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Exo 34:1 Yahweh said to Moses, Chisel two stone tablets like the first: and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.

Exo 34:2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain.
Exo 34:3 No one shall come up with you; neither let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mountain.
Exo 34:4 He chiselled two tablets of stone like the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as Yahweh had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets-

There is a much repeated characteristic of God's servants: that they 'rose up early in the morning' and did God's work. In each of the following passages, this phrase is clearly not an idiom; rather does it have an evidently literal meaning: Abraham (Gen. 19:27; 21:14; 22:3); Jacob (Gen. 28:18); Job (1:5); Moses (Ex. 8:20; 9:13; 24:4; 34:4); Joshua (Josh. 3:1; 6:12; 7:16; 8:10); Gideon (Jud. 6:38; 7:1). This is quite an impressive list, numerically. This can be a figure for being zealous (Ps. 127:2; Pr. 27:14; Song 7:12; Is. 5:11; Zeph. 3:7). God Himself rises up early in His zeal to save and bring back His wayward people (Jer. 7:13,25; 11:7; 25:3,4; 26:5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:14,15; 44:4). Yet the above examples all show that men literally rose up early in their service to God; this was an expression of their zeal for God, in response to His zeal for us. I'm not suggesting that zeal for God is reflected by rising early rather than staying up late; but it wouldn't be too much to suggest that if we are men of mission, we won't waste our hours in bed. Get up when you wake up.

 


Exo 34:5 Yahweh descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Yahweh-
 v.
5-7 The ultimate pattern for mission is in God Himself. His Name, YHWH, means ‘I will be who I will be / am who I am’. And the declaration of His Name is followed by statements of how He ‘will be’ grace, love, justice, judgment etc. (Ex. 34:5-7).  He will work out His purpose of glorifying the characteristics of His Name. If we align ourselves with this aim of glorifying God’s Name, then our lives become focused, our aims and goals are clearer. Our baptism into the Name means that His mission, His restless, 24/7 working towards the goal of His glory filling the earth, becomes ours.

The overriding desire of the Lord was for the glorification of Yahweh’s Name, not proving others wrong. God’s Name is His characteristics (Ex. 34:5-7). We glorify that Name when due to us, those characteristics are manifested somehow- maybe through others, or through ourselves. The fruits of the Spirit glorify those characteristics  / the Name of Yahweh. When the Lord saw faith, or joy, or repentance, or even the possibility of these things in men, He worked to develop them. He didn’t give up because they were also selfish or unloving or not joyful…And so with us, as the petty selfishness and weaknesses so evident in the flesh of our fellows presses upon our consciousness, focus instead on what is good, on what potential is there, and work on that. Abound in the life of grace, of outgiving when there is no response and no appreciation; and rejoice to live it, and see the honour of being called to live the life of the Saviour in your little life. John Thomas rightly observed that God manifestation rather than individual human salvation is the essential aim of the preaching of God’s word. The Lord Jesus struggled in Gethsemane between “save me...” and “Father, glorify thy name”. The glorifying of the Father’s Name meant more to him than his personal salvation. Likewise Moses and Paul [in spirit] were prepared to sacrifice their personal salvation for the sake of Yahweh’s Name being glorified in the saving of His people (Ex. 32:30-34 cp. Rom. 9:1-3).

 


Exo 34:6 Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, Yahweh! Yahweh! A merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth-

There is a clear connection between the idea of the fullness of God, and Ex. 34:6, where God proclaims His Name to be "Yahweh, a God full of compassion", grace and His other characteristics (see R.V.). So by bearing God's Name, we have His fullness counted to us. As Christ had the fullness of God dwelling in Him in a bodily form (Col. 2:9), so the church, as the body of Christ, "is (Christ's) body, the fullness of him (God) that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22,23).

We read of God being slow to anger (Ex. 34:6), at others, of Him not restraining His anger, or restraining it (Ps. 78:38; Is. 48:9; Lam. 2:8; Ez. 20:22), and holding His peace (Is. 57:11; Ps. 50:21), and being provoked to anger by the bad behaviour of His covenant people (Dt. 32:21; Ps. 78:58; Is. 65:3; Jer. 8:19). God clearly has emotions of a kind which are not unrelated to the emotions we experience, as beings made in His image. But those emotions involve a time factor in order to be emotions. We read of the anger of God "for a moment" (Ps. 30:5; Is. 54:7,8), and of His wrath coming and going, leaving Him "calm" and no longer angry (Ez. 16:42). When we sin, we provoke God to anger- i.e. at a point in time, God sees our sin, and becomes angry. This is attested many times in Scripture. But it's meaningless if God is somehow outside of our time and emotions.

The Name was declared on the cross, as the Lord had foreseen (Jn. 17:26). It was as if the Lord suffered as He did with a placard above Him which effectively said: 'This is Yahweh'. The declaration of Yahweh’s Name to Moses in Ex. 34:6 thus becomes a foretaste of the Lord’s crucifixion. Some texts render Ex. 34:6 as ‘Yahweh, Yahweh, a man full of mercy....’. In the crucifixion of the man Christ Jesus, the essence of Yahweh was declared. And we, John says with reference to the cross, saw that glory,as it were cowering in the rock like Moses, full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14 cp. Ex. 34:6 RV).

God’s Name is essentially His characteristics and personality; this declaration of the Name is in response to the request to reveal His glory (33:18). How we pronounce or transliterate God’s Name isn’t so important; the essence of God’s Name is who He is and what He does by grace in the lives of people. Jesus alludes here when He predicted that His death would be a declaration of God’s Name; in the cross we see the quintessence of God’s mercy, grace, judgment etc. (Jn. 17:26). We are baptized into the Name, whereby all God’s perfect character is counted to us.


Exo 34:7 keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation-
 
The fact punishment was not always given until the third or fourth generation may simply reflect God’s characteristic grace in relenting upon His threatened judgments. But it may also be because the judgment is carried out by the Angels, who changed their decreed intentions with Israel, Moses and others.


Exo 34:8 Moses hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
Exo 34:9 He said, If now I have found favour in Your sight, Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us; although this is a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your inheritance-
 
- see on Ps. 90:8.

Moses seems to have pleaded with the Angel to change His stated purpose of not going up with the children of Israel through reminding the Angel of the mockery this would bring Him into among the nations around. Thus Ex. 34:9 shows Moses pleading for this "O LORD, let my Lord (the Angel) I pray thee, go amongst us" after the clear statement in Ex. 33:3 "I will not go up in the midst of thee". So let us not be afraid to ask God to change what seems like His purpose in our lives, no matter how hard it seems, if we truly feel that another way would give Him more glory. Moses would not have tried if he did not think success in that prayer was possible. But he not only tried, he succeeded. Also consider  Ex. 32:11: "Moses besought the face of the LORD (A. V. mg-i. e. the Angel) and said, LORD, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt (the Angel did this). . turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people". Thus Ezek. 20:17 says that God's eye (the Angel) "spared them... in the wilderness" when they provoked Him. Psalm 90 is Moses meditations on the fact that his generation were slowly dying in the wilderness, and on the vapidity of life at that stage. And yet he is bold enough to plead with God to change His purpose- "Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent Thee concerning Thy servants. O satisfy us early with Thy mercy (i. e. don't leave it till some distant point in the future when Messiah is here to show me Thy mercy- do it early, do it now). . make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us. . " (v. 13-15). So from his previous experience of changing God's purpose , Moses was not afraid to try and do so again. This possibility of God changing His mind about this is shown by the Hebrew of Ps. 95:11: "That they should not (Heb. 'If they enter', as AVmg.) enter My rest". The ambiguity here nicely shows the possibility of them entering.
The Angel's eagerness to repent and willingness to accept even the slightest sign of repentance in His charges, explains why Moses was so willing to strive to make the Angel repent by his prayers. Thus in Ex. 34:9 Moses asks the Angel to forgive the people' sin, although it was one of the Angel's stated principles not to do so (Ex. 23:21). Moses had had personal experience of such repenting; the Angel "sought" to kill him, but God changed his mind due to Moses' repentance (Ex. 4:24).

Despite God's evident pleasure with Moses personally, manifest in the revelation He gave him, Moses still fumbled around in his recognition of his own humanity: "If now I have found grace in Your sight... pardon our iniquity and our sin" (Ex. 34:9). Moses was always so aware of his connection with God's people, and was not at all interested in personal glory and even salvation, compared to the overall purpose of God's saving of His people.

Although he spoke to God as a friend, with an open-faced relationship, he still took upon himself the sin of Israel, he felt as condemned as they felt (Ex. 34:9 cp. 33:11); when he pleaded for God's sentence on him to be lifted , he pleaded for the same sentence on Israel to be lifted too ( Ps. 90:8). When Yahweh met Moses, it was as if He met with Israel (Ex. 3:18). God promised to go with Moses, but Moses re-quotes this as God going with “us” (Ex. 33:14-16). This is how inextricably linked were Moses and his people, even in their condemnation. And so it is, thankfully, with us and the Lord.  Moses manifested / represented both God and Israel, superbly prefiguring the nature of the Lord's work and mission far later.

 

Exo 34:10 He said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been worked in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which you are shall see the work of Yahweh; for it is an awesome thing that I do with you-

Israel refused to be obedient, were stiffnecked, because they were "not mindful of your wonders" (Neh. 9:17). Ps. 78:32 likewise: "For all this they sinned still, and believed not in his wondrous works". Our perception of God's wonder is intended to inspire us not to sin, to be obedient to Him at whom we marvel / wonder (:11).


Exo 34:11 Observe that which I command you this day. Behold, I drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Exo 34:12 Be careful, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be for a snare in the midst of you-

The prohibition of marriage with unbelievers in Ex. 34:12 was made straight after the awesome declaration of God's holiness on Sinai. It was as if God was telling Moses: 'See, this is your God, so wondrous in grace and determination to save you. So please, be mine, don't unite yourselves in marriage to this world that doesn't know Me. If I, in all My moral and physical glory, am your God, how can you intermarry?'. There is a kind of juxtaposition between the heights of God's moral revelation in Ex. 34:1-8, and then the 'down to earth' prohibition against marriage out of the Faith.

 


Exo 34:13 but you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and you shall cut down their Asherim-

Israel were told to "throw down", "break in pieces" and "utterly destroy" the idols and altars of Canaan. There were times during their history when they obeyed this command by purging themselves from their apostasy in this. The Hebrew words used scarcely occur elsewhere, except very frequently in the context of how God "broke down", "threw down" and "destroyed" Israel at the hands of their Babylonian and Assyrian invaders as a result of their not 'breaking down' (etc.) the idols. "Throw down" in Ex. 34:13; Dt. 7:5; 12:3; 2 Chron. 31:1 is the same word in 2 Chron. 36:19; Jer. 4:26; 31:28; 33:4; 39:8; 52:14; Ez. 16:39; Nah. 1:6. "Cut down" in Dt. 7:5; 12:3; 2 Chron. 31:1 later occurs in Is. 10:33; Jer. 48;25; Lam. 2:3. So Israel faced the choice: either cut down your idols, or you will be cut down in the day of God's judgment. Those who worshipped idols were like unto them. The stone will either fall on us and destroy us, or we must fall on it and become broken men and women (Mt. 21:44). For the man untouched by the concept of living for God's glory, it's a hard choice. God will conquer sin, ultimately. When a man dies, it isn't just a biological, clockwork process. It is God's victory over sin in that individual. Either we must be slain by God; or with His gracious help, we must put sin to death in our members through association with the only One who really did this- and thereby rise to life eternal.


Exo 34:14 for you shall worship no other god; for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God-
 
Jealousy is a lead feature within Yahweh's personality (Ex. 20:5; 34:14). It speaks specifically of the jealousy of a man concerning the faithfulness of his wife (Num. 5:14). God was the passionate lover and husband of His people, and it is inevitable therefore that the extent of that love would produce jealousy when they spurned Him and went after other men, the idols.

Israel is so often set up as the bride of God (Is. 54:5; 61:10; 62:4,5; Jer. 2:2; 3:14; Hos. 2:19,20). This is why any infidelity to God is spoken of as adultery (Mal. 2:11; Lev. 17:7; 20:5,6; Dt. 31:16; Jud. 2:17; 8:27,33; Hos. 9:1). The language of Israel 'selling themselves to do iniquity' uses the image of prostitution. This is how God feels our even temporary and fleeting acts and thoughts of unfaithfulness. This is why God is jealous for us (Ex. 20:15; 34:14; Dt. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15)- because His undivided love for us is so exclusive. He expects us to be totally His. Just as Israel were not to be like the Egyptians they were leaving, nor like the Canaanites into whose land they were going (Lev. 18:1-5; 20:23,24). We are to be a people separated unto Him.


Exo 34:15 Don’t make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, lest they play the prostitute after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and one call you and you eat of his sacrifice-

Israel is so often set up as the bride of God (Is. 54:5; 61:10; 62:4,5; Jer. 2:2; 3:14; Hos. 2:19,20). This is why any infidelity to God is spoken of as adultery (Mal. 2:11; Lev. 17:7; 20:5,6; Dt. 31:16; Jud. 2:17; 8:27,33; Hos. 9:1). The language of Israel 'selling themselves to do iniquity' uses the image of prostitution. This is how God feels our even temporary and fleeting acts and thoughts of unfaithfulness. This is why God is jealous for us (Ex. 20:15; 34:14; Dt. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15)- because His undivided love for us is so exclusive. He expects us to be totally His. Just as Israel were not to be like the Egyptians they were leaving, nor like the Canaanites into whose land they were going (Lev. 18:1-5; 20:23,24). We are to be a people separated unto Him.


Exo 34:16 and you take of their daughters to your sons, and their daughters play the prostitute after their gods, and make your sons prostitute themselves to their gods.
Exo 34:17 You shall make no cast idols for yourselves.
Exo 34:18 You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.
Exo 34:19 All that opens the womb is Mine; and all your livestock that is male, the firstborn of cow and sheep.
Exo 34:20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb: and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. No one shall appear before Me empty.
Exo 34:21 Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest: in ploughing time and in harvest you shall rest.
Exo 34:22 You shall observe the feast of weeks with the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of harvest at the year’s end.
Exo 34:23 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Exo 34:24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land when you go up to appear before Yahweh your God three times in the year-

The Mosaic Law required that Israel leave their homes undefended in order to go to the sanctuary to "appear before the Lord". This was intended to be feasible because the Lord would drive out all the nations in the land (Ex. 34:24). Yet Israel failed to drive out the nations; and thus made it far harder for themselves to obey the command to leave their homes and go to the sanctuary. Failure to obey one command made obedience to others far harder; and the same principle operates today.

 


Exo 34:25 You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover be left to the morning.
Exo 34:26 You shall bring the first of the first fruits of your ground to the house of Yahweh your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Exo 34:27 Yahweh said to Moses, Write you these words; for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel-
 
The commands which constituted the covenant were given to Moses personally (Neh. 1:7,8), insofar as  he represented Israel. Thus there is a parallel drawn in Ps. 103:7: He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel" . " After the tenor of these words have I made a covenant with thee and with Israel" (Ex. 34:27). In the context of describing Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, they are said to have been delivered from “the basket” (Ps. 81:6 RV)- clearly associating them with Moses’ deliverance. Is. 63:11 (Heb.) is even more explicit: " He remembered...Moses his people" . Moses seems to have appreciated fully his representative role on that last glorious day of life when he addressed Israel: " The Lord said unto me...I will deliver [Og} into thy hand...so the Lord our God delivered into our hands Og" (Dt. 3:2,3). David recognized this unity between Moses and Israel; David describes both Israel and Moses as God's chosen (Ps. 16:5,23). Moses is described as encamping in the wilderness, when the reference clearly is to all Israel (Ex. 18:5). Moses recalled how “the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have delivered up Sihon and his land before thee [you singular- i.e. Moses]; begin to possess it, that thou [you singular again!] mayest inherit his land”. Yet Moses then comments that therefore God “delivered” Sihon “before us” (Dt. 31,33 RV). The land and victory that Moses personally could have had- for it was God’s wish to destroy Israel and make of him a new nation- he shared with Israel. Ex. 7:16 brings out the unity between them by a play on words: “The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me [lit. ‘let me go’] unto thee, saying, Let my people go”. “Let go” translates the same Hebrew word as “sent me”. Just as Moses had been let go by Yahweh, so Israel were to be.


Exo 34:28 He was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread, nor drank water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments-

The Old Covenant is defined here and elsewhere as the ten commandments, which include the Sabbath. The New Testament teaches that the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant in Christ- and He never commanded us to keep the Sabbath.



Exo 34:29 It happened, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mountain, that Moses didn’t know that the skin of his face shone by reason of His speaking with him-

We are described in 2 Cor. 3:18 as also like Moses beholding the glory of God, in terms of His moral perfection as it is in the face of Jesus (see on :6), and as the physical glory reflected off Moses’ face, so the more we are in the presence of Jesus, meditating upon His character, the more that glory in a moral sense will increasingly shine off our faces. Paul uses the metaphor of looking in a mirror, until we find that the image in the mirror is no longer our face but the face of Jesus.

 


Exo 34:30 When Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come near him.
Exo 34:31 Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.
Exo 34:32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them all of the commandments that Yahweh had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
Exo 34:33 When Moses was done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face-
 v.
33-35- see on 2 Cor. 3:15-18.


Exo 34:34 But when Moses went in before Yahweh to speak with Him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spoke to the children of Israel that which he was commanded-
We each, with unveiled face, have like Moses seen the glory of the Lord Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). When Moses saw the glory, he was immediately given a ministry to preach to Israel, to share that glory with them (Ex. 34:34). And Paul drives home the similarity; we each have had the experience of Moses, and so “therefore seeing we (too, like Moses) have this ministry”, “we each” are to exercise it to Israel. Moses was and is seen in the Jewish world as a larger than life figure. Theologically, Judaism has placed Moses greater even than Messiah. It was the purpose of John's Gospel to correct this. The idea that ordinary believers can in any sense be equal to or even greater than Moses was (and is) absolute anathema to the Jewish mind. And yet through allusion and almost explicit statement, the Lord Jesus and the New Testament writers invite us to see ourselves as equal to or greater than Moses, on account of the spiritual riches made available to us in Christ, with the light of a greater glory shining from our faces too. How radical this was to the first century mind is extremely hard for us to enter into. The point is, God intellectually stretches us to an extent which may be almost unacceptable to us; as with our first century brethren, we too are challenged to radically turn against many of the concepts and attitudes which are fundamental to our upbringing.  

 


Exo 34:35 The children of Israel saw Moses’ face, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him-
In the same way as Moses spoke to the Angel without a veil on his face, and thereby came to reflect the glory which shone from the Angel's face (Ex. 34:33-35), so we are bidden look at the glory of God in the face of Jesus, to consider his character, and be changed into that same glory by reflecting his character in our lives. By simply beholding the glory of Christ's righteousness, truly appreciating it, we will be changed (2 Cor. 3:15-18 RV). Paul seems to be arguing that whenever a Jew turns to the Lord Jesus and fellowships with Him, then he is living out the pattern of Moses. And further, 2 Cor. 4:3 speaks of our Gospel being 'veiled' to those who are lost- as if we are as Moses, the Gospel we preach being as the glory of God which shone from Moses' face. Let's keep remembering how huge and radical was the challenge of this to a first century Jewish readership for whom Moses was an almost untouchable hero.

In Psalm 90 Moses pleads for his rejection and that of his people to be reversed. He says that the reason for their rejection was God setting their "secret sins" in the light of His countenance (Ps. 90:8). He felt his rejection was due to his secret sins- not the one painfully public failure. The Hebrew for "secret" means 'that behind the veil'; it is from the same root as the Hebrew for 'young girl', i.e. a veiled one. He felt the sins he had committed behind the veil had been exposed in the light of the Angel's face. Remember that Moses always appeared to Israel with a veil (Ex. 34:33-35; 2 Cor. 3:16-18 RV), only removing it when he spoke face to face with the Angel, radiating the light of God's glory to him. It seems Moses is alluding to this in Ps. 90:8; he felt that he had many secret sins, hidden to Israel, but completely open to the Angel when he met with him. Likewise Israel were rejected because of the sins of their heart rather than their grosser failures (Acts 7:39; and see the reason for their condemnation given in many other passages). “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your face" (Ps. 90:8) is not Moses reproaching God; rather is it him soberly recognising why they were barred from the land. Notice "our iniquities... our sins"- Moses was completely at one with condemned Israel, he knew exactly how they felt- just as the Lord Jesus with us.