Life of Moses
11/16/3; ed. 11.8.15
Introduction…When is the last time you really felt the presence of God? Or when you saw God’s power and glory at work? What were the circumstances? Can you think of some Old or New Testament stories or occasions when God’s glory was witnessed? What were the attending circumstances? What do you think is required to see God’s glory or for others to see God’s glory in you?
Pray for Insight…
Read Passage several times…
27 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant –the Ten Commandments.
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.
30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them.
32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai.
33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face.
34 But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded,
35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.
In this renewal of the covenant after Israel’s Spiritual apostasy and her divine Groom’s forgiveness, it might be appropriate to summarize what has been going on.
• 21:1-11 First, God raises the bar concerning the treatment of servants.
• 21:12-25 Fairness, responsibility, repeatability and intent are all taken into account deciding justice.
• 22:1-15 Real restitution is important within the Law.
• 22:16ff There can be and will be serious and painful consequences for serious violations of the Law.
• 23:1-13 Morality and ethics are always important, regardless of the Law.
• 23:14ff My angel will take you to the promise land; fail to follow and the consequences will be tragic.
• 24:1ff The treaty between God and Israel is ratified…
• Chapters 25-31 Instructions concerning the tabernacle’s construction and maintenance are given.
• 32:1-35 The new bride disgraces her Divine Groom and violates her covenant, putting its very survival in jeopardy.
• 33:1ff Moses begs for the Bride’s forgiveness; the Groom relents ; Moses sees God.
• 34:1-11 Moses receives another record of the broken covenant.
• 34:12ff In promising to place his national bride in the land, the eternal Groom asks two major things of her. 1) Don’t be sucked in by the false religious practices and worship of the nations whom you are replacing and 2) remember to practice the commands and feasts that I have given you.
• 34:13-26 By faithfully abiding by certain critical don’ts and dos, you will remain Spiritually faithful and therefore be safe within your borders.
This passage…Moses not only returns from the presence of God with a second written record of the original covenant, but a visible manifestation of his having been in God’s presence. His face now radiates the glory of God to the degree he must now wear a veil.
Why? (What truths do I learn about God, man, people, myself, life?)
• Writing, records, words are important in covenant or treaty making. And treaty or covenant making, be it between nations or within a marriage, is important with maintaining long-term lasting relationships. What are the rules? What is expected? And when those rules are broken or expectations not fulfilled, what is the remedy. No one wants to always lose; no one wants to always be mistreated or treated unfairly. Relationships require boundaries. Relationship also requires remedies, forgiveness, atonment and consequences, if the relationship is to either survive or get better. The same was true between God and Israel. Thus the law. Thus the written law. Words matter. Records matter. What was agreed upon? What is the contract? Otherwise, there is no relationship or the relationship will not last.
• Moses was different for having been in the presence of God. His face now reflects the presence of God…the power of God…God…heaven, all of which now verifies the covenant. Moses was indeed with God. When we act faithfully, we too reflect the glory, truth, presence, love, mercy, justice and righteousness of God. We not only bear the image of Christ, by his Spirit’s presence and inspiration within our lives, we reflect God…and his honor…his beauty. His glory.
The Spirit’s Being Poured Out on the Disciples at Pentecost. The glory of that initial flame has still not been extinguished to this day.
Paul writes the Corinthians concerning the benefits of Christ’s New Covenant. While only Moses’ face shown with God’s glory. Every believer, as he grows in Christ, reveals the Spirit’s glory within the new and better covenant…
2 Cor. 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves (to you Corinthains) again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? (Surely not. Rather)
2 You (and your response to trust in Christ via our preaching to you) are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,
6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 But if the ministry of death (the Old Covenant not only exposed sin, but required the death of the sacrifice to atone for sin), in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness (the New Covenant that we administer) abound in glory.
10 For indeed what had glory (the Old Covenant), in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it (the New Covenant through Christ’s sacrificial death).
11 For if that which fades away (the Old Covenant) was with glory, much more that which remains (the New Covenant) is in glory.
12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,
13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.
14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord (Christ, his sins are forgiven and he receives the Holy Spirit), the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (freedom from the Old Law, but obedience to a New Law via the Spirit).
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (by the Spirit whom we receive through the New Covenant) into the same image (of Christ himself, gradually) from glory to (more) glory, just as (comes) from the Lord, the Spirit.
Truth? Want to reflect the ever-increasing glory of God, be in his presence. Seek his presence. Seek his glory. His greatness. Seek his presence. Be in his presence, regardless of your circumstances. He has promised to meet you at your point of need. He will be there, and that is the entire difference between the New and Old Covenants. Typically one person received God’s Spirit and glory. Within the New Covenant, we all get the Spirit at any time. Amen.
Application? Trust God’s grace right now. Tonight. Tomorrow. If I need him, he promises to be with me.
Joseph M. Cross
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.