covenant with their gods. Such an action would be sin against the Lord. Making alliances with those who worship other gods will inevitably result in a weakening of the true faith. It is as a snare by which one is caught. It is as if one is walking along, and without even seeing it lying there, they step in it and are set on a path to destruction.

This is the end for all who mingle the true faith with that which is false. Unfortunately, Israel failed to heed. Even today, 3500 years later, they continue to fail in this regard.

13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images

In Exodus 23, the people were told to break down the sacred pillars of the inhabitants. The Lord adds onto that here. First, they are to destroy their altars. The word nathats, or “destroy” is introduced here. It gives the idea of breaking down, and thus to destroy. The Lord had mandated what type of altar was acceptable to use before Him. These were pagan altars which were to be utterly removed from the land.

Next, they were to “break down their sacred pillars.” The false gods were identified with the images which represented them. They were to be utterly broken down. They were to be crushed, burned, and left as nothing more than refuse.

It was the practice of conquering forces to take the idols of the vanquished nations and keep them as trophies of victory. However, this was not to be condoned in Israel. They were false, they couldn’t save their own people, and they could only entice Israel to eventually look to them for what they could never provide. The wicked king Amaziah actually did exactly this –

 Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. 15 Therefore the anger of the Lord was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?” 2 Chronicles 25:14, 15

Thirdly, they were to “cut down their wooden images.” These images, or Asherah are introduced into Scripture here. They were based on a goddess of the same name found in Phoenicia, Assyria, Canaan, and the like. They will be noted throughout the Old Testament as being worshipped by Israel. Exactly as the Lord warned, they became a snare to the people.

14 (for you shall worship no other god,

Each of these things that was instructed to be broken down was because it represented a false god. Hence the term ki or “for” is given. The plural “other gods” of the first commandment is made singular – “…you shall worship no other god.” The Lord is being explicit because the people had already done this on their own, fashioning a false god, erecting an altar to it, and sacrificing to it.

In His hot displeasure, He was prepared to destroy the people. Now, He is explicitly stating that as the people of the land were to be destroyed, so should their false religious implements be so destroyed. He has promised to take care of the inhabitants, and He expects Israel to take care of what they leave behind. These things served no other purpose but that of false worship and idolatry.

14 (con’t) for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

It is an unpopular set of words for many. People find the thought of jealousy being ascribed to God as something unworthy of His divine nature. But this is absurd for several reasons. First, He claims the title to Himself. Thus challenging the attribute is a challenge against Him.

Secondly, if God was not jealous of Himself and His own honor, it would mean that idolatry was unimportant to Him. If this were true, then it would mean He cared nothing for His creatures. Idolatry includes many moral negatives – adultery, self-flagellation, even human sacrifice.

Thus, it would be contrary to the nature of God for Him to not be jealous. Thus, the Lord’s name and his character answer one to the other. The Lord’s name is Qanna, and el qanna hu – “A jealous God is He.”

Further, in Proverbs 6:34, jealousy is called a husband’s fury. This is what is seen here. The covenant between the Lord and the people of Israel was a type of marriage contract. In the worship of other gods, the fury of their Husband, His righteous displeasure, would be brought out of Him.

Finally, this type of jealousy doesn’t indicate jealously of success in another. It speaks of a defense of His honor and glory. When one bows to another god, the Lord isn’t jealous of that false god receiving worship. His jealousy is having been deprived of what He is justly due. His words in Isaiah show the thought well –

“I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.” Isaiah 42:8

As Matthew Henry states about this verse, “Those cannot worship God aright, who do not worship him only.”

15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice,

The idea of verses 15 & 16 is, “One thing leads to another.” If the people were to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, they would then be joined in a familiar way with them. But the Lord has promised to drive them out of the land. A covenant would imply that they receive safe harbor within the land.

This would be contrary to the work of the Lord in expelling them. Now, with their safe harbor, they would continue to “play the harlot” with their gods. This is the first time this word, zanah, or harlot, is used in a spiritual sense in the Bible, and it is used of Gentile people in relation to their gods.

The Lord is their Creator too, and yet they sacrifice to that which is not God. In these words, His jealousy is as evident as in that which He proclaims towards Israel. But they are not His redeemed people and so they are to be destroyed. But, with safe harbor, they instead sacrifice to their own gods and they will even invite Israel to join them. The covenant brothers will now be brothers in worship also.

16 and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.

Brothers in worship will inevitably become brothers by blood. The relations will become deeply rooted in family. In joining in marriage, there will be a joining in false worship, and the sons and daughters of Israel would soon “play the harlot” with false gods.

Here the thought of the marriage tie between the Lord and Israel is seen in its full sense. A covenant was made with the Lord, resembling the rite of marriage. Just as when a woman who goes out from her husband to another man is considered adultery (well, it used to be), so is the worship of other gods by the people of the Lord. This is the idea which is conveyed here concerning sacrificing to, and worshipping of, other gods.

It is a lesson Israel failed to heed, and they were swept up in idolatry, from the least even to the greatest. Kings as great as Solomon intermarried, and they left the Lord in order to worship the gods of their wives.

17 “You shall make no molded gods for yourselves.

This verse ends the long chiasm which started all the way back at verse 32:1. The chiasm opened with an example of idolatry in the making of the golden calf; we have now been given warnings against idolatry in these commands of the re-worked and continually reworking covenant of the Lord. Here as a final warning, He commands explicitly against what they had done by using the words elohe masekah, or “molded gods.” The word “molded” was first used when speaking of the molten calf which Aaron made, now it is warned against explicitly in any type, shape, or form. No.molded.gods!

I am a God of grace, longsuffering and kind
I am a God of mercy, forgiving transgression and sin
But I am a jealous God; to harlotry I am not blind
And in your harlotry, you will find yourself done in

If you go a-whoring after other gods, away from Me
Your heart will be led completely astray
My fury will rise against you, most assuredly
And I will destroy you and your wicked way

Cling to Me! Let Me be your only God
Follow Me and I will give you life and love
Pursue Me always in this life you trod
And I will shower you with blessings, yes blessings from above

II. Close Fellowship With the Lord (verses 18-26)

18 “The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

In what seems an abrupt change in commands, a feast of the Lord is suddenly introduced. It will be followed up with the other two pilgrim feasts. There is actually nothing abrupt about this. Rather, it is a logical progression of thought. The people are warned against idolatry, and then they are admonished to keep the precepts which acknowledged them as the people of the Lord.

As the Lord’s people, they would fellowship with Him intimately through these feasts. Instead of sacrificing to other gods, they would be sacrificing to Him. One must ask why, though, the double feast of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is simply called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The reason is that they had been redeemed. The Passover, though observed annually, was commemorative in nature. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instructive in nature. It signified being separated from the heathen world. They were to commemorate this annually to show their set-apart status. Every year at ha’aviv, or the time of fresh young ears of grain, they were to observe the feast.

19 “All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.

The term peter or “open” was introduced into the Bible in Exodus 13. It was used 5 times where the “Law of the Firstborn” was given in great detail. Now it is mentioned again, three times in verses 19 & 20. As this mandate was given before the giving of the law, it is now brought into the law itself. It is not an option, but rather a command which must be adhered to.

This claim on the firstborn is an assertion by the Lord that all born to Israel – man or beast – were His, but the firstborn was taken as representative of that fact. The people were set apart to Him and the clean animals were His.

20 But the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem.

The donkey is representative of all unclean animals. They were not to be offered to the Lord, and so they had to either be redeemed by a clean animal, or they were to be killed. A picture is made here. The donkey, symbolic of unclean Gentiles, was to be redeemed with a lamb or have its neck broken. In picture, the Gentile had never been redeemed by Christ. Instead, his neck remained turned in defiance to Him. This is why the breaking of the neck is chosen.

Human sacrifice was unacceptable, and so all human sons of Israel were required to be redeemed.

20 (con’t) “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.

The word “empty-handed” is reqam. It gives the sense of something being vain. The word was used was in Exodus 3:21 when the Lord promised that Israel would not come out of Egypt empty-handed –

“So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.” Exodus 3:20, 21

The intent here is that, “Just as I brought you out of Egypt with hands that were not empty, so you shall come before Me with hands that are not empty. To do so would be a vain thing.” The Lord provided for Israel; Israel was to acknowledge that.

21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest;

The mandate of the Sabbath rest has already been seen at the time of the giving of Manna in Exodus 16. It was brought in as the fourth of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. It was reiterated in the Book of the Covenant in Exodus 23. And it was again given as an appendix in the directions for the construction of the Sanctuary in Exodus 31. It is given again now for the following reason which is tied into the annual harvest feasts…

21 (con’t) in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

The word kharish, or “plowing” is rather rare, being used only three times in the Bible. Normally the Bible speaks of seedtime and harvest, but here it speaks of plowing. This is set in contrast to reaping then. The times where hard physical work was required, it was still to be stopped on each Sabbath day.

This is especially so because if the weather was bad all week, these tasks may have been urgently needed. However, the Lord may provide a marvelously beautiful day on the Sabbath. The obvious thought might be, “The Lord has given us this beautiful day to plow so that we will be fruitful.” But rather, they are being told now that this was not the case. The Sabbath was not to be violated.

22 “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,

Khag Shavuot, or the “Feast of Weeks,” gets its name from a seven-week period which started at the bringing of the Firstfruits to the Lord. This is detailed in Leviticus 23:10, 11. In Exodus 23, this same feast was call ha’qatsiyr, or “the harvest.” The feast in Greek and in the New Testament is called “Pentecost” meaning “fiftieth.”

This grain harvest, which began fifty days earlier, was now considered finished. As the feast of harvest, it was a celebration of the blessing of labor in the field.

22 (con’t) and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.

Khag ha’asiph, or Feast [of] the Ingathering is the final of the three mandatory pilgrim feasts. It is only called by this name here and Exodus 23:16. When the feast is mentioned elsewhere, it is called Sukkoth, or Tabernacles. It is referring to the ending of the harvest season when the labors of the people are gathered in from the field.

The dating for this feast will later be fixed as the 15th day of the seventh month and it will last for seven days. This corresponds to around October on our calendar. There are various crops that grow in Israel throughout the summer months and by this time, they are almost all harvested.

Generally, the last crops to be gathered in are the grapes, figs, pomegranates, almonds, and olives. At the time when these harvests were accomplished, the people were to celebrate this feast of their labors, as it says “at the year’s end.”

The Hebrew term for “end” here is tequphah. It is a noun used for the first of just four times. It means a coming round or circuit, and it comes from the verb naqaph – to circle or go around. At this point of turning, the cycle of the agricultural life they lived would be ready to start once again.

23 “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel.

This verse is almost a repeat of Exodus 23:17. The only difference is that it includes the words elohe yisrael or “the God of Israel” at the end of it. The Lord Yehovah is specifically said to be “the Lord Yehovah, the God of Israel.”

24 For I will cast out the nations before you

The Lord has promised to do this, though the people did not fully obey the Lord concerning making covenants with the inhabitants, nor did they fully obey in driving out all of the people, the nations were essentially driven out from the land. Israel ruled the land of Canaan as was originally promised to Abraham in Genesis 12.

24 (con’t) and enlarge your borders;

Later in Genesis 15, the Lord promised Abraham an enlargement of the borders originally promised. That is repeated now, and it was fulfilled at the time of David and leading into the rule of Solomon. Though they only possessed this larger expanse of land for a short time, the promise was fulfilled.

24 (con’t) neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year

These words are found nowhere else in Scripture, but they are so memorable that no other recording of them is needed. Even though every male of Israel was to present himself before the Lord, leaving every city and town with only women and children, the Lord made a promise that they would never need to fear during these feasts, even with no protection at all in a country larger than the state of New Jersey. With its increased borders at the time of Solomon, it was far, far larger than that. It is an amazing promise, but it was a promise based on the obedience of the people.

25 “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.

With but a few differences, this verse is almost the same as Exodus 23:18. In both verses, the blood is the object of what is offered instead of the sacrifice – “You shall not offer the blood.” As the Bible says that the life is in the blood, and because grain offerings were considered separate offerings than sacrifices, it is referring only to the Passover, which is a type of Christ’s cross. Thus it is called, “My sacrifice.”

Leaven was to be completely purged from the home prior to the slaughtering of the Passover. Thus it is a picture of the sinless Christ who shed His blood for us. There was no sin to be found in Him, just as there was no leaven to be found in the homes of those who partook of the Passover. There was to be nothing left of the lamb by morning time. This was explained in Exodus 12 –

“You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.” Exodus 12:10

*26 “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Verse 26 is identical to Exodus 23:19, word for word. For that reason, I’ll send you there either via my written sermon, or YouTube for you to get all of the exciting details. Suffice it to say that every word of this verse points to the work of Christ. His resurrection, and all the way through to the end times.

In fact, each of the precepts that we have looked at today picture Christ intimately. If you missed those previous sermons, go back and watch them to get a full appreciation for all that is entailed in them. There is truly marvel to be seen in how Christ is so beautifully revealed. Today, I simply took the time to highlight the changes from previous passages, and to explain any additions. But be sure that it is all about Christ.

The Old Testament was given to show us what lay ahead in Him. Without Him, we are all lost. We follow the Imp of the Perverse and we turn our hearts away from God, but with Christ, we are given the ability to focus our thoughts anew and to redirect our hearts and our lives to a state which God finds good and pleasing.

And it is all based on our faith and His grace. If you have never received the good news of Jesus Christ, please do it today. He died so that we can live. Through the blood of His cross, we are reconciled to God and brought near to Him once again.

Closing Verse: “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:23, 24

Next Week: Exodus 34:27-35 Don’t think this title at all odd… (The Refulgency of God) (96th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Covenant Continues

And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant
Before all your people, of every station
I will do marvels such as have not been done
In all the earth, nor in any nation

And all the people among whom you are
Shall see the work of the Lord
For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you
The guarantee is my word

Observe what I command you this day
Behold, I am driving out from before you, as I determine is right
The Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite
And the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite

Take heed to yourself
Lest a covenant with the inhabitants you make
Of the land where you are going
Lest it be a snare in your midst, this warning do take

But you shall destroy their altars
Break their sacred pillars too
And cut down their wooden images
For no other god shall be worshipped by you

For the Lord, whose name is Jealous
Is a jealous God, and for His name He is zealous

Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land
And they play the harlot with their gods, a terrible vice
And make sacrifice to their gods
And one of them invites you, and you eat of his sacrifice

And you take of his daughters for your sons
And his daughters the harlot with their gods play
And make your sons play the harlot with their gods
You shall make no molded gods for yourselves; this you shall obey

The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread
As I commanded you
In the appointed time of the month of Abib; just as I have said

For in the month of Abib out from Egypt you came
And so the nations heard of my great name

All that open the womb are Mine
And every male firstborn among your livestock
Whether ox or sheep
Animals of the herd or of the flock

But the firstborn of a donkey
You shall redeem with a lamb for My name’s sake
And if you will not redeem him
Then his neck you shall break

All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem, I have commanded
And none shall appear before Me empty-handed

Six days you shall work
But on the seventh day you shall rest
In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest
Do not disobey and thus put me to the test

And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks
Of the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat
And the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end
When the harvest cycle is complete

Three times in the year all your men
Shall appear before the Lord
The Lord God of Israel
This according to my word

For I will cast out the nations before you, so understand
And enlarge your borders, so will it be – have no fear
Neither will any man covet your land
When you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven
This I state to you as a warning
Nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover
Be left until morning

The first of the firstfruits of your land
You shall bring to the house of the Lord your God
You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk
You shall not so defile the land upon which you trod

Lord God, You gave good laws to Israel
But as a people, they failed You time after time
They turned their necks to you, and raised their fists as well
But through it all, You have claimed, “This people is Mine”

And the people of Your church have likewise turned away
We have shunned Your grace and gone after works of our own
But still You hold out nailed-scarred hands, even to this day
Great mercies to Your wayward people you have shown

Help us Lord to turn our hearts to You
Help us to be like Christ, ever faithful and true

And as we walk upon this world, let us ever give You praise
Yes, for the duration of our lives, whatever number be our days

For You are worthy, O God – Yes, faithful and true
And so we shall in heaven’s majestic home, ever be praising You

Hallelujah and Amen…

Exodus 34:1-9 (Take Us as Your Inheritance)

Exodus 34:1-9
Take Us as Your Inheritance

There is a whole lot going on in today’s nine verses. We’re still in the chiasm which has spanned these past five sermons. We’re also still in an insert passage which belongs between two verses of chapter 33. We are also in the middle of Moses’ request for grace in the sight of the Lord. It is something that has already been promised, but Moses is still struggling with the issue.

None of this has been easy to grasp, and none of it has come without a lot of careful consideration. Each of you who are here, meaning a part of this sermon – whether here at the Superior Word or at some other time by video or simply reading the sermon notes – is to be commended for sticking this one out.

The chiasm itself is enough to tantalize, but being able to appreciate all of what is presented is like trying to assimilate the footnotes in a chemistry textbook. It is hard work and it can be… yes, tedious. But what results from the tedium is a fuller appreciation of the marvelous heart of God who has given us such depth.

The entire thought of today’s verses can be summed up in one word – LOVE. The law was given and it was a law of justice and punishment. God has a set of laws, and they must be enforced based on His just, righteous, and holy character.

Israel violated the law and was set to receive His punishment. However, there was mediation and appeal on their behalf. Moses’ words brought in a new aspect of the Lord’s revelation of Himself. But before that is given, two new tablets are requested to be made.

With the tablets will come a repeat of their inscription upon stone. It appears that this repeat inscription would then mean justice and punishment was again to be the expectation, would it not? But before the inscription is made, and before the tablets are handed back, grace is received, mercy is granted, and the love of God is revealed. This love is then summed up in the final request of Moses that the sin of the people be pardoned and they be taken as His inheritance.

Text Verse: “I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.” Psalm 2:7, 8

Israel was to be the Lord’s inheritance based on the covenant at Sinai. In the 2nd Psalm, it says that the nations would be the inheritance of the Son of God. If the mediator of the first covenant was a mere man, and yet he obtained the grace and mercy of the Lord, how much more superlative is the expectation for the same from the Mediator of the New Covenant!

This is what is pictured in the second set of tablets which will be inscribed with the Ten Commandments. This is what we can put our trust and hope in – a greater hope than the law could ever provide. This is the wonder which is to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Tablets of Stone Like the First (verses 1-4)

And the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones,

Of these words, Charles Ellicott states –

“Something is always lost by sin, even when it is forgiven. The first tables were ‘the work of God’ (Exodus 32:16). The second were hewn by the hand of Moses.”

He cites for this Exodus 32:16 –

“Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.”

Ellicott’s words are true in that the original tablets were formed by God and they were broken by Moses, but it was not the intent that the tablets alone were to be the focus of attention. Rather, there are all kinds of tablets in the world which look alike. For example, gravestones are pumped out one after another, each identical to the next. It is what is written on them that bears the difference and which causes them to be different.

If I walk through a cemetery and see two identical stones, but one says “Johnson” and the other says “Garrett,” I will naturally be more curious about the one which bears my name. If they both say “Garrett,” I will be      equally interested in both.

These tablets which Moses is instructed to make will be “like the first ones,” and so they bear the same appearance. They will also be used for the same purpose as well. The fact that the Lord asks Moses to make the tablets, rather than being made by Him, shows that these are to be considered just as acceptable for the bearing of the law. Otherwise, He would have again made them Himself.

The word translated as “cut” here is pasal. It means to carve into shape, whether wood or stone. This is the first of just six times it will be seen. Four of those are referring to these tablets, and once it is referring to the cutting of the stones for the temple in Jerusalem. This was in accordance with the word of the Lord to build a temple, and the work was actually accomplished by Gentiles. This is seen in 1 Kings 5  –

 So Solomon’s builders, Hiram’s builders, and the Gebalites quarried them; and they prepared timber and stones to build the temple.” 1 Kings 5:18

Finally, it is used once concerning the carving of false images by the people of Israel in defiance of the word of God. That last one is found in Habakkuk 2 –

“What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it,
The molded image, a teacher of lies,
That the maker of its mold should trust in it,
To make mute idols?
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’
To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
Yet in it there is no breath at all.
20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20

And so we see a contrast in that the Gentiles were used to cut stone in a positive way for the building of the Lord’s temple where the Ark with its Ten Commandments would be kept, while the Jews carved out false images for themselves in defiance of the law written on those same Ten Commandments.

In fact, the passage in Habakkuk, which speaks of the apostasy of Israel, begins with these words concerning lukhot, or “tablets.” It is the same word used to describe these now made by Moses –

“Then the Lord answered me and said:

‘Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.’” Habakkuk 2:2, 3

Immediately after this, the words of the Lord through Habakkuk, show us a marvelous truth concerning justification before the Lord –

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

These passages are being tied together for a reason; one which is only realized in Christ Jesus. Further, the words for Moses are to cut two tablets of “stones.” The word is plural, not singular. They were hewn from two separate stones, not from one.

1 (con’t) and I will write on these tablets

This verse may seem confusing when taken in connection with verse 27 of this chapter, which says –

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” (vs. 27)

However, the words of verse 1 are speaking of the Ten Commandments on the tablets. The words of verse 27 are speaking of the laws spoken to Moses in verses 11-26, and certainly a copy of the Ten Commandments as well. This copy of the Ten Commandments, along with the other laws, would be for the people’s use.

But the Ten Commandments in stone were to be kept separate and enclosed within the Ark of the Covenant. This is certain because we are specifically told in Deuteronomy 10:1-4 that the Lord wrote the words of the Ten Commandments upon the tablets and then they were placed in the ark.

Despite the tablets coming from man, the stone was still made by God. The shaping of them simply came through man. However, the original design was made by God as well. Moses was told to “Cut two tablets of stone like the first.” Therefore, the pattern is already set by God. Further, the words to be written on them were to be solely the work of God…

1 (con’t) the words that were on the first tablets

These would be the identical words of the first tablets. They are God’s eternal and irrevocable law. They are His standard which must be met in order to live in His presence. As it will say in Leviticus 18:5 –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:5

Paul cites this verse in Romans 10:5 and tells us that no person can meet the demands of the law. In fact, in James 2:10, we read –

“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10

That is bad news for all of us. They are God’s standard, we cannot meet them, and they are written in stone. Is there no hope for us?

1 (con’t) which you broke.

Of the breaking of the first tablets by Moses, Joseph Benson states –

“We may observe also, that although the first tables were broken, to show that there was no hope for mankind to be saved by their innocence, yet God would have the law to be in force still as a rule of obedience, and therefore, as soon as he was reconciled to them, ordered the tables to be renewed, and wrote his law on them. This plainly intimates, that even under the gospel (of which the intercession of Moses was typical) the moral law continues to oblige believers. For though Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, yet not from the command of it, but still we are under the law to Christ.” Joseph Benson

Although that sounds like a reasonable explanation, it is not. First, the Bible never makes a distinction between the civil laws and the moral laws which are found in the Old Testament. There is one law. The fact that the Lord renews the covenant and then speaks out, in verses 11-26 of this chapter, many commands not in the Ten Commandments, shows us that they are all binding and a part of the same covenant.

Secondly, if we were to suppose that there was a distinction between the moral and civil laws, then it would mean that the Sabbath is still a required day of observance, which it is clearly not. If it were, then every one of us would be in violation of the New Covenant which is in Christ’s blood; we are not. Paul and the book of Hebrews clearly and definitively shows this.

Therefore, if one of the supposed “moral laws,” meaning the Sabbath, is annulled in the coming of the New Covenant, then the entire law is so annulled. It cannot be a pick and choose thing when it comes to the annulling of the covenant. It is either annulled and set aside, or it is in full effect.

And so what we have here in these verses is a picture which has been developed by the Lord for us to see Christ. God made the first set of tablets. Upon them He wrote the Ten Commandments, the sum of His law for humanity, and upon which every other law finds its place.

These were given to Moses, but were destroyed by him when he saw the rebellion of the people. It is a picture of Adam who was created by the Lord. He was formed as a perfect man and was instilled with God’s perfect law. Though being in a state of innocence, he had the law of God given to Him, and yet he broke that same law. It doesn’t matter which law he broke either, he erred on one point, and the entire law was broken; shattered.

The second set of tablets was cut and formed by man, and yet the stones were originally made by God. These tablets picture Christ, who traces His humanity from the line of fallen man, but which was originally made by God – meaning Adam. Just as Moses was told to make the tablets like the first, Christ is a like-representation of Adam. This is seen revealed in Paul’s words of 1 Corinthians 15 –

“There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.” 1 Corinthians 15:44-47

However, unlike Adam who broke the law, Christ fulfilled the law. The same perfect letters of the law were inscribed for both, but He never broke one of the commands of God. The law was secreted away in the Ark, which also pictures Christ. Thus Christ embodies that same law. It is fully contained in Him. This takes us back to the symbolism of the Mercy Seat.

In His perfect completion of the law, Christ died in fulfillment of it, and thus the law died with Him. The blood was shed, the law was fulfilled and annulled. This is what is being pictured in what is happening with the two sets of laws. It is showing the supremacy of the work of Christ in comparison to the failings of Adam. This is the meaning of Christ’s words of Matthew 5 –

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17

Christ didn’t come to smash the law of the tablets as Adam did. Rather, He came to embody them. This is why the following words of Christ are so relevant to us –

“For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:18-20

Though often misused by people who claim that the law is still in effect,  Jesus shows that the very opposite is true for those who have received Him. God’s law must be fulfilled, and fulfill it He did. The righteousness of the Pharisees is not only exceeded by the righteousness of Christ, it is infinitely exceeded. For those who are “in Christ,” we are counted as having fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law, and we are granted His righteousness.

I asked a few minutes ago if there is any hope for us. The answer is that in Christ, there is not only hope, there is surety. This is all being pictured in what is presented to us now in this ancient passage.

So be ready in the morning,

There is an interval of one day allowed for the shaping of the tablets. In the morning, they were to be taken up the mountain. It is reflective of the one day in the creation of Adam. He didn’t evolve into Adam. Rather, he was fashioned by God, and on the same day the breath of life was breathed into him.

The humanity of Christ, coming in the pattern of Adam, stems from that same act of creation. Every human since Adam was potentially in Adam the moment that he came to be. This includes Mary, the mother of the Lord, and thus it includes the Human nature of Christ. Thus, the Human nature of Christ is reflected in the tablets themselves.

2 (con’t) and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai,

The last time the mountain was mentioned by name was in the last chapter, verse 6. However, at that time it was called Horeb. Now, it is again called Sinai. When the name Sinai is used, it is normally referring to the on-going redemptive workings of God for His people.

When Horeb is used, it indicates the total dependence of the people on the provision of the Lord, or it indicates that which has been accomplished by Him already. In Chapter 33, the people needed the Lord to sustain them. They had fallen out of favor with Him, and so the term Horeb was used

Now, we are again seeing a picture of the redemptive workings of God in Christ, and so the term Sinai is used. What we tend to cursorily read and pass by without thought actually carries great significance to God. When understood, we find marvelous truths displayed in this precious word.

2 (con’t) and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.

In the Bible, the top of the mountain is the place where much of the greatest business gets done. The law was received there; Jesus was transfigured there. It was from the top of a mountain that He ascended, and it will be to the top of the same mountain that He will return. Israel will later be told that it is at the top of the high mountain that they should seek the Lord –

“O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem,
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’” Isaiah 40:9

It is to the top of Sinai where Moses is now, once again, expected to present himself to the Lord.

And no man shall come up with you,

Nothing is said of Joshua in this account as it was in the last. Moses was to ascend alone for this magnificent revelation and manifestation of the Lord; it was only for him. The reason for this is to again make another picture of Christ and His redemptive works. This will be seen in what happens to Moses after beholding the glory of the Lord.

3 (con’t) and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain;

After the enactment of the covenant, there was a covenant meal with the elders of Israel on Mount Sinai. That may have led the same people to assume that they could come up as far as that point on the mountain. However, this prohibition is made to expressly forbid any assuming of such a thing on their part.

The sin of the golden calf had alienated the people from the Lord and until the matter was resolved, no man was allowed to come to any part of the mountain for any reason.

3 (con’t) let neither flocks nor herds feed before that mountain.”

This prohibition was to ensure that nobody would even have their animals close enough to stray up a part of the mountain. If they did, they might be tempted to go and get them, thus incurring guilt. And so to preclude any chance of this at all, they were directed to not even allow the animals to feed before the mountain.

So he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones.

This is the second use of the word pasal, the first having been in verse 1. It was Moses who cut the tablets, or it was someone doing it at the direction of Moses, which is unstated. Either way, the picture of Christ is being formed by the cutting of stones like those cut by the Lord originally.

4 (con’t) Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him;

Moses will be on the mountain for another period of forty days and forty nights. It is at this time that he would have directed the ark to be made. This is seen in Deuteronomy 10 –

“At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’
“So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the Lord commanded me.” Deuteronomy 10:1-5

4 (con’t) and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.

The tablets would be small enough to fit into the ark, and light enough for Moses to carry up the mountain by himself. Once again, the Hebrew says lukhot abenim, “tablets of stones.” The plural is used to signify that they were fashioned from separate stones. This is unlike the tablets of Exodus 31:18 which were called lukhot eben, or tablets of stone. There it is singular.

Again, a picture is being made for us to see. It is an indication of the many generations of humanity that led up to Christ, unlike Adam who was formed without any human genealogy. The tablets of stone were broken in Adam; the tablets of stones remain unbroken in Christ.

Moses is going up the mountain to meet with God and to receive a marvelous revelation from Him. In Eden, it seemed that Satan had won. He had brought an end to the close and personal fellowship between God and man.

At Sinai, the same was true. The devil stepped in, entered the hearts of the people, and they formed a god of gold. It seemed that the purposes of God were once again thwarted, but where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. That will be seen in the continuation of our passage…

Tablets of stone which bring words of condemnation
Words which prick my very soul
How can I live up to such a standard? I see only damnation
How can my name ever be written on heaven’s scroll?

The words stand against me and show me my sin
They were meant to bring life, but only death do they bring
The man who lives by them, who is he? We are all done in!
From where can life come? Show me such a spring

Words of life! I now fully see
God Himself has condemned sin in the flesh, through Jesus
Marvelous words of life, to God be the glory!
Such a marvelous thing He has done for us!

II. Yehovah El (verses 5-7)

Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there,

It is the cloud which would descend upon the tent of meeting when Moses was there that now descended and stood next to Moses. However, there is certainly more than what Moses observed in the tent. The effects of this meeting will be that which changes the countenance of Moses forever.

It will be the revealing of Christ to Moses in a way which would forever change the relationship of those who live by faith, and those who live by works. The cloud will, in fact, reveal Christ to Moses, but it will conceal more than it reveals. We know this because of what Paul says about this encounter in 2 Corinthians 3.

5 (con’t) and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

This is the fulfillment of the promise from the previous chapter. The Lord said that He would proclaim the name of Yehovah to Moses, and that has come about. The noun, “name,” is used for the pronoun, “My.”

For Him to proclaim His name is to proclaim the very essence of His being, which is what the name represents. Moses is now being prepared for the most magnificent display of splendor of his life. He is being alerted so that he will be neither surprised and thus terrified, nor will he blink and miss his chance at the awesome revelation of Yehovah.

And the Lord passed before him

It’s a good time to stop and explain that what is translated in this passage as “the Lord” is literally the name of the Lord, Yehovah. Most translations do this, and they do it for a reason. It is to tie the Lord, Yehovah, of the Old Testament in with the Lord, Jesus, of the New. However, the name Yehovah has its own meaning. Thus it would probably be better for us to think of the name, rather than the title.

Yehovah, God’s revelation of Himself, is passing before Moses. This is what He promised to do, and this is what He is now doing. In His passing, He again calls out a proclamation of Himself…

6 (con’t) and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God,

v’yiqra Yehovah, Yehovah el – It is a double proclamation of His eternal being. He is the existent One, and He is the existent God. Further, the term el, or God, indicates power and might. Thus He is Yehovah the all-powerful. But what does that mean without a further explanation? How will He reveal Himself to Moses and thus to the people of Israel?

This is what will be learned, and it is in this coming revelation of Himself that will be explained all of His future dealings with Israel. Everything that He proclaims will be something that Israel can look to as a promise, and yet which will also serve as a warning.

6 (con’t) merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

The first of His attributes is translated as “merciful.” The word is rakhum. It is an adjective which will be used 13 times in the Old Testament. It is always used when speaking of the Lord. It is from the same root as rekhem, meaning “womb.” One can see how just as a mother cares for the child in her womb, so the Lord is compassionate.

He is also gracious. The word is khannun. It is an adjective used for the second of 13 times. Again, it is always used when speaking of the Lord. When it is used, it gives the sense of hearing the cries of those who are vexed and cry out to Him. It is as if He is unable to hear such cries without responding to their need.

Next, He states He is arek appayim. It is translated by the NKJV as “longsuffering” which gives the sense of “slow to anger.” He is willing to put up with the grief His people give Him without immediately destroying them. This is the first use of the word arek, and it is almost always used of the Lord’s slowness at being aroused to anger.

The word appayim means “nostrils.” This gives a more vivid description for us to understand. He is slow to getting in an angry huff where the nostrils flare and snort. It is His nature to retain a calm composure even when anger is what should be anticipated.

After this, He proclaims v’rav khesed, “and abounding in goodness.” The word khesed is deep and rich. It is a word often translated as “lovingkindness.” It indicates favor, merciful kindness, and even pity. The Lord proclaims that he doesn’t just possess this, but He possess it in abundance.

And along with that, He includes emeth, or truth. This is what indicates certainty, or that which establishes. There is no changing in Him, and there is no variance in Him. He is firm and fixed in His dealings.

keeping mercy for thousands,

notser khesed la’alaphim. This explains the rav’khesed, or “abounding in goodness.” Even though He has lovingkindness in abundance for some, He has enough for many. His lovingkindness is never fully exhausted. Further, this goes both laterally and horizontally. His mercy extends to the multitude at any given time, and at all times. His mercy endures forever.

7 (con’t) forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,

notse avon va’phesha v’khattaah – Man offends God in many ways. Each of these described here indicates an offense of some sort. Avon, or iniquity is immoral or grossly unfair behavior. Pesha, or transgression, is some breach of trust or rebellion. And khataah, is what we would simply call “sin.” It is missing the mark in doing right, and thus causing offense.

The Lord is willing to forgive these things, not because it is deserved, but because – as He has already said – He is compassionate. He is willing to not mete out the punishment which is rightly deserved.

7 (con’t) by no means clearing the guilty,

v’naqqeh lo y’naqqeh – “and clearing, no will clear.” The word “guilty” is inserted, but it is correct. Though the Lord will forgive those who are contrite and humble, He will not allow the guilt of those who trample on the Lord’s goodness to be cleared. They will suffer the full measure of His justice. In other words, the Lord is implying His just and righteous character in His proclamation of Himself. He will not let this attribute of Himself be forgotten by His creatures. This thought is repeated many hundreds of years later by the prophet Nahum –

“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.” Nahum 1:3

What we have so far in verse 7 is a theological truth. No one can make atonement for himself because he already bears his own sins, and thus Paul reveals to us what this means, “All have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.”

7 (con’t) visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

These words cause consternation to many, but they bear a truth which cannot be escaped. When a father sins, the sin will often travel to the children, and to the next generation afterwards. A person who steals will most likely raise a thief.

A drunk will often raise children who are drunks. The visitation of iniquity is as much self-inflicted as it is imposed. As the Lord does not interfere with the transfer of this iniquity, He thus implicitly visits it upon the next generations.

However, Ezekiel 18 shows that when a son turns from the sins of the father, the Lord accepts him. And when a son turns from the righteousness of his father, the Lord judges him. These words show us a fairness in the Lord which allows man to make their own beds and lie in them, and even bring along their descendants if they so wish.

This has been seen in the exiled people of Israel for the past 2000 years. When one sins in his rejection of Christ, the children naturally follow in this, but for those who turn to Christ, they receive the benefits of the Lord’s mercy and lovingkindness.

At the burning bush, on this same mountain some time earlier, the Lord revealed Himself to Moses as the great deliverer of His people. He is the self-existent God who determines all things according to His set purposes. Now, in this second revelation of Himself, He radiates out as the kind and loving Savior who is willing to forgive His people, thus taking their actions into account as He moves through His plan of the redemption of mankind.

The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious
Longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth
Keeping mercy for thousands, mercy so spacious
His forgiveness to us is surely the proof

He forgives iniquity and transgression and sin
But the guilty He will not clear, they will see a bad end
He will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children
This is the warning which His word to us does send

But His word also shows us where His pardon to find
In the giving of Christ He has granted it to us
Be sober in thought and of a reasonable mind
Search out His goodness in the face of Jesus

III. Take Us as Your Inheritance (verses 8 & 9)

So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

In verse 18 of the last chapter, Moses said to the Lord, “Please, show me Your glory.” Now that the glory of the Lord is passing by, he removes his eyes from seeing what he most desired to see. Instead, he realized that it was not his right to see what his heart yearned for.

The Lord had told him that he would be hid in the cleft of the rock, and that He would cover him with his hand. It says nothing of that now. Rather, it simply says that Moses demonstrated humility and voluntarily looked away from the glory which was passing before him.

He realized that the proclamation itself was sufficient. The essence had been revealed in the cry of proclamation. How can we know that this is the correct interpretation? Because Paul explains it in the New Testament. We have to get ahead of ourselves, and thus repeat a portion of a sermon in the days ahead, but what happens to Moses becomes an object lesson to those who turn to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 3, he writes –

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

What is it that we see and behold as in a mirror? It is the glory of the Lord. And what is it that allows us this sight? It is the Lord’s proclamation of Himself in Scripture. In other words, the calling out of the Lord concerning Himself, is what causes the change in Moses.

It was not an external sight, but the understanding of the essence of who the Lord is. We have that same radiance handed to us, we carry it around with us and we open it to see its magnificence, or we close it up, put it on a shelf, and allow it to become dusty. At the same time, our souls darken, and the glory of the Lord fades from our minds.

Moses never forgot the proclamation, and it radiated forth from him in a manner which is actually remarkable. How many of us are willing to radiate out the glory of the Lord as He has revealed it to us in His word? Thank God for those who attend the Superior Word! I thank God for you because of your desire for a pool of depth and lasting glory rather than a shallow puddle of temporary delight.

Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight,

In chapter 33, it is twice said that the Lord had told Moses that he had found grace in His sight. And twice in between those verses, Moses questioned how he could know if he had found grace in the sight of the Lord. First in verse 13, he said –

“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” Exodus 33:13

Therefore, this verse should be translated as “Since I have now found grace in Your sight.” The Lord has shown him His way. However, after his first appeal, and just a few verses later, he spoke his second petition to the Lord –

“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” Exodus 33:15, 16

Therefore, based on the first grace, he petitions for the second. It is that grace which he desperately longs for in the full acceptance of Israel as His people once again…

9 (con’t) O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people;

The word “among us” is qerev, meaning “in the midst of.” It is what the Lord decided He would deny Israel in verse 33:3 –

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Exodus 33:3

Now, Moses acknowledges the truth of the statement once again, but he has heard the proclamation of the Lord. He has looked into the essence of his Creator as revealed to him in the divine proclamation, and he knows that the Lord is willing to forgive. Therefore, he anticipates the Lord’s forgiveness with our final words of the day…

*9 (fin) and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”

Moses asks for salakh or pardon. It is the first of 47 times that the term will be used, and it is always ascribed to the pardon of the Lord. Moses has seen the Lord’s compassion in His spoken word. As His word is the revelation of Himself, he knows that the Lord is by nature compassionate. And so, he asks for that which He knows the Lord possesses in unlimited abundance.

The verses are ended and we are seemingly left hanging as to whether the request will be granted or not. But have we forgotten our previous sermons so quickly? It is at this point in the narrative that the insert of the verses between Exodus 32:33 and 32:34 end. With the promise secured, we can take up the narrative with the words of Exodus 32:34 –

“Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.”

Everything since Exodus 32:33 until now has been an insert account. The request of Moses is granted, in its fullness, by the words of Exodus 32:34. It is realized in the word Malaki, or “My Angel.” Rather than merely malak or any given “angel” the words confirm that the Divine Presence, the Angel of the Lord, will be the one who goes before Israel.

The tabernacle will be built, the Presence of the Lord will be in their midst, and Israel will have been shown to receive the grace which Moses so greatly desired for his people. This then brings us to my closing words of the day for you.

If the Lord was willing to grant to a fallible, human mediator His assurances of covenant blessings and grace, how much more willing do you suppose He is to grant the same to us because of the perfect, and unsullied petitions of Christ on our behalf?

We have trusted in Him, and He is there, even now petitioning His Father for us when we commit our own transgressions against Him. We set up idols and we bow down to them. We turn our stiff necks away from Him and exercise our own stubborn wills in doing what we wish rather than what He commands.

And yet, because of the Lamb who was slain, we have the perfect forgiveness of a far better covenant. We have the absolute and pure assurances of the word of God concerning the ministering of Christ Jesus on our behalf. Is the Lord in our midst? Youbetcha. He has sealed us with His Holy Spirit – our guarantee of redemption.

He has taken us as His inheritance. As this is so, let us not waiver in our confidence even when we waiver in our devotion. We are certain to fall, but He is more certain to forgive. It is a promise from the very foot of Calvary to all who believe. It is the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Closing Verse:  “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:15-21

Next Week: Exodus 34:10-26 The Lord has spoken and He will surely not relent… (Behold, I am Making a Covenant) (95th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Lord’s Inheritance

And the Lord said to Moses
Cut two tablets of stone like those at the first
And I will write on these tablets the words
That were on the first tablets which you broke in your outburst

So be ready in the morning
And come up in the morning to Mount Sinai
And present yourself to Me
There on the top of the mountain, by and by

And no man shall come up with you
And let no man throughout all the mountain be seen
Let neither flocks nor herds feed
Before that mountain where you and I will convene

So he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones
Then Moses rose early in the morning, at dawn of the day so new
And went up Mount Sinai
As the Lord had commanded him to do

And he took in his hand the two tablets of stone
And thus he ascended all alone

Now the Lord descended in the cloud
And stood with him there
And proclaimed the name of the Lord
A sight and sound both precious and rare

And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed
“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious
Longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth
Keeping mercy for thousands, mercy so spacious

Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, it is so
By no means clearing the guilty, they will be done in
Visiting the iniquity of the fathers, even though
Upon the children and the children’s children

To the third and the fourth generation
A warning to Israel the nation

So Moses made haste
And bowed his head toward the earth
And worshiped
Yes, he worshiped the Lord of infinite worth

Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight
O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us; give us this chance
Even though we are a stiff-necked people
And pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance

O Lord God, how glorious You are; glorious in all ways
You are grandiose and holy, robed in majesty
And so we shall pursue you with all of our hearts, for all of our days
And praise You with all of our souls; yes Lord God Almighty

Thank You for how You have revealed Yourself to us
You proclaimed the name of the Lord, and came in the Person of Jesus

Hallelujah and Amen…