Exodus 33 & 34


Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech, and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. But their minds were blinded, for until this day remains the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which view is done away in Christ (II Cor 3:12-14 KJV).

Finishing up with the blogs on the Book of Exodus today and tomorrow… This is a briefer blog than some have gotten to be lately… Thanks for reading!

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way” (Ex 33:1-3 NASB).

The LORD instructs Moses to lead the Israelites toward the Promised Land, but as we will see, that generation will die in the wilderness.

When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. 5 For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.’” 6 So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward (Ex 33:4-6 NASB).

Due to their great sin, the LORD wanted them to know that this was no time for festivities, levity, or decorations. In other words, they must take the matter very seriously.

Now the Lord said to Moses, “Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered. 2 So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain. 3 No man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; even the flocks and the herds may not graze in front of that mountain” (Ex 34:1-3 NASB).

George Williams wrote: “The Ten Commandments were given again, but they were to be committed to the Ark of the Covenant—the symbol of Him Who said, ‘Thy Word have I hid in My heart.’”

So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand. 5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. 6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (Ex 34:4-7 NASB).

All of this was epitomized in the LORD Jesus Christ, but the unrepentant cannot experience forgiveness from the LORD.  What great redemption and freedom their is for the repentant heart!

“Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. 12 Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst (Ex 34:11-12 NASB).

The LORD driving out these enemies, at least when Israel came to the Promised Land, was contingent upon them rendering proper obedience. He tells them that making a covenant with the world is to invite disaster.  The spirituality of the world– in whatever its pagan form– cannot be incorporated with or affirmed by God’s People.

But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— 15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods. 17 You shall make for yourself no molten gods (Ex 34:13-17 NASB).

I’ll let anyone reading this to look up what “Asherim” was… Don’t really want to get into that– Isn’t there a verse in the New Testament about some things being too shameful to even talk about?

The jealousy of God is of the essence of His Moral Character, a major cause for worship and confidence on the part of His People, and a ground for fear on the part of His enemies; the LORD will not share His People with Satan. The Word of God is emphatic that it teachers separation from the world.  Pagan altars and practices were not to be incorporated in any way shape or form in the worship of Jehovah God or the lifestyles of the People of God.  Scripture– Old Testament and New– is absolutely emphatic about this.

It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them (Ex 34:29-31 NASB).

This shining indicated that the Glory of God on Moses’ face was like rays or darts of lightning shooting forth.

Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, 35 the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him (Ex 34:32-35 NASB).

The Apostle Paul addressed this incident in his second letter to the church of Corinth. In a context that stresses the transforming Power of God in the life of the Believer, Paul first explores Moses’ motive in using the veil.  It was so that the Israelites might not gaze at his face “while the radiance was fading away” (II Cor 3:13).

Father of mercies, God of love, O, hear an humble suppliant’s cry; Thy throne of glorious majesty; o, deign to listen to my voice, and bid my drooping heart rejoice. I urge no merits of my own, no worth, to claim Thy gracious smile; and when I bow before the throne, dare to converse with God a while, Thy Name, blest Savior, is my plea—dearest and sweetest name to me.  Father of mercies, God of love, then hear Thy humble suppliant’s cry; bend from Thy lofty seat above, Thy Throne of glorious majesty; one pardoning word can make me whole, and soothe the anguish of my soul. — Collyer