You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, today we're going back up the mountain with Moses with those new blank stones where God is going to renew the covenant with Israel. Right, and remember, a covenant has things that two parties do.
Israel does and God does. What does God say about what He's going to do? Yeah, that's the most amazing thing about what we're going to read today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning and welcome back to our dining room table. I'm Dorothy. And I'm Jim. And we have our Bibles open in front of us. We have been reading Exodus and we are in chapter 34, the second part of chapter 34. Today, Moses is back up on top of the mountain.
Yes, back on the mountain. So, Jim, tell us where we've been. Well, what we realized was that this is God telling Moses who he is before he re-established the covenant.
And we've sort of known it, but it's just a wonderful thing. If you remember in chapter 33, Moses pled with God to show Moses his glory. And God says, I will make all my goodness pass before you.
And sure enough, that's what he does when he describes his name here. And it is such a famous section in terms of understanding who God is in short form version. We just read last week that even King David, when he was not king, when he was in trouble and he was writing songs about God, he would quote this. And so I'll just quote to you from Psalm 86 because this is a nutshell of what God told Moses.
He says, Psalm 86, 15, but you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Well, you know, David didn't make that up. No, he's quoting Moses. Well, he's quoting God. God said that to Moses last week.
From this conversation, yeah. So, yeah, so things are on the mend between the nation of Israel and God. But now as we're at the top of the Mount Sinai, we need to re-establish that covenant.
So you'll see a lot of things in today's episode that will sound familiar to you and we'll point out where they are. But this really is a reiteration, but an expansion on a lot of these points of the covenant. Well, and the relationship is on the mend, not because Israel was so remorseful or repentant, but because God is so gracious. Yes, this is God's merciful graciousness.
Come kicking in right here, which is why it's nice that God prefaced all of this today with this is who I am. And so we are going to continue on by reiterating the covenant. So Moses has come back up to the mountain with the new stone tablets, the blank ones, in his hand.
He's ready to go. And I think they're more hand-sized. Well, it would seem to be because it says he carried them in his hand.
In his hand, yeah. And we know that they were going to be small enough to fit inside the Ark of the Covenant. Exactly.
So that's probably helpful. But I checked the parallel passage in Deuteronomy where Moses himself gives us a narrative of what's happening here. Right, right. He uses the same thing. He says the tablets were in his hand. In his hand. Singular.
So they're small enough to carry on one side of your body. So there we go. Okay. Well, let's read. We better read.
Let's put something on these tablets. Verse 10 of chapter 34. Okay. And he said, now this is the Lord talking, and he said, Behold, I am making a covenant, before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or 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. Let's stop. Let's stop there. Yeah.
It's an awesome thing. Look at how many times God says, I will, I will, I will. Well, this is the Covenant.
The Covenant is a proclamation from two sides. And this is God saying, my side. I am, I will, I will do.
And in a large way, I mean, he'll get to the specifics in a second, but he says, I will do marvels. Right. I will do all these things, such that has never been seen on the earth ever. And everybody's going to see them and know that it's me. And they're going to be seen.
Yeah. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord. And that's a big deal because we've stated this before, the nation of Israel, that the stated purpose for God's plan with the nation of Israel isn't just to bless one people, but to bless all the peoples in the world by using Israel as his vehicle, in a sense, to show what life looks like with God at the center. Right. So what God is going to do, which is going to be marvelous, will be seen by the peoples that they go among. And that's on purpose.
That's their purpose as a nation is to glorify who God is. And that's what's going to go on. He says, it's going to be marvels and they're going to be awesome things that I'm going to do with you.
So wouldn't you like to go into a contract or the covenant with someone and say, well, what are you going to do for me? Things people have never seen before. Well, okay. So only if you've seen them do those things before, are you going to be excited about that?
And Israel had seen God do some incredible things. Yeah. Oh, exactly. Up to this point.
So they have reason to be hopeful. Not just this declaration at the front end, I'm going to do great stuff. Okay. So God has said, I will do these things. And then verse 11, he was on, observe what I command you this day. So here comes your part.
Right, your part now. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now, those are all the people who currently inhabit the land of Canaan. And those are the same groups of peoples that he had named to Abraham way back in Genesis 15 as the peoples whose iniquity was not complete yet. God had given them 400 years. Had to wait for them to get truly nasty. For their sinfulness to fully blossom.
To really ripen. Okay. So verse 12. Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their asherim, for you shall worship no other god. For the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous god. Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of this sacrifice.
And you take their daughters for your sons and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods. Okay, that's pretty strong language. It seems very insensitive. I mean, it seems very non-inclusive to use words of these days right now.
But he's clear about what the problem is. The problem isn't that the Israelites are in some way superior to these other people or even more loved than these other people by God. The issue is that these other people believe some horribly tragic, self-destructive, spiritual things and they do not want to be Canadian. The Canaanite religion was a fertility religion. It was all about sex.
Yeah, it was horrible. So he's saying, I'm not being insensitive here. I am protecting you.
I do not want you to get into this stuff. And not because my religion is right and their religion is wrong or that it's true. The issue is what they believe is self-destructive to you. And tear it down. And tear it down. I don't want those things standing in the land to ensnare you. Don't tolerate their presence.
You need to actually eradicate them. And he told them this already back in chapter 23. He said do exactly this kind of thing or else you're going to bow down to their gods and you're going to serve them.
There's an influence here. Okay, but he doesn't say here go in there and kill them. No. He says, I will drive them out. You just tear down their religious statuary and their high places.
Because I had to check this when I went back to chapter 23 when he first says this. He says, I will blot them out. Right.
I will blot them out. But you shall not bow down to their gods or serve them. So as a result, or do as they do, you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars into pieces. Right. It's the belief structure of the Canaanites and Jebusites that is so dangerous to the people of Israel. Not just the general warfare.
Because these people live in these places. Right. They're going to have to be pushed out. There's going to be warfare because they don't want to leave their homes. That's not the biggest threat. The biggest threat is spiritual.
And that's something kind of we can take to us today. The biggest threat to us is spiritual warfare. Is the spiritual lies that swing around and make us believe things that are in the end self-destructive.
Although on the front they look okay. And the seduction of this religious system that appeals to the flesh. Yes. And it is appealing. It really is appealing.
Well, and we'll see that Israel stumbled over it again and again. Yeah. But let's circle back here in verse 14 when God says, for the Lord, whose name is jealous. Jealous.
Is a jealous God. Yeah. Yeah. What do you make of that? I think of jealousy as a negative emotion, but God says, no, no. It is a primary characteristic of mine. Yeah.
Well, you know, we've used many times the metaphor of a husband and wife because God uses that metaphor between his relationship with him and Israel. So in that context, jealousy is a husband saying, you know, I don't want you for anyone else. We have a mutually exclusive relationship. Right. That's the jealousy. I permit no rivals. That's right. No, there is no appropriate rival in this relationship. That's right. This is exclusively one on one.
I don't want you to turn away from me and look for other husbands, as it were. Right. And that's why he uses in his word to kind of this whoring around ideas. This idea of getting yourself connected with someone else. Because in Canaanite religion, you would go to a high place, any old high place, and there were lots of high places.
Lots of high places. And do the thing. That's right. And so it was completely, what's the word I'm looking for, promiscuous. Promiscuous.
Totally promiscuous. Yep. And he points out the fact that when you, especially when you intermarry, when you intermarry with people who have different beliefs, you are vulnerable to taking on their beliefs.
Right. You really need to be careful. And I bring this up a lot in premarital counseling, that this unequally yoked kind of idea is, you know, you're going to end up cross pollinating each other's beliefs with each other. So you've got to be careful that you know what the other person really believes. It's a big deal. It's a really big deal. And here, God's saying, it will draw you away.
I mean, you can resist all you want about how crazy their theology is or their God worship. But you know what? When your sons start marrying their daughters and your daughters start marrying their sons, look out, man. There's going to be this intermixing. It's going to happen. It's just going to happen.
So don't do it. So is it possible God's saying, now, here's the first thing to remember. Right? I'm the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt. Remember your mind. Your mind.
Remember who you are and whose you are. Yeah, that's right. And in fact, as we finished last week, Moses says, will you take us for your inheritance again?
That's back to that possession. So that is a one-on-one relationship. Yeah. So this is first off in kind of reviewing and renewing the covenant, is your mind and be careful.
Don't get sucked into this. So even though we don't have the verbatim reiteration of I'm the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, you shall have no other gods before me. He's kind of amplifying on that and follows it up by saying, you shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal. Yeah.
Like read my lips, just in case you don't remember what happened with that. And this is exactly the same term of the molten metal. That's right.
Don't do that. Yeah. Yeah. And he's explicit when he talks about the 10 commandments, no carved image, no likeness of anything that's in heaven, because hey, you're going to turn around and you're going to worship them.
So just don't do it. So he says it just very shortly here, don't make for yourself any gods of cast metal. Or the golden calf, which was just heartbeats before this, yeah.
18? Yeah. Let me just finish this thought about being a jealous God. That sent me thinking about all those passages in Isaiah 42, 43, 44, 45. I am God. There is no other.
There is no other. There is no other God created before me. I am your savior.
I am your redeemer over and over and over again. I am the Lord and there is no other. Yep. Yep.
Yeah. The great Shema. I am the Lord. The hero is real. The Lord your God is one. He's one. There is one. Yeah.
There is the one. Yeah. Okay. Okay.
18. Let me read for us. Okay. So you shall keep the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread as I commanded you at the time appointed at the month of Abib for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt. So he's just saying, you know, keep doing that Pentecost and unleavened bread thing. Well remember that, well, so this is not, yeah, okay.
Remember that I'm the one that delivered you. Exactly. Yeah.
And that the unleavened bread. This is the Passover not Pentecost. Did I say Pentecost?
Yeah you did. Oh I meant Passover. That's what confused me. Oh I'm sorry.
No, no, no. We're talking about the Passover. I misspoke. Yeah this is Passover because the unleavened bread is meant to remind you of getting up quick and leaving and you didn't have time so the unleavened bread will always be a sign of that. It's also a sign of the lack of yeast which always is pictured as sin. Right. So there's a couple issues there.
But I mean just most pragmatically you left Egypt in a rush, you couldn't let your bread rise so eat some unleavened bread it will remind you what I've done for you. Right. Remember that I delivered you. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. 19.
19. And all that opened the womb are mine. All your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep, the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem and none shall appear before me empty handed.
Well we've heard this before. Ah remember the ransom. Yeah the ransom. All that you have belongs to me. Yep yep. Everything born to you comes from my faithfulness. Yep. And if you want to see where this first came out it's in chapter 13 of Exodus. Right.
And we talked a lot about that. But I want to reiterate the firstborn idea. In ancient families the firstborn was the one who carried on the family.
They were the ones that pushed forward the agenda and purpose. Everything that the family is the firstborn carried that. Well they represented their father. They represented their father.
Yeah and could actually while the father was alive but elderly could make contractual arrangements as though he were the father. So this firstborn idea is a way of God saying everything that you have is mine. And carrying forward the tradition of your families and the purpose of your families it's really my family because all of your firstborn are my firstborn. So he's basically saying that as a large family your firstborn are mine. So they represent my will and my agenda and my larger family not your own small ones as your family.
It's a different thing. And if you remember when they came out of Egypt it was at the cost of the firstborn of the entire nation of Egypt and the only reason that the firstborn of Israelites didn't die too was because they sacrificed the lamb, put the blood on the doorway and took refuge inside the blood. So this is a reference to that ransom.
You belong to God. And we talked a lot about that last time but he's just reiterating here don't forget the firstborn thing. Big big deal.
Big deal. Okay so there's the Passover. Don't forget you shall keep.
Remember that I delivered you. And then he goes on in verse 21, six days you shall work but on the seventh day you shall rest. So remember the Sabbath right? In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. That idea of people who rest in God in His provision and trust in His enoughness for them is core here. The tremendous luxury in an agrarian economy of resting and having to entrust the welfare of your hard-worked crops to God on that day you don't do anything. You're not going to go out and pick grasshoppers on that day.
And if you know grasshoppers they can eat your entire season of crops in a day. So it's really it's as much the luxury of rest as it is trust will God preserve what I have. So this is really the core of what it is to live as a people whose center is God. And probably one of the greatest distinctives in the nations that they were among is that these people take a day off. Can you believe that?
Well that's just crazy talk. And then it goes on verse 22, you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. So those are two different feasts. So he's actually introducing verse 23, three times in the year you shall all your males shall appear before the Lord God the God of Israel. So there are these three times in the year and these three times a year gatherings persist through the time of Jesus and they go on. I mean in our modern vernacular is Passover and Pentecost and Tabernacles. But he says now remember in the Feast of Weeks the first fruits and in the Ingathering remember your harvest is from me.
That's right. I'm the one that protected your crops while you were resting and trusting me. So he's remember who you are, remember you belong to me, remember that I give you rest, remember the ransom price, remember that I'm the one that gives you harvest. I give you harvest, yep. And I even give you rains for your harvest. So this is all about who God is and what God gives.
So keep doing that, that's important. So the three times in the year you'll get together and you'll jointly celebrate that together. Corporately recognize as a nation.
And then 24, I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders. No one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times a year. That's interesting.
Isn't that interesting? Because all the males, you know the defensive guys. Right, all the defenders. The guys who know how to wield swords, they're going to Jerusalem or wherever, they're going away and that would leave your land very vulnerable. And as soon as word got out to the other nations that hey go run one of these three times a year we can take the whole land because their men are someplace else. And God says nope, not going to happen. I'm watching out for you. So this is a bigger kind of protectiveness that comes from the Sabbath where you trust God for your crop when you can't protect it. Here it is, come and worship me and give me credit for the crops that I've grown for you. And by the way, are you willing to trust me that I'll protect your families and your homes and not from invasion? Well yeah, God says yeah, I'll take care of that, I'll do that.
25. Yeah, so he's going to actually in the next couple of verses kind of harken back to those things that he's already mentioned. In verse 25 he says, you shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened or let the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover remain until morning. So there's a looking back to the Passover. The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. So there's a reference to first fruits and in gathering. But then this next one, you shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. That is a head scratch.
Yeah, we saw that in chapter 23. Right, exactly. It's exactly this way. So it's like, what is that about? We talked at length about that and one of my best explanations is that this was a boiling a goat in its mother's milk is kind of a pagan imitation.
It's possible that that's one way of looking at it. But today it's spawned an entire kosher rule about not having dairy and meat ever touching. So it's kind of interesting because you can have a meal like in the evening if you're in Israel and it'll be full of meat but you won't find any dairy. You won't find any butter. You only get powdered creamery in your coffee.
But like at breakfast, it might switch and you might have you might be overwhelmed with dairy but you're not going to find any meat there. So yeah, so that comes from this one verse right here. Yeah. Okay, well, we're running tight. Let's keep moving.
Should we keep moving? Yeah. Okay, so verse 27. And the Lord said to Moses, write these words, for in accordance with these words, I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. So he was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights.
He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets, the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. Yeah, they're back on the tablets. So this is kind of an overview of what it means to live as God's nation. But we're going to get the 10 words back on the rocks. That's right. That's right.
End here. So we're kind of we're kind of back to square one again, you know, it looks like things are back on track. God reminds me of the covenant. God has said, I haven't changed. What I expect from you from my people hasn't changed. Yes. Read my lips. Let's make this clear. What do you make of the fact that we have again, Moses on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights, like we were told back in chapter 24, right this time, there's this emphasis that he neither ate bread nor drink water.
Yeah, I noticed that too. And you know, you can you can get by 40 days without eating bread, but it's impossible. 40 days without water is a lot. That's really hard.
I mean, that's nearly impossible. It sort of underscores the supernatural divine sustaining that God gave to Moses while he's doing this. Well, and I wonder if there isn't an austerity about the repentance that's going on as Moses has fallen on his face before the Lord and he is so consumed with consumed with the Lord. Yeah, yeah. I don't know.
I don't have a definitive answer here. But it's interesting that that's a detail that differs from the previous 40 days. Yeah. Well, and it's also in general, when we talk about fasting, in general, the emphasis is to deny your appetite and your needs right focus on God's right. And so that's a lot of what's being said right here is that Moses was focused entirely on God's will. And so he wanted to find out. So that's that's one way of saying that it's not metaphoric, I think it's literal here.
But that's what the thing is. Moses was focused, and, and he didn't eat and he didn't drink, and he was focused on what God wanted, which again, too, is exactly what you see Jesus doing when it goes in the wilderness, the beginning of ministry, right? You know, he goes for 40 days, 40 nights, and the whole point is to say, I am focusing on God's will and not my own. It's all about God. So that's what he does during that time as well.
Yeah. So he wrote on the tablets, the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. I might read for you too, again, in Moses's own narrative, look back narrative that you find in Deuteronomy, he sums this up in Deuteronomy 10, and he says, and he wrote on the tablets talking about God, God wrote on the tablets, in the same writing as before the Ten Commandments that the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me, this is Moses speaking, then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark that I had made. And there they are as the Lord commanded me.
I like that. And there they are. There they are. As if anybody could go in and look to see if they were there. Well, they're inside the tabernacle, but there they are, they're inside that, yeah.
Which is a way of him subtly saying, and we didn't bust them the second time. Yeah. They're still there.
They're still there. Well, it was Moses that broke them. Yeah, exactly.
But representationally it's the people abandoning them. Yeah, yeah. So is there anything missing in this reiterating of the covenant that you can think of? Because I was scratching my head.
I couldn't really come up with... There's lots of details. No, we've heard it all before. Yeah. I mean, back in chapter 19, back in chapter 23, we've heard all of this before. It's like God is taking them back to now, you are my people, you are my nation, I wanna live in your midst and this is what it must look like.
Yeah, yeah. So he's kind of taken them back to the core. And while we don't have the detailed 10 Commandments rewritten here, they're all kind of implicit. We know what they are. They're implicit in God saying, I am the jealous God, you shall have no other gods before me. And implicit in that is all the other expectations.
Yeah. What I love in this is that in the reiteration of the covenant, both sides, what God will do and what the people will do. The people side isn't surprising, but God's summary at the beginning here about what he'll do and we know he's going to do an incredible work against the people that live in the land. But when he says, I will do marvels and it will be an awesome thing I will do. I just think that's a tremendously beautiful way of God saying, every resource at my command I'm gonna do for your benefit and you're not gonna believe what's gonna happen. It's gonna be awesome, it's gonna be marvelous, it's gonna be earth shaking. And by the way, not only you will be amazed by it, but the world around you will be amazed. I think that's just, that's the short statement of God's side of the contract.
I'm engaged here for your benefit and you're not gonna believe what I'm gonna do. I love that. Oh, I do too. And he never quite said it quite like that when he talked about the covenant before, but here he says, I'm still committed to that. Well and he doesn't start into this conversation by saying, now you do. He starts by saying, I will do and it's gonna be good. Exactly. I really just love this. So be enthused about the fact that although I was angry and I'm slow to anger, but I was angry but look, I'm committed to do astonishing things on your behalf. So stick with me and watch what happens. Well next we can come down off the mountain, come down to the foot of the mountain and Moses is visibly different looking when he comes down from the mountain and that visible appearance change really messes people up. Aaron and the people, they all take 10 steps back and say, whoa, what is going on? Well it attracts their attention, that's for sure. We're going to see that next week, so find out what it is when we come back here again on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org.
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