Day: October 4, 2018

The Lord Passes By

Exodus 34:1-9 

Continues conversation from previous chapter. Sometimes chapter divisions are unfortunate – break up flow, interrupt train of thought. Moses pleaded with God: “show me your glory”. God responded, explained what could and could not happen. Then God continues – explaining what he intended for following day.

God first declared his intent, including expectation Moses would prepare for what was coming. Then we get short version of what took place on the mountain. Through it all, as God once again writes his Law on stone tablets, his overwhelming grace is front and center.

A. God declared his intent  v.1-4

cut two tablets

Moses did wrong in how he expressed his anger – was right to be furious with outrageous sin of people, worshiping idol under God’s very nose, even causing enemies to turn away embarassed

was not right for Moses to react as he did… breaking first tablets – assuming on his own that covenant with God had been broken

had to take responsibility for overstepping his bounds as mediator, failing to wait for God to inform Moses about their status

I will write

doesn’t leave Moses to wonder any longer – God is committed to his covenant… and once again will put it in writing… officially

God not content to make his people get by with a copy of covenant terms – writes out another original, eventually put in the ark

is clear – people might have sinned greatly enough to justify ending covenant but… God did not intend for it to turn out that way

be ready and come

prepare yourself – have to wonder how much sleep Moses got that night… it all seemed good, safe, but totally unprecedented

about far more than having two more tablets ready by morning, Moses himself needed to be in proper frame of mind to meet with God

good example for us: if we really expect to meet God here in worship and receive blessing from him, is good to begin preparing Saturday night

prepare the people – similar stipulations as in Ex. 19:12-13 but without explicit warning – needed reminder that sinful cannot approach holy God too closely without danger

truth is, cannot be in his presence at all without acceptable mediator… for us, the Lord Jesus and his merits make safe

B. God proclaimed his name  v.5-7

told his name – Ex. 3:13-14

not new information to Moses, had already asked God what his name was… then got the answer back at burning bush

name by itself helpful but only to a point – I AM, YHWH means much to us, we have this account and rest of Bible to help

makes sure there is no question about who is speaking, who is declaring / revealing himself to Moses… and all who read his Word

tells him what it means

what kind of God passing by in front of Moses has the name YHWH and what does that name tell us about him and his character

remember: this is God revealing God, not 2nd-hand – full sensory experience for Moses, hearing / seeing / feeling presence and goodness of God

God declared what makes him good and glorious – telling what he is, not simply describing what he does: God does good because he is good; God loves people because he is love… is his nature

he is:

Merciful and Gracious – compassionate toward people and inclined to show them favor

hold back what is deserved, give what is not deserved – hold back what has been earned, give what cannot be earned

neither one is justice – to give precisely what has been earned – more on that in few minutes

because God is compassionate / merciful, does not give us all what we deserve, what we have earned even with best efforts

instead, because he is gracious / inclined to show favor, he gives what we do not deserve and can never earn from him

Longsuffering – long and patient endurance of offense; showing patience under long provocation; patience: good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence

God doesn’t do things in a hurry – was around for an eternity before making anything outside himself… then a few thousand years between Fall and Cross, now more thousands between Cross and 2nd Coming

means God doesn’t react to things – people do things to offend God, he delays before acting – doesn’t mean he overloooks or ignores offense, he responds in measured way at time of his choosing

Abounding in Goodness and Truth – really the core statement… comes in the middle, is most packed with meaning and significance

goodness = “chesed”, nearly impossible to convey full meaning with one word; best translation here probably “loyal love”, “steadfast love”. Love that continues regardless of circumstances – doesn’t matter what happens, what changes, loyal love never stops, never gives up on other person

truth = “emeth” – sometimes opposite of false; often in Old Testament means “faithful” or “reliable”… true as in trustworthy

abounding = “rab” – full to overflowing, enough for everyone and much more besides – all together now “overflowing with faithful love”

Forgiving Iniquity and Transgression and Sin – another packed phrase describes all aspects of forgiveness necessary for relationship with holy God

iniquity: wickedness, unrighteousness (state) — transgression: intentional disobedience (action) — sin: missing the mark (result)

since God is forgiving by nature, he does everything necessary to deal with problem of our sinful state, the sinful actions we commit, and the effects of our sin

Not Clearing the Guilty – God is just — he gives exactly right punishment for sin. In fact, because God is just he cannot let any sin go unpunished – penalty must be paid… by someone

ties in with God being longsuffering – just because consequences for sin are delayed no indicator that God can let it slide

and all those animals that gave their lives under Old Covenant… showed someday God would send his own Lamb as final sacrifice for sins of his people

C. Moses worshiped his God  v.8-9

no delay – only one response: worship

Moses with mouth hanging open, eyes and ears and mind full to overflowing with God – suddenly realized God stopped talking

immediate posture of worship… nothing else made sense, nothing less would do than bowing in worship before awesome God

effect of grace

humbles – had encountered God’s holiness at burning bush; here is faced with God’s greatness and goodness, how insignificant and undeserving he was in comparison

even for all that, God had actually passed by in front of him, revealing and declaring himself to Moses… and he lived

makes bold – is how God’s child responds to experiencing God, draws them in to desire more of God and his favor

large requests

if I have found grace, bless them – God’s heart showing in his entire request: is asking for more grace for us, not me or them

show your grace by your presence – God’s gifts, as great and wonderful as they are, no match for himself – Moses had experienced more of God than any other living person, still not satisfied

wanted assurance of God’s near presence among them; even God at Moses’ own tent outside the camp not enough

forgive us – includes himself in need for forgiveness; made even more aware by what had just seen / heard how much they all needed forgiveness

Moses had his turn with being stiff-necked, would again in future – convinced risk of God’s anger far outweighed by blessings of his presence to guide and protect

be our God and Father – treat us as your special treasure – ok, request for presence a repeat; request for forgiveness obvious

but “special treasure”? after what they have done to offend God? Yes! a good request, one that God answered favorably

1 Pet. 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

How can God choose us, make us all of this, treat us as his own special treasure? Only because of what his son the Lord Jesus has done for his people. Because God punished his son, he can show grace and mercy to those who trust in him. He can justly forgive them because the penalty for their sin has been paid in full. How should we respond to God and his grace? Worship and love. After all, that is why he has redeemed us from slavery in sin… that we would be Free to Worship him.