Moses climbed a mountain to meet with God. He wanted to know where he stood in God’s sight. To respond to God’s calling he had to be sure he was on the right track. The Lord said to him, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’ (Exodus 33:14).
This didn’t seem to be enough to satisfy Moses. He needed to know that he and his people were special. He even went so far as to say to God, ‘Show me your glory’ (Exodus 33:18).
‘And the Lord passed before him in all His glory’ (Exodus 33:22).
Was Moses such a righteous man that God was rewarding him for his faithfulness? It hadn’t been so long before this time when Moses had smashed the written words of God to the ground, in a demonstration of his anger.
Moses had been on his way down the mountain, carrying with him the precious tablets of stone. ‘The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets’ (Exodus 32:16). He discovered that his brother Aaron, and all the Israelites had turned aside from God and were worshipping golden images of other gods (Exodus 32:4).
‘His anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain’ (Exodus 32:19). Moses pleaded with God to forgive their sin, ‘but if not, blot me out of the book you have written’ (Exodus 32:32).
God’s contempt for idolatry is well documented in the Old Testament. Moses had witnessed his own people rejecting God’s grace, turning their backs on His love and compassion, and paying homage to false gods for their deliverance. Moses pleaded for their salvation.
God wasn’t prepared to provide the tablets of stone a second time. Moses had to carve them out of the rock by himself. ‘The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke”’ (Exodus 34:1). God then summoned him back up the mountain.
True to the character and nature of God, He passed before Moses again, demonstrating His love for His people, and proclaiming, ‘The Lord (is) the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin’ (Exodus 34:7).
And Moses, the man who had smashed the word of God in His presence, who’d pleaded for mercy from the loving Father, ‘when (he) came down from Mount Sinai … was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord’ (Exodus 34:29).
Moses met with God at the top of the mountain, where God revealed His glory and demonstrated His grace. He’s still the same today. We too can know His grace - and we don’t even need to climb a mountain.
Prayer: Please forgive me for trying to earn your grace. Help me just to live in it, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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