Life of Moses
Advocating for the Weaker
Orig. 11/2/3; ed. 10.25.15
Introduction…We talked about this last week, that is, why is intervention of one on behalf of another so important with God’s economy? Why does life so often require one person, who is stronger, standing up on behalf of someone who is weaker, younger or less mature?
It certainly seems true in life as well as with God. After all, Christ stands up for us before God. Is it because the nature or our existence requires protection of the weak, such as embryos, infants and children, as they mature? If there was not someone to stand up for them, they would more than likely die or be destroyed, but somehow God has placed within nature and man this instinct that for the most part we are to protect our young. Why is this? How do animals instinctively know to do this? Why does the lioness protect her cubs from non-family male lions? Why is this such a strong instinct within all of us? Where does this come from?
And how does this apply to helping others that are not just physiologically young, but young with respect to life skills or knowledge or even Spiritually young or immature or even rebellious or defiant?
Is there a time when advocating for another is wasted or useless endeavor? How does one know when this is the case? Pray…
Read Passage several times…
1 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.
2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.
3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”
4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.
Makes you wonder what he was thinking as was re-chiseling out the two stones tablets and carrying them back up the mountain for a redo?
Here is an example of an ancient Egyptian stone tablet. The workman Iy-nfer and his wife, a “Chantress of Amun” burning incense for the Egyptian god Osiris, the ruler of the afterlife. Notice below five men and five women are praying. Stela of sandstone. New Kingdom, 1300-1080 BC. https://picturemixture.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/egyptian-stone-tablets/
5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
Note: Because, Israel, took Yahweh God’s command to not use his name in a vain or empty manner literally, instead of saying or using the name Yahweh (meaning I AM) to refer to God, Israel substituted the Hebrew word Adonai (LORD or Master) to refer to Yahweh God. Thus most OT translations follow suit, preferring the term LORD over Yahweh or I AM. I personally prefer to use Yahweh when Yahweh is used and Lord when adonai is used, but at the same time, I am not stickler about it either. We all know who we are talking about, while at the same time, there is a lot of tradition to overcome.
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
In light of Yahweh’s having listened to his mediator and having NOT destroyed his bride for her unfaithfulness, the God of Creation comes near his mediator, and how does he identify himself—Yahweh is compassionate. Yahweh forgives. Yahweh keeps his covenant. While imperfect man is NOT faithful, Yahweh God is.
7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
And yet while there is forgiveness, there is also truth, justice and accountability. In other words, much like with our children when they disobey, there will be consequences, but the parent-child relationship endures. This is the God’s love. God’s loyalty.
8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.
9 “O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes,” he said, “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.”
Notice Moses bases his appeal for the LORD’s accompanying Israel to her Promised Land NOT based on Israel having found favor with God, but Moses’ having found God’s favor. But the mediator stands in between God and man, between offended and the offending parties and asks for mercy.
10 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.
In a reaffirmation of the covenant, God promises still to do amazing things for Israel, and yet there are still conditions…requirements…
11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
If you obey what I command, then I will defeat that enemies that stand between you and the land that I am giving you…Obey the covenant…the law or laws?
• The Lord commands Moses to chisel out two more stone tablets upon which God will rewrite his law and to come to the mountain alone.
• Moses chisels out the stones and carries them up the mountain.
• God descends in a cloud upon the mountain, proclaiming his name and his character. He is slow to anger, greatly compassionate, maintaining loyalty to thousands and forgiving sin. Yet at the same time, he does not leave the guilty unpunished, punishing their children and grandchildren.
• Moses bows and worships God.
• Moses asks God to go with Israel, despite their stubbornness.
• The Lord reminds Moses that he is making a treaty with Israel in which he will display his glory to all the nations of the world, including those they will live among. But they must obey God, and he will drive out the nations that currently occupy the land.
Summary…God sets out to give Moses another record of the covenant between he and Israel. He meets Moses up on the mountain, declares his name and attributes and promises to fulfill his promise to place Israel in the land.
Bottom line…God is a God of second chances.
What truths do I learn about God, man, people, myself, life?
• God is a God of second chances, but not without consequences. The relationship is maintained, but there are still consequences.
• While he is forgiving, compassionate, patient and loyal, he has his boundaries. You break them, there are consequences, and not just for a little bit, but for years and generations to come.
• God fulfills his promises.
• Forgiveness can be granted by the offended party, in this case, God, not based upon the merits of the offending party or even the offending party’s promise to never fail again, but rather an entirely different and third party, a mediator…one who intervenes or vouches for another…who cosigns the loan note and therefore, takes full responsibility for another party’s failure to fulfill the loan or contract’s agreement. That is an amazing concept once you think about it…that one can stand in for another, which in the end, foreshadows what the Messiah, the Son of God, Christ, does for an undeserving world. He co-signs the note, and in the end, takes on the sins…the evil…the failures of the world…and therefore, God’s righteous judgment of evil world. And what is asked for in return? Trust. Be thankful for the intervention. Allow your life to be captured, redeemed and transformed because one supreme act of sacrificial love. Allow my Spirit to come into your heart, soul and mind and change you from the inside out…in return for my taking the just punishment for your sin, your evil, your rebellion…your imperfection. Not a bad deal…grace and more grace…a grace that changes and redeems a flawed human soul. Not a bad deal at all.
Thanksgiving…God’s continued financial provision. I don’t even really understand it, but I am thankful. After our church well going out early Sunday sometime, we not only survived with NO water, but the well was fixed on Tuesday. A short in the wire leading from the well house to the pump motor four hundred feet below the surface of the earth. Basically, you have to pull the pipe and replace the wire with new wire, and then ground it. Makes me wonder if a severe electrical storm earlier in the week had anything to do with the wire shorting out or if it was just coincidence?
I am also thankful for Robyn challenging us with a four plus mile hike on Saturday, even though I gave her a hard time that it was only supposed to be a forty-five minute hike. I am also thankful, despite it’s weak execution, of my teaching this past Sunday. I discovered in John 16 what I felt was a very insightful pedagogical or teaching approach on the part of Jesus with his disciples. Basically, the teacher presents a new concept to his students—one that they will not fully understand. Basically, Jesus is saying, I am about to leave the classroom, and my leaving will cause you great grief, but then I will return very shortly, bringing you great joy. And this all has something to do with another teacher that is about to replace Jesus at sometime in the future. And this second teacher will make all things clear to his disciples. When the disciples don’t understand the, Jesus reteaches his disciples, adding a powerful word picture. Now his students think they get it, but they really don’t. But the beauty to all of this is that Jesus does not expect his disciples to get this lesson the first time. After all, they are about to experience four of the Universe’s greatest events, the sacrificial death of Christ, atoning for the sins of the world, his resurrection from the dead, later his ascension, followed by the outpouring of the greatest teacher ever, God’s Spirit, that is available to every man 24-7, who teaches every man Spiritual truths at Spiritually appropriate moments that meet His student’s needs. The PERFECT TEACHER! Thus, as with his disciples, God does not expect us to get every lesson on the first try. Lessons are introduced, and later, after certain life experiences, lessons are retaught and powerfully assimilated or owned!
Struggle…Challenging counseling and a lot of it these days; much of it marital-related; some within the Body; much without. Most, including the world, have little biblical clue as to how to love another person, much less enjoy a fulfilling marital relationship.
Somewhat concerned about our youth and children’s ministries—it’s weighing on the back of my mind.
Grinding through the painstaking homework and evaluation of how to incorporate the new and extensive SLove biblical research with the previous 2010 version, including a possible rewrite.
Truth…God is a God of second chances…and grace is built or based on a mediator…the righteous for the less righteous…the more mature for the less mature…the old for the young…the teachable for the seemingly less teachable.
Application…With respect to counseling, I do stand in the gap. I am the nail, cast or splint that attempts by God’s Spirit to keep a broken family together long enough to teach them how to begin to bear some fulfilling fruit within their marriage and family. I just need to be careful that I am Spiritually seeking God’ leadership, power, grace and truth as I do my combination human-Spiritual thing. Because you have had favor on me, Lord, which you have had, have favor on others…have favor on this with whom I attempt to minister to…yes, stiff-necked stubborn, fickle human beings. With respect to our children and youth ministries, Lord, who will mediate on behalf of our children’s Spiritual stubbornness? And with respect to my stubborn writing, Lord, patiently mediate on my behalf.
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.