Exodus 34:27-35 The Skin of His Face Shone

Exodus 34:27-35 My Presence Will God with You: The Skin of His Face Shone
I have read on the golden calf incident in a recently published commentary on the Old Testament which downplays the significance of the idolatrous rebellion. The author admits that what happened “angered Yahweh,” but it is as if he didn’t categorize it as sin. The people were sinful and rebellious from the time Yahweh God led them out of Egypt.
Let me briefly take you from Egypt to the Wilderness:
            1. Exodus 14:11-12 “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? … better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
            2. Exodus 15:24 “The people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’”
            3. Exodus 16:2-3 “The whole congregation…complained against Moses and Aaron in the             wilderness…’for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’”
            4. Exodus 16:20 “Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses.”
            5. Exodus 16:26-28 “Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none. Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the LORD said to Moses, ‘How long do you refuse to   keep My commandments and My laws?’”
            6. Exodus 17:2-3 “The people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why is it you have      brought us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’”
            7. Exodus 32:1 “And when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the     mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods,             which shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’”
Internal Preview:
The people were a sinful people. They were rebellious from outset. It is only by God’s willingness to forgive the people that Israel did not die out in that wilderness. That is how Moses could be told, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…”
In Exodus 34:10 Yahweh responds to Moses’ intercession as only God Almighty can: “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.”
Let’s Read Our Main Text- This is the Word of God
Part 1: Writing the Words
A. God made a covenant with audible and then written WORDS
            - God has revealed Himself in words and as the Word become flesh.
            a. Verses 27 and 28 have caused some confusion.
                        1. Exodus 34:1 says that Yahweh wrote the words
                        2. Exodus 34:27 says that Yahweh told Moses to write the words
                        3. Exodus 34:28 only says “he” seemingly referring to Moses
            b. So who wrote the Ten Words?
                        - This question is easily answered (though not on the surface) by understanding:
                        1. Moses wrote all that God said in Ex. 34:10-26 as commanded in v. 27
                                    And much more as time went on according to God’s direction.
                        2. God Himself wrote the Ten Words on the commandments
                        - We understand that the “HE” in verse 28 is Yahweh when we balance                                         this verse with other Scripture. Scripture should be the interpreter of Scripture.
            c. It should be noted that Bible never calls these the “Ten Commandments.”
            They are in fact the “Ten Words” from the mouth and finger of God Almighty.
B. Forty Days and Nights
            a. Forty days was the length of the first trip up Sinai (Exodus 24:18)
            b. This time the people did not commit an horrific event because of impatience.
            c. Deuteronomy 9:18 Moses explains that he fasted this time period because of their sin.
            d. Deuteronomy 9:25 Also says that Moses prostrated himself during this time.
Connective: God has made a covenant of oral and written words with the nation of Israel through His mouthpiece Moses. We know that God continued the same with the new covenant as the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The words were not for Moses, but for the entire assembly of Israel. Thus Moses comes down the mountain to take the word to the people.
Part 2: Moses came down from the Mountain v.29
A. Two Tablets
a. The two tablets were duplicates- one for Yahweh and one for Israel
b. Each stone most likely encompassed the Ten Words which would have likely covered the front and back of each stone and were written by God Himself.
B. The Skin of his face shone
            a. Because he talked with God
                        1. The first time “Moses’ anger became hot” (Ex. 32:19)
                        2. The second time “the skin of his face shone” (Ex. 34:29)
                        3. The Hebrew, according to scholars, is best “the skin of his face sent forth rays
                             or “horns of light.” This may be a play on words to contrast the calf episode.
            b. Moses did not know
                        1. Moses did not even know what had happened but the people knew- they feared
                        2. That Moses did not know that his face was shining tells us that being in the                                presence of God and experiencing His glory are in no way painful for those whom                         His favor rest upon. God’s glory is terrifyingly wonderful!
Connective: I have already mentioned the people’s response, but let’s look into it further.
Part 3: The People’s Response v. 30-32
A. They were afraid to come near Moses
a. Remember that it wasn’t that long ago that God had said that if He came in their midst He would consume them. And when the descent of God’s glory was likened to a storm.
b. Moses now reflects God’s fiery aura in close proximity to the people.
B. Returning to Moses
            a. Aaron and the leaders were the first to return to Moses and talk with him.
            b. The people obeyed Moses urging for them to come near (maybe because of fear)
            c. Moses proclaimed to them all that the LORD said.
C. Moses was the mouthpiece of God
            a. It would not be the people that made their own representative (the golden calf)
            b. It would be God who chose His means to reveal His Word (Moses)
            c. How could anyone doubt that Moses was a prophet chosen by God when hearing the    formal proclamation of God’s Words and seeing the terrifyingly radiant face of Moses?
Connective (Internal Summary): God has revealed Himself in Words and He had a written covenant with the people. It was Moses who first received the Word by God’s calling, returned with the Word in a glorious fashion, and would proclaim the Word to the people. The only significant detail left to be expounded is the veil that Moses wore and I have intentionally deferred it until last because it will be the summation of this series.
Part 4: Moses’ Veil v. 33-35
A. Moses veiled his face after he had finished speaking the words of God
- Do you remember that I said Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture?
- Providentially 2 Corinthians chapter 3 clarifies the meaning of the veil:
a. This chapter teaches us that Moses veiled his face from the people so that they would not see the glory fading from it.
b. This teaches that the Old Covenant was merely a fading glory while the new is lasting.
Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
B. Contrast
            a. It is not that the wrong was overtaken by the right à
It is that the old is exceeded by the new, the partial is satisfied by the completion.
The awesome thing that God promised is done.
b. 2 Corinthians 4:4 “The glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ.”
c. It is Christ Jesus that has excelled. It is He that has accomplished.
C. Unveiled before God / Veiled before Israel
            a. The shining was in no way harmful therefore Moses did not need this veil for his own   comfort nor did he need to protect God from God’s own reflected glory thus he took it off when with God. Moses wore the veil in an effort to not frighten the people.
            b. Paul tells us that Moses did not want the people to know that it the glory from the         presence of God was fading. Moses had access into the presence of God, but did not reside in it continuously.
The account of Moses’ face shining because he had been in the presence of God concludes the significant narrative section of chapters 32 through 34. Moses reviews in great detail what happened when he came off of that mountain the second time. It demonstrated in dramatic fashion that Moses had really met with God and been in His presence. It also proved to the people that God was back in their camp and would be leading them. It showed that God was authentic and influential to the point that one that spends time with Him reflects His presence. Finally, the event of Moses’ face shining after the glorious graciousness of God is imparted establishes the exceeding greatness of our Lord, Christ Jesus.
If the Father was seen as a glorious God in the face of Moses then how much greater should His glory be viewed in the face of the Son, Jesus Christ? How much more complete are His people through the ministry of the Spirit?
This same glorious God who promised His presence to a small, seemingly insignificant, rebellious nation has also promised His presence to us. Jesus told the disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Ephesians says that all of us believers are “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” And 1 John 4 says, “No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us and His love is perfected in us.”
His presence will go with us; though not by our efforts but because He has chosen us in Christ!

Exodus 34:1-9 The Lord Proclaims His Name

Exodus 34:1-9 My Presence Will Go with You: The LORD Proclaims His Name

Great spiritual experiences are rare. We read in the Scripture stories about the miraculous, there are many glorious events that take place, and many question why those things no longer happen, especially to them! It should be noted that the miraculous events in Scripture did not happen every day but over thousands of years. God has never made a habit of proving Himself through miracles. The way that He shows Himself is through Words. Today we will have a great spiritual experience by reading God’s Word and He will reveal Himself to us if we listen.
Internal Preview:
We will continue our study of Exodus chapters 33 and 34 today as we discuss chapter 34 verses 1-9. This text describes the event that took place after Moses requested to learn God’s ways and to see God’s glory. God accomplishes both, as He said He would, in one event. Keep in mind that our Scripture from last week also contains some of the details.
In these Words, God will tell us who He is…
READ SCRIPTURE- This is the Word of God
Point 1: Cut Two Tablets of Stone
A. These are great words of mercy to the ears of Moses.
B. The first set were supplied by God himself, this set is prepared by Moses.
            a. And God points out that the first were broken.
            b. God makes clear the fact of His forgiveness. God is faithful, Israel wasn’t.
            c. His commands weren’t simply violated, they were BROKEN.
C. God is forgiving the people and activating the covenant once again.
Connective: God has forgiven the people and given Moses the directives on reestablishing the covenant- Moses is to cut new stones and present himself to the LORD in the morning. Surely Moses is going to the same place on the mountain where he had met with God the other times. Unauthorized beings could not be around this mountain when God was there less they were consumed for trespassing on holy ground.
Point 2: Moses Rose Early in the Morning
A. As a side note, it is almost comical that this detail is mentioned.
            a. Do we actually think that Moses slept the night before?
            b. Can you imagine the suspense that night while trying to sleep?!
B. God’s presence with the people had been in limbo and Moses had spent time with God the day before asking for forgiveness. After His mercy was promised, Moses asked to see God’s glory. Now God said He would pass before Moses, but it would be the next day.
C. It is logical to rise early in the morning:
            1. Long journey           2. Better climate          3. Anxiousness           4. Commanded
Connective: Moses did all that the LORD commanded him by cutting two tablets of stone, rising in the morning, and presenting himself on the mountain. As I noted in our Wednesday night studies, especially in Matthew, but obviously in other places in Scripture, God uses a mountain when bringing about a new revelation.
Point 3: The LORD Descended
A. The LORD descended- God’s dwelling place is considered to be above ours.
            He comes from a high and holy place.
B. The cloud came down and stood. Moses didn’t have some feeling or dream of a concept. He knew that there was a real, personal being in his presence. It was YAHWEH.
C. In the cloud- not just “a” cloud, but “the” cloud.
            a. Of course Moses had seen this cloud before.
            b. Moses had actually been in the midst of the cloud.
            c. The cloud would cover the entire mountain.
D. The LORD passed before him- all of God’s glory (goodness) surrounding Him
            a. Exodus 33:18-19 Point out again that God equates His glory with His goodness
            b. Exodus 33:21-23 Details of the “passing”
Connective: This encounter is unlike the other times that Moses witnessed the cloud of God since Moses had seen the cloud and had actually been covered by it. This time is different because God shows Moses a glimpse of His glory and proclaims His name.
Point 4: Proclaimed the Name of the LORD
A. “The LORD, the LORD God”
            a. God repeats His name for emphasis, no doubt.
            b. There is none like Him. Yahweh literally means “I AM” or “I CAUSE TO BE”
            c. The proclamation of God’s name to Moses may be considered more significant than physically seeing God’s glory. It’s God’s Name that really reveals His glory.
B. God’s Traits are in Accordance with His Name
            1. Merciful- compassionate
                        a. God really cares about people, especially His covenant people
                        b. “For the LORD you God is a merciful God, He will not forsake you…”
                        c. Jesus said, “Therefore be merciful as your Father is merciful.”
            2. Gracious
                        a. Grace is always beyond what is expected.
                        b. Psalm says,Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful.”
            3. Longsuffering- slow to anger
                        a. His patience with our failures is great.
                        b. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some                                 count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should                      perish but that all should come to repentance.”
            4. Abounding in Goodness and Truth
                        a. Goodness = Loyal, Covenant Love // Truth = He is completely reliable
                        b. Ex. 33:19 Glory = Goodness // “Let God be true and every man a liar”
C. Mercy and Forgiving
            a. Keeping mercy for thousands
            b. Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin
            c. God is more willing to show mercy than wrath.
D. By No Means Clearing the Guilty
            a. This speaks to His justice
            b. God never clears anyone without intercession being made- that is justice
            c. Visiting the iniquity of the fathers
                        aa. Many have misapplied these words.
                        bb. The original context of this statement is Exodus 20:5 where God says,                          “of those who hate me.”
                        cc. For the Scripture says in Deuteronomy 24:16, “The fathers shall not be  put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: each one shall be put to death for his own sin.”
Connective: The point is that God is more willing to show His mercy than wrath, but His justice is very real. He will visit the sin of every individual that hates Him.
Moses Made Haste--
Moses made haste to humble himself because of this glorious. He quickly bowed his head and worshiped. God’s glory and His goodness should impel us to worship Him and Him alone. Make haste to worship God. He has revealed Himself to you this day.
God desires for us to acknowledge Him and to walk with Him. He is a great God of mercy, grace, longsuffering, and abounding love and truth. God is near to us. His presence is with us. We must continue to call upon the LORD and learn of His ways.

Exodus 33:12-23 The Promise of His Presence

Exodus 33:12-23 My Presence Will Go with You: The Promise of His Presence
One point that I was not able to get to last week is the significance of the end of verse eleven in chapter thirty-three. I would like to make a few comments on that before we move on to today’s text. Joshua did not depart from the tabernacle that had been set up even when Moses would leave. We know that Joshua goes on to do great things, becoming Moses’ successor. It is noteworthy that Joshua did not depart from the tent of meeting. The presence of God had moved outside the camp, so Joshua moved outside the camp. I really like Joshua… Perhaps Joshua cared for the tent in some way. The Bible says that he was a servant which simply means minister. “Joshua did not depart from the tabernacle.” He did not want to leave the place of God’s presence.
Now we move on to today’s main text and we find Moses mediating. God chose Moses to do and say these very things. According to God, grace and forgiveness could only come by intercession and God Himself raised up Moses for this role. God is always at work, doing good even when we don’t deserve it.
Internal Preview:
Moses says, “Show me now Your way” which God responds “My presence will go with you” and Moses is not finished and goes on to say, “Show me Your glory.”
READ SCRIPTURE- This is the Word of God
Point 1: Show Me Now Your Way
A. Moses needed a concrete fact that he could receive grace from God.
            a. God had said “I know you by name” = I have singled you out.
            b. God had said “You have found favor/grace with me”
            c. Now He wants God to give him indisputable proof of this grace.
B. Moses also did this that he may know God = Teach me Your ways is a good translation
            a. Moses knew that the only way for Him to stay in that grace was to be taught.
            b. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
C. God’s way is forgiveness; His way is grace. It is the manner in which God will go with them that Moses desires to know.
            a. 2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the LORD is proven          
            b. The Psalms declare: “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. The  LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”
Connective: After Moses’ request to learn God’s ways, God answers by saying that He would go with Moses. Now that is grace. After all that Moses had been through, the sin that he had committed, and the disobedience of his people, God showed him His ways- which is grace. It is a merciful God that will go with Moses despite the instability of the people.
Point 2: My Presence Will Go with You
A. Let me know whom You will send with me- My presence will go with you
a. Literally God says, “My face will go with you.”
b. Moses didn’t want God to go with him alone, but also with the people.
B. I will give you rest
            a. Rest here refers to settling in the promised land.
            b. There is also an idea of “faith rest” that must be taught.
                        aa. Moses could rest in faith based on God’s promise.
                        bb. We must rest in faith based on God’s promises.
C. Separate from all the people of the earth
            a. I must say it again because the text forces me to- Who are we without God?
            b. It is God’s presence among us that separates us from all the world.
D. “You have found grace in My sight.”
            a. God’s grace was rooted in His intimate knowledge of Moses.
            b. It was Moses’ request, which God ordained, that allowed God to forgive.
Connective (Internal Summary):
It seems that God forgave Israel very quickly and with little effort from Moses. Doesn’t it take more? Isn’t it harder to earn grace like this? No… God had every intention of forgiving the people in the first place.
God is both Just and Justifier. After Moses knew the grace of God which came in that promise, he asks the LORD to show him His glory.
Point 3: Show Me Your Glory
A. Glory = Goodness (In God’s words)
a. Glory is actually defined as weight. God shows how weighty He is, His worth.
b. I will be gracious (compassion) to whom I will be gracious (compassion).
            aa. God is sovereign over all. He can do anything He pleases.
            bb. And all these things are in accordance with His name.
            c. Romans 9:15-17 applies this verse from Exodus to God’s sovereignty:
            “For he said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have         compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that   wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”
B. You cannot see My face.
            a. The following verses are a great mystery.
            b. In the preceding verses which we have covered Moses saw something, but it was           apparently very limited for God said, “You cannot see My face.”
            c. John 4 teaches that God is spirit, so this must have been a great spiritual experience and also a great manifestation of the one glorious God.
C. Seeing God’s Glory
            a. To see God’s glory, Moses had to stand on a rock and God would put Moses in a cleft (a cave) and cover Moses with His hand because no one can see God and live.
            b. God said that He would remove His hand so that Moses could see His back.
            c. “Hand” and “Back” are terms used to describe the realities of God in a way that we can understand.
            d. This may be best understood that God was allowing Moses to see the “after-effects” of His glory that would pass by.
When Abraham was taking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him, Abraham said God would provide for Himself the lamb. In this situation with Israel, God provides for Himself the means of forgiving them. In His sovereignty, God raised up Moses to intercede for the people. It is by that intercession that God could forgive the people.
The glorious presence of God Almighty is what Moses really desired and what we desire.
Let us model what the text teaches us:
1. Intercession (prayer) finds for us forgiveness that God is waiting to bestow.
            - The NT teaches that if we confess our sins that God is quick/faithful to forgive.
2. It is by learning God’s ways that we can stay in His grace.
            - Learning from Him makes us faithful people.
3. Seek God’s glory.
            - We should long to experience God’s worth.
*God’s presence will accompany intercession before Him, learning His ways, and seeking His glory.