Notes on Exodus 33&34

The Aftermath

 While Moses was with God getting the plans for the Tabernacle, the place where the people would meet with and worship God, Aaron was making an idol for the people to worship. God sends Moses back down the mountain and he finds the people in party mode worshiping the golden calf Aaron has made. Moses confronts the situation. The law is broken, people die, and Aaron is confronted and tries to put the blame on the people. The covenant has been broken and the question is, what now?

 In Chapter 33 God says depart from here and I will not go with you but will send an angel to lead you and defeat your enemies. This could well be a test to see if Moses will take charge apart from God as Aaron had done. Moses could be the leader of a great nation of people but Moses balks at the thought. Instead, he proves himself to be a godly leader by interceding for the people with the Lord. Moses pleads with God to go with them and asks, how will the people know that God is leading Moses if God doesn’t go with them?

 Moses understood that apart from God’s presence with him, he would be no different than any other person or world leader. The same is true for us. Christians have been given the Holy Spirit to be with us and to lead us into the truth of God’s Word.  As Jesus was with His disciples leading and teaching them, the Holy Spirit of Christ is doing the very same thing if we will listen and observe.

 Moses asked God to show him his glory, and God does in Chapter 34. God passes before Moses and says, “The Lord, the Lord, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth, who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6b&7 NASB

God shows Moses His heart and His nature. Many people say they do not like to read the Old Testament because of all the blood and harshness of God. To me it is doubtful that they have read the Old Testament and looked for God’s true nature. I suspect they are just repeating what someone else has said who is repeating what someone else has said. What I do know is that they haven’t seriously looked for the nature of God.  If they had they would have found it. We will come back to this in a minute but let’s move on in this chapter.

 Moses is called back up the mountain and God renews the covenant and the Law.  God has Moses write down the Law and bring it to the people. As Moses spends time with God his face begins to take on the glory of God and shines so brightly that he has to put on a veil until the glory fades. Verses 34&35 tell us that Moses would remove the veil when he was in the presence of God and when he spoke the Word of God to the people and after he spoke he would replace the veil.

 The Apostle Paul refers to this in 2 Corinthians 3:13-18 but there is a switch here which brings us back to our discussion about the difference some see between the Old and New Testament. The veil is not on the face of Moses it is on the hard heart of those to whom the Word is being preached.  The veil is only removed by Christ.

 Now when people say they don’t like the Old Testament, for whatever reason, they are passing their resistance toward God to others and most likely their family and the generations that follow just as other family traditions are passed on. Family traditions can be good but those traditions that reject or resist God are sin. God says He will not let iniquity go unpunished and that is a little frightening to us until we understand that Jesus took that punishment on the cross for us. God gave his Son to pay the penalty for our sin so that we might be robed in the righteousness of God's Son. This is the nature of the God of the Old Testament and when we truly see Christ Jesus the veil will be removed and we will see clearly the compassion, the patience, the graciousness, the lovingkindness, and forgiveness of God in the Old Testament. It is seen clearly in Jesus who in Hebrews 1:3 we are told is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature. Jesus said that if we see Jesus and the nature of Jesus we have seen God’s nature as well for Jesus does nothing apart from the Father.

 Jesus made it very clear in the book of John that He and the Father were one, Jesus in the Father and the Father in Him. You can’t accept one and reject the other. To reject one is to reject them both and that is not good. That is what the Pharisees and religious rulers did to Jesus and that did not work out well for them.

 Beware of hardness. Veils don’t hide them very well.

In a true relationship with Christ the veil is removed and the glory shines bright!

Pastor Dave