WHAT A GOOD GOD
Holy One, cover my sin with your mercy, meet my repentance with your forgiveness, re-possess me with your Spirit today.
Read Exodus 34:1–17
The New Stone Tablets
34 The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. 3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”
4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”
10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.[a] 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
15 “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
17 “Do not make any idols.
- Exodus 34:13 That is, wooden symbols of the goddess Asherah
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTake a moment to worship God before you read further.
How would you describe God to someone who didn’t believe in him? God’s own description of himself is found here (vs 6,7). When you go through hard times, are tempted, or God feels far away, do you think of God as merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness? This is as true of God today as it was of him thousands of years ago (see Hebrews 13:8). Why not write this description of God somewhere that’s easy for you to access – a piece of paper in your wallet, a note on your smartphone, a sticky note on the fridge door – to help remind you of what God is like through thick and thin?
God renews his covenant with the Israelites in this passage (v 10). The essence of God’s covenant is that it is one-sided (see Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 26:44,45) and unbreakable by him. He is faithful because he is faithful, and he loves because he loves. Our efforts, good or bad, or obedience, close or straying, will never mean he lets us down or is unfaithful. Even though he is so good, we as his people are so weak. God warns the people of the dangers of being influenced by cultures around them that will lead to being ensnared and to misery (vs 12–16). God’s ways lead to life. To reject them leads to death.
What are the key temptations and pitfalls that you face? Pray for strength and faithfulness today.
Mighty God, your immense mercy and your incredible love have embraced me. I am stunned into silence when I think of your patience and forgiveness.