Friday, April 28, 2023

2023.04.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 34:1–7

Read Exodus 34:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom does Yahweh speak in Exodus 34:1? What does he tell him to cut? Who will write on them? What will He write? What else must Moses do (Exodus 34:2)? When? To where must he come? To present what, to Whom, and where? Who may also come up (Exodus 34:3)? Who mustn’t be seen, where? What else mustn’t be seen? What does Moses do in response to all of this (Exodus 34:4)? When Moses comes to the mountain, what happens in the cloud (Exodus 34:5, cf. Exodus 33:9)? What else does Yahweh do? What, specifically, does He proclaim? What name does He repeat twice (Exodus 34:6)? What title once? What three, initial character traits does He proclaim? In which two does He declare Himself to abound? What does He keep for whom (Exodus 34:7)? By forgiving what three things? What does He not do at all? What does He visit upon whom? Until when? How does Moses respond to this declaration (Exodus 34:8)? At what speed? To what extent? 

What glory does the Lord display to His people? Exodus 34:1–7 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God displays to His people the glory of His law, the glory of His nearness, the glory of His grace, and the glory of His justness. 

Moses had asked to see Yahweh’s glory (cf. Exodus 33:18), and Yahweh had basically said that all that there was to His glory to see(and especially hear), He would show to Moses (cf. Exodus 33:19–23). Now, Exodus 34:1–7 relates how the Lord displayed that glory in four things in particular: His law, His nearness, His grace, and His justness.

The glory of God’s law. Almost half of this passage is spent on the new tablets of stone. The writing of new tablets is important, because these are “the tablets of the Testimony” (cf. Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15). When Moses had seen that Israel had broken covenant with God, he had broken the previous set (cf. Exodus 32:19). Now, as the Lord’s display of glory is connected with considering the nation as His own people (cf. Exodus 33:13), He displays that glory in part by providing a new set of tablets. He tells Moses to cut them and bring them, and Yahweh will write upon them. This is also connected to the display of His glory, because we remember that the commandments are the life-applications of the implications of God’s divine glory.

The glory of God’s nearness. The nearness of the Lord is highlighted in in Exodus 34:2 (“present yourself to Me there”), Exodus 34:5 (“Yahweh descended in the cloud and stood with him there”), and Exodus 34:6 (“Yahweh passed before him”). God is present everywhere, but when He makes His near presence knows, He makes special display of His glory. He has done this most of all in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only-begotten of the Father. In this entire section of Exodus, the key issue is whether He will go up in the midst of the people, making them to know the nearness of His presence among them.

The glory of God’s grace. Here is, if we may say it reverently, God’s favorite part of His glory. For, what does He proclaim, when He proclaims His Name? “Yahweh, Yahweh, God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. “Goodness and truth” translates words commonly translated “steadfast love and faithfulness.” In the Greek translation of this passage that the first century church used, the phrase is the same as “full of grace and truth” in John 1:14.

Not only are these two attributes the ones in which He here declares Himself to abound, but the previous three attributes were of similar kind. His preference for this aspect of His character is also seen in the imbalance between “keeping mercy for thousands” in Exodus 34:7a and “the third and fourth generation” in verse 7b (cf. Exodus 20:5–6). This preference is also seen in Romans 9:22–23. There, the Lord does will to show His wrath and make His power known, but that gets put on pause in order “that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy.”

The glory of God’s justness. Finally, the Lord does emphasize His justness. Although He forgives iniquity and transgression and sin, He does not do this by “letting go unpunished” this iniquity and transgression and sin. The verb for “let go unpunished” is doubled here, with a negative particle. It is very strong. And it reminds us that forgiveness comes not through injustice but through full propitiation. The wrath of God is poured out fully upon sin. The Lord Jesus has endured it as sinners’ covenant head, which Exodus 34:7 makes clear is the Lord’s righteous and just way of covenant dealing. This was dreadful news for us in Adam, but it is good news for us in Christ, and every Christian father desires that his children would come out of his headship and into Christ’s.

For each of these displays of God’s glory, how is Christ the greatest instance of that particular display? How are you responding to each of these glories of God in your life? How are you responding specifically to Christ?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for showing Your glory to Moses. And thank You for showing it even more to us in the Lord Jesus Christ. Grant that, by Your Spirit, we would see and respond to His glory more and more, AMEN!

ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion, Lord, with Thee”

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