Learning from God's Word: Exodus 31-34
The history of Israel is like a rollercoaster ride. It’s full of highs and lows. We read of the Lord giving His Word to Moses (31:18). This is followed by the people rebelling against God (32:1).
Though the sin of the people is very great, the mercy of God is even greater. To those who had rebelled against Him, God continues to speak His Word of grace – ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you peace’ (33:14).
Often, we feel like God won’t want to have anything more to do with us. God is the God of grace. He is also the god of glory. He reveals His glory to us (33:18-22). His full glory is too much for us. He gives us a glimpse of His glory. He does not overwhelm us by showing us too much of His glory. He shows us just enough to create in us a thirst for more of His glory.
What we have here is grace and glory together. When the glory seems too much, the grace of God breaks in. The God of grace assures us that we belong to Him. In grace, He shows us His glory. It is the glory of His love. This love is the greatest love of all. There is no love like the love of God.
Moses received the Word from the Lord and brought the Word to the people. With God’s Word of grace – ‘the Lord, a compassionate and merciful God …’ – there is also His Word of warning – ‘He never lets the guilty go unpunished …’ (vs. 6-7). Hearing God’s Word of warning, together with His Word of grace, Moses pleads with God for mercy – ‘Lord, please, go with us …’ (v. 9). The Lord promises to give his blessing again – ‘I’m making My promise again’. This promise of His blessing is accompanied by His call to obedience – ‘Do everything I command today’ (v. 11).
‘I am making a covenant with you’ (v. 10). The word, ‘covenant’, emphasizes the gracious, undeserved character of God’s promise. God’s promise does not come to a deserving people. It comes to God’s forgiven people. The difference between being deserving and being forgiven is very important. The person who thinks he deserves God’s blessing knows nothing of confession of sin. He has never come to God as an undeserving sinner, saying, ‘Father, I have sinned against you.’ The forgiven sinner is the person who has confessed his sin to God. It is to such people that God says, ‘The best is yet to be.’ It is with this confidence in God that we are called to move into the future.
When Moses came to the people, from God’s presence, his ‘face was shining’ (vs. 30, 35). This was a sign of the power of the Spirit filling him, giving him strength, equipping him for the work of ministry.