Yesterday we ended our reading with Moses coming off of the mountain after 40 days with God, only to find the Israelites worshiping a golden calf that his brother, Aaron, made. The Lord was not pleased with the people and asked Moses to ask who was for HIM to which the Levites stepped forward. HE then asked the Levites to kill their brothers and sons who were against HIM. They obeyed and the Lord struck all the people with a plague. …. Ummmmmmm…. A big example of CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES!!
Today was special to me on so many levels but mostly because of the close, tender, loving relationship between God and Moses. He sent Jesus so EACH of us could have that SAME closeness with HIM today … if we CHOOSE.
Chapter 33—The Word opens today with God telling Moses to take the Israelites and LEAVE the place they were in. HE told them to go up to the land HE had promised their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He would send an angel before them to drive out the people currently in the land. BUT (verse 3) …. HE would NOT go with them because they were a “stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” OH MY HEAVENS!!
The Israelites were not happy campers at this news; and removed their jewelry as the Lord commanded them. This “ban on ornaments” was a temporary sign of repentance and mourning. What did Moses do?? HE PRAYED!! He went into the Tent of Meeting which was outside the camp so he could speak directly to God. The people knew he was with God because of the pillar of cloud that descended and stayed at the entrance. Moses prayed and humbly reminded God these were HIS people. I can’t help notice how very tenacious and persistent Moses was when he prayed to God. The Lord tells Moses in verse 14 “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” God heard Moses and answered his prayer.
Moses continued his prayer with God and tells HIM “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send me up from here.” This is something I often pray to God… because I do not want to go ANY where that the Presence of the Lord is not. Been there… done that… and it definitely did not work…. Don’t want to repeat it. …. So I pray this prayer.
Re-read verses 12-23… THIS is such a beautiful prayer. The interaction between Moses and God is absolutely breath taking. God LOVEd Him, not because he was perfect or without sin but because he was faithful. Moses wanted to know the presence of God experientially so he asked God to show him HIS glory. God protected Moses but allowed him to see HIM passing. WE are SO blessed that once we know Christ, HE promises to show himself to those who believe (John 14:21 – “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”) 🙂
Chapter 34 – God tells Moses to chisel out two stone tables so HE can WRITE ON THEM as HE did the first ones. Moses heads up the mountain to be with God and God came down in the cloud and stood there with Moses. Verses 5-7 tells us beautifully of God’s character. Moses bowed down immediately and worshiped. Moses repeated his prayer from Chapter 33. I love this exchange between God and Moses in verses 8-14:
Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.” Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
God tells Moses to warn the people to NOT make any treaties with those who lived in the Promised Land… NOT to make cast idols…. BREAK down their altars, smash their sacred stones, and cut down their Asherah poles, do NOT worship any other gods. What is an Asherah pole??? Asherah poles were wooden poles that stood by Baal’s altar (Judges 6:25). Asherah was the goddess who was the consort (wife) of Baal. She represented good luck in agriculture and fertility.
God in HIS wisdom also tells Moses to tell the people what they needed to do … OBEY HIM, celebrating certain festivals TO HIM, redeeming all their firstborn sons TO HIM, observing the Sabbath, not eating yeast, etc. This spoke to me today because when we try to change behaviors God is dealing with us on; it is not only critical that we repent and stop our poor behaviors but it is equally important to put something good in the place of the bad behaviors. If we are stopping a behavior it is important to have an action plan so when we are tempted to give in that we have something planned to go in its place … such as listening to worship music and singing along, reading the prayer of Moses out loud, praying out loud to God, taking a walk, doing your favorite exercise…. Etc.
Moses came down the mountain and his face was RADIANT!!! It was so radiant that not only do the people notice but he has to put a veil over his face!! Do you know people today who “just glow” because they have such a close relationship with God? If you tell them that they “glow” they look at you funny (Moses did not know his face was radiant.) The time we spend alone with God may not result in us lighting up a room but if does often have an effect on our life that others notice.
Chapter 35 – The construction of the tabernacle begins. Moses assembled the whole Israelite community. As they begin the preparation did you notice that God ONLY wanted the gifts and offerings from those who were willing and WANTED to give from their HEARTS? The Word in this chapter points out once again that God has given each of us different talents and abilities to use for HIM. Look at all the different gifts/talents/abilities HE gave to make the tabernacle (embroiderers, talented weavers, gold, silver, and bronze smiths, engravers, tent makers, skilled wood crafters, skilled builders, bakers, olive oil makers, people knowledgeable in incense, spices, and herbs, shepherds, farmers, and so much more). He does this with each of us today. 🙂 Do you know God wants your heart to be given freely to HIM? Do you know the gift or talent the Lord has given you to further HIS Kingdom and how are you using it?
I’d love to hear what touched you today, any questions you may have, or if God is showing you special things in HIS Word today.
Sharing HIS love,