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Scripture reading – Exodus 34-35

Now the “Lord [had] plagued the people because they made the calf” (32:35); however, the judgment was passed, for the LORD granted a reprieve to the nation as Moses prayed (32:31-32). So he obeyed the LORD and pitched the Tabernacle outside the camp. When Moses entered the Tabernacle, the people observed the presence of God descending as a “cloudy pillar…and the LORD talked with Moses” (33:9). Then “the Lord said unto Moses…thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18And [Moses] said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory” (33:17-18).

Exodus 34

The Command for Moses to Return with Two Tablets of Stone (34:1-5)

The LORD then commanded Moses, “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest” (34:1). Moses obeyed the LORD and ascended Mount Sinai, “as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone” (34:4). As Moses ascended the mount, “the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there” (34:5).

Moses Witnessed the Glory of the LORD and Interceded for Israel (34:6-28)

Keeping His promise to give Moses a glimpse of His glory (33:21-23), “the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD [YAHWEH; Jehovah]The LORD [YAHWEH] God [El],” meaning the Eternal, Self-existent God (34:6). God revealed His divine nature to Moses and declared, “The LORD God [is] merciful[compassionate], and gracious [kind, good, showing favor without merit], longsuffering [patient; slow to anger],and abundant in goodness and truth [He is faithful and true]” (34:6). The LORD keeps “mercy for thousands [His mercy is sufficient for all]forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (34:7a). God is just and “by no means [clearing] the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (34:7b).

Moses, finding himself in the presence of the LORD in all His majesty, hastily “bowed his head…and worshipped” the LORD (34:8) and interceded for Israel, confessing the nature of the people and reminding the LORD of His covenant with the people (34:9). The LORD then renewed His covenant with Israel (34:10-27), and warned He would not abide idolatry among His people, “for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (34:14).

Unlike the first tablets of stone, which the LORD engraved and were broken by Moses, he was commanded to “Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel” (34:27). Moses did as he was commanded, and continued in the presence of the LORD for “forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” (34:28).

The Glory of the LORD Shone on the Face of Moses (34:29-34)

Then, taking up the stone tables of the Law, Moses descended Mount Sinai, and “when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw [him], behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him” (34:30). The reflection of God’s glory was shown so brightly upon his face that Moses wore a vail among the people (34:31-35); however, when he entered into God’s presence, he removed the vail (reminding us no thought of the heart is hidden from the LORD, 34:34).

Exodus 35

Giving for God’s Work (35:1-29)

Moses reviewed the LORD’s commandment concerning the Sabbath Day of rest (35:1-3) and called on the people to bring “an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart” (35:4-5). Next, he instructed the people on those things needed to fabricate the Tabernacle, altars, the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, and the garments to be worn by the high priest (35:6-19). The response of the people was universal (35:20-28). The Scripture said, “every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work,” brought a willing offering (35:29).

We are once again introduced to Bezaleel and Aholiab; artisans chosen by God not only for their workmanship, but also because of their godly character (35:30-35).

Closing thoughts:

I close today’s devotional by reflecting on God’s forgiving grace. Though the LORD judged Israel guilty of their sins and wickedness for crafting and worshipping the golden calf, He nevertheless heard Moses’ intercessory prayer and showed mercy. It is the same mercy and grace by which all sinners might be saved. Writing to the church in Ephesus, Paul declared, “8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8–10).

Finally, although short-lived, the unity of those who gave of their possessions and labored in constructing the Tabernacle was noteworthy, for they were wise hearted…stirred…willing…willing hearted” (Exodus 35:10-29).


What is your attitude toward giving and serving the LORD today?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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