Updated: Dec 6, 2020
November 29, 2020
Text: Exodus 34:27-35
Golden Text: “And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shown; and they were afraid to come nigh him.” Exodus 34:30.
Many times we hear of people being given a second chance. That is especially noticeable when a president or governor is about to leave office. Seemingly one of the things they all do is pardon people who have been convicted of crimes. When that happens, we call it “getting a second chance.” In this lesson we find that the nation of Israel is given a second chance after violating God’s covenant with them.
I. The Covenant Recorded – Exodus 34:27-28
We often hear of intercessory prayers as people pray for others. In the case of Israel, Moses prayed repeatedly for them after they committed idolatry with the golden calf. As a result, God instructed Moses to carve out two tablets of stone to replace those he (Moses) destroyed when he came down from the mountain and saw the people worshipping the calf. The Lord wanted the Ten Commandments written on those new tablets just as was done on the broken tablets.
Moses climbed the mountain again and the Lord gave him a new revelation. God promised to renew His covenant with the people. This covenant would be fulfilled only if Israel was obedient. If you go back and read verses 12-26 in chapter 34 you will see the instructions included in the covenant.
Moses asked to see God’s glory and when he went back up the mountain God granted his request. After Moses prayed and asked God to pardon the iniquities and sins of the people, the Lord answered with a promise to renew His covenant with them.
The Lord told Moses what to write and that writing included everything the people were obligated to do. Moses spent forty days and forty nights on the mountain with God. That time spent on the mountain did challenge the people’s patience. Moses strength was sustained (never ending) by the Lord supernaturally during all of that time even though he had nothing to eat or drink. The fact that Moses fasted all of that time could have been because of his concern for the people.
Moses wrote down everything told to him including the Ten Commandments in one document. The Ten Commandments were also written separately on the stone tablets because they served as a summary of the covenant.
II. The Covenant Mediator – Exodus 34:29-30
After forty days Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets in his hand. However, Moses’ appearance was changed. His contact with the Lord caused his face to glow. Moses was not aware of his changed appearance but Aaron and the other Israelites saw his glowing face and were afraid of him. Some of the people described the “glow” as beams of light coming from Moses face. Others described the “glow” as horns. Some said Moses’ face was glowing after the second time on Mt. Sinai because he had seen the glory of God. Moses saw the glory of God in a way that no one else had and it was reflected in his face. Even so, it is important to note that Moses remained a meek and humble man.
The people thought Moses would never return during his first forty day period and they returned to idolatry. They remained faithful during his second forty days away. The people’s fear of Moses was understandable. They knew he had been in the presence of the Lord and they feared what that might mean for them.
Moses’ glowing face confirmed to the people that he was God’s chosen mediator (go-between) and leader. No one could deny that God had chosen Moses for a special role in His divine plan for Israel. The “glow” also confirmed that God was still with them.
Just as Moses glowing face reflected God’s glory, anyone truly in fellowship with God will reflect His character. It is then reasonable to assume that our character is a measure of our relationship with God.
III. The Covenant Reconfirmed – Exodus 34:31-32
After Moses urged the leaders to come to him, he shared where he had been, what God had said about His willingness to be close to them again and other good results about his time on the mountain. All the people drew near after the leaders were assured there was no reason to fear Moses.
Moses told the people all the commandments and reconfirmed the Lord’s covenant with them.
IV. The Covenant Reminder – Exodus 34:33-35
Moses kept a veil on his face unless he was speaking to the people.
That became Moses’ practice. When he brought a message to the people from the Lord, he removed the veil from his face. That was a help to the people who were freighted by the glory (glow) reflected in Moses face. Moses’ unveiled face was a constant reminder of the covenant and their obligation to it.
In II Corinthians 3:13-18 Paul used the veiling of Moses’ face to illustrate three spiritual truths:
It illustrated the fading glory of the old covenant contrasted to the unveiled and lasting glory of the new covenant.
It represented the veil that covers the hearts of unbelievers and their spiritual blindness.
It showed the unveiled vision of the Lord’s glory given by the Holy Spirit to all believers.
Finally, Moses spoke unveiled when he had a message to the
people from God. Otherwise, he covered his face when he was in their presence.
We can believe that if God is willing to forgive the Israelites for their terrible sin of idolatry, surely He will forgive us if we sincerely confess and repent of our sins. God’s forgiveness is unlimited because of the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross.
Moses did not realize the physical change that had taken place in him immediately. Likewise, it is interesting to note that people who walk closest to the Lord sometimes do not realize the influence their relationship with God has on others.
We must strive daily to use every opportunity to lift Jesus up and to remind ourselves and others that God is a constant presence with us.
Remember that our forgiving God gave Israel a second chance and He will do the same for you if you ask Him.
Valinda Livingston – Shiloh Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky