29 Mar. Exodus 34:1-22,27-29

29 Mar. Moses receives two new tablets of stone

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Cut two more stone tablets like the first two, and I will write the same words on them that were on the first two stones which you broke.’”

“‘Be ready tomorrow morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Stand before me there on the top of the mountain. No one may come with you or even be seen anywhere on the mountain. Not even the flocks or herds may eat grass near that mountain.’”

“So Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. Then early the next morning he went up Mount Sinai, just as the LORD had commanded him, carrying the two stone tablets with him.”

“Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with Moses, and the LORD called out his name: the LORD. The LORD passed in front of Moses and said, ‘I am the LORD. The LORD is a God who shows mercy, who is kind, who doesn’t become angry quickly, who has great love and faithfulness and is kind to thousands of people.’”

“’The LORD forgives people for evil, for sin and for turning against him, but he does not forget to punish guilty people. He will punish not only the guilty people, but also their children, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren and their great-great-grandchildren.’”

“Then Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshipped. He said, ‘Lord, if you are pleased with me, please go with us. I know that these are stubborn people, but forgive our evil and our sin. Take us as your own people.’”

“Then the LORD said, ‘I am making this agreement with you. I will do miracles in front of all your people – things that have never before been done for any other nation on earth – and the people with you will see my work. I, the LORD, will do wonderful things for you. Obey the things I command you today, and I will force out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perrizites, Hivites and Jebusites ahead of you.’”

“’Be careful that you don’t make an agreement with the people who live in the land where you are going, because it will bring you trouble. Destroy their altars, break their stone pillars and cut down their Asherah idols. Don’t worship any other god, because I, the LORD, the Jealous One, am a jealous God...’”

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write down these words, because with these words I have made a [Covenant] agreement with you and Israel.’”

“Moses stayed there with the LORD 40 days and forty nights, and during that time he did not eat food or drink water.”

“And Moses wrote the words of the [Covenant] Agreement - the Ten Commandments - on the stone tablets.”

“Then Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets of the [Covenant] Agreement in his hands. But he did not know that his face was shining because he had talked with the LORD.”

          (Exodus 34:1-12, 27-29)



After Moses had restored order in the Israelite camp, God asked him to come up the mountain again to seal the Covenant Agreement with two new tablets of stone.

So Moses set off the next morning with the new stone tablets, and met with God in the cloud on the top of Mount Sinai.

God then passed in front of Moses and said, “I am the LORD… who shows mercy, who is kind, who doesn’t become angry quickly, who has great love and faithfulness and is kind to thousands of people.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

But while God promised to forgive anyone who sinned, even if they turned against him, he also reminded Moses that he would punish them and their families down to the fifth generation. Sin usually has unpleasant consequences, and sometimes it affects whole families for generations to come.

Moses then prayed for God to forgive the Israelites and to adopt them as his own people. So God agreed to do wonderful things for the Israelites and to enable them to drive the inhabitants out of the ‘promised land’ of Canaan. And he confirmed this Covenant agreement with Israel by getting Moses to write down the commands that the Israelites were to keep.

Moses then fasted and prayed before God in the Sinai desert for 40 days and 40 nights, an action copied 1500 years later by Jesus in the Judaean wilderness when he fasted for 40 days and nights before setting out on his earthly ministry (see Luke 4:1-2).

When Moses came down from the mountain carrying the two stone tablets confirming God’s solemn covenant agreement, he was unaware that his face was radiant because he’d been talking with God. So Moses had to cover his face while he explained the Ten Commandments that God had given the Israelites so they could keep their side of the covenant agreement (see Exodus 34:29-35).

The photo (by Mohammed Moussa) shows the Greek Orthodox Chapel at the summit of Mount Sinai.

You can read more about Moses’ encounter with God on Mount Sinai @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/25-the-israelites-journey-from-egypt-to-mt-sinai/the-israelites-rebel-against-god/

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