Exodus 34:1-35:9 ~ Matthew 27:15-31 ~ Psalm 33:12-22 ~ Proverbs 9:1-6
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Old Testament - Exodus chapter 34 verses 6 & 7 are beautiful and we will hear these words repeated again later in the Old Testament a few times: ""I am the LORD, I am the LORD, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion." How do these words resonate with you? Do you believe God is merciful and gracious? Slow to anger? And rich in unfailing love and faithfulness? Have you asked God for forgiveness for your sins and rebellion?
Verses 33 through 35 in today's readings tell us: "When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the LORD, he removed the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the LORD had given him, and the people would see his face aglow. Afterward he would put the veil on again until he returned to speak with the LORD."
And today's guest commentary on these preceding verses is from none other than Paul! This is the Bible giving commentary on the Bible. Here is Paul in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians chapter 3 verses 7 - 18 (read this carefully... read this twice... this is good....) - "That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses' face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn't we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old covenant, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new covenant. So if the old covenant, which has been set aside, was full of glory, then the new covenant, which remains forever, has far greater glory. Since this new covenant gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory fading away. But the people's minds were hardened, and even to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, a veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses' writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more." Not a bad commentary, eh?
Below is an image for verses 29 & 30: "When Moses came down the mountain carrying the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn't aware that his face glowed because he had spoken to the LORD face to face. And when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses' face, they were afraid to come near him."
Bible.org's commentary on Exodus chapter 34 titled "A New Beginning" is at this link.
New Testament - The Passion readings today are always tough... they bring home the reality of what Jesus did for each of us. Tomorrow's readings are tougher. An image of Pilate asking the crowd in verse 22: ""But if I release Barabbas," Pilate asked them, "what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?"
I read an interesting commentary on verse 24 today: "Pilate saw that he wasn't getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours!" Tyndale's commentary said that even though Pilate verbally said the "responsibility is yours" and even though he washed his hands - his responsibility remained. He was essentially afraid about losing his job, because there was the threat to report him to Caesar (John 19:12). Pilate was the Roman governor from AD 26-36 for Judea and Samaria. One of his main duties was to simply "keep the peace" in this outlying area of the Roman Empire - and to do "whatever was necessary" to maintain the "peace"... Below is a painting by Mattia Preti from 1663 of Pilate trying to wash his hands of guilt... Pilate seems to be looking at the viewer in this painting with a "Who are you looking at?" expression... Who are we looking at here?
Psalms - Psalm 33 verse 12 today is awesome: "In him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in his holy name." Does your heart literally rejoice when you think about God? Do you trust in God's holy name?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 9 verses 5 & 6 are a reminder that not only does Temptation call us (as we've read earlier in Proverbs this year), but Wisdom calls out to us as well! "Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise." Which voice are you listening to these days? Whose invitation are you accepting? Temptation's? Or Wisdom's? Whose call will you answer?
Worship God: Reflecting on the old covenant and the New Covenant in the Old Testament today reminded me of the incredible song by MercyMe called "Emmanuel (God with Us)." Here's a video to this great song:
Do you know that God is with us? Click here to meet Emmanuel!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance." Psalm 33:12 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that your nation's God is indeed the LORD.
Comments from you & Question of the Day - I love all of our Proverbs readings about wisdom these days. And obviously I think most of us would agree that we are finding wisdom in the Bible. My question for today is this - can we find wisdom outside of the Bible? For example, I read Jim Collins famous business book "Good to Great" a few years ago, and I believe I found some business wisdom in this book. I listen to Dennis Prager's radio show and think that I gain some wisdom from his comments on occasion. I read the Wall Street Journal and think that gives me some wisdom periodically. I think the difference though between these 3 modern day sources and the Bible is that Good to Great, Dennis Prager, and the Wall Street journal are not 100% wisdom 100% of the time. Whereas the Bible I believe is 100% wisdom 100% of the time. How about you? Do you think you get wisdom in places outside of the Bible today? Where are those places? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Don’t know if this is of any spiritual significance but there are two things that immediately hit me as I read today’s Old Testament passage,
1) Moses must bring his own stone tablet up on the mountain, were originally God not only wrote on the tablets, He also cut them out from the mountain.
THE LORD said to Moses, Cut two tables of stone like the first, and I will write upon these tables the words that were on the first tables, which YOU (emphasis mine) broke. (Exodus 34:1 AMP).
Before when God called Moses up to the mountain when he first received the Law, God did all the work.
And the Lord said to Moses, Come up to Me into the mountain and be there, and I will give you tables of stone, with the law and the commandments which I have written that you may teach them. [II Cor. 3:2, 3.] (Exodus 24:12 AMP)
When I’ve read about Moses throwing the Tablits down, I really never thought that there was anything “wrong” with what he did, not I’m reconsidering. Moses had a temper problem and in looking back, his temper and uncontrolled rage got him in trouble in the beginning. The consequence of Killing the Egyptian led him to relocation out of fear from Egypt to Median. Is there a lesson in this for us? Climbing up a mountain is hard work, but climbing up a mountain with two stone tablets adds an extra strain. Could it be that what God has given us, is not ours to destroy no matter the circumstances or provocation?
2) Moses is warned not to have anyone, not even Joshua nor the elders around the mountain the second time around (see Exodus 19:12). NO ONE! Before, a boundary was placed around the mountain (see Exodus 19:12), but now no, no thing no animal is even allowed near the mountain. God does not trust them. Either his glory would kill sinful people or because they are not people of their word, they would come to the mountain and die. What are the implications for us if any? When we violate a clear command from God, do we need time to not only confess our sins and then be cleansed from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) before we can be trusted to come near the mountain again? Or is this just Old Covenant stuff?
Just some thoughts running through my head and the questions are all rhetorical.
Mike regarding your wisdom question: Where do we get it and where does it come from? I think as we continue to read the Bible we will find out that answer. Proverbs states clearly where it comes from and even tells us it’s birth, as well as the 111th Psalm,
The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and skill [the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet]; a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all those who do [the will of the Lord]. Their praise of Him endures forever. [Job. 28:28; Prov. 1:7; Matt. 22:37, 38; Rev. 14:7.] (Psalms 111:10 AMP)
The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. [Ps. 111:10.] (Proverbs 1:7 AMP)
If you look at the books, tapes and seminars that purport to dispense wisdom, if you examine them closely you will see that they have just taken biblical principals and stripped them of the biblical and claimed them as their own. Several people have written about my supposed wisdom on this site; however, I am always embarrassed and do not know how to respond because whatever wisdom I supposedly have comes from making a study of the Bible. I am only parroting back principals I have picked up from reading the Word. What I have done for years, is take heed to the introduction of the book of Proverbs,
THE PROVERBS (truths obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, Receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity, That prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth-- The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]--[Prov. 9:9.] That people may understand a proverb and a figure of speech or an enigma with its interpretation, and the words of the wise and their dark sayings or riddles.
(Proverbs 1:1-6 AMP)
I go through the book of Proverbs every month and have been doing so for over 10 years, 31 chapters in Proverbs; 31 days in the majority of the months.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | February 11, 2011 at 10:51 PM
I so appreciate Mike's commentary in the piece where he says he gleans wisdom from lots of sources.. I do too---the ones he mentioned and many more. My brother and I recently had this same discussion, about whether wisdom can be found anywhere other than through God, and I think it cannot. Yes, there is wisdom to be had from many places, but the only reason we can even recognize it as such is because we first have the wisdom which comes from fear of the Lord.
In fact, Ramona, I love your idea of reading through the Proverbs every month... There is a great one (you probably know where!) that says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." I have always been heartened by the fact that that is only the BEGINNING of wisdom.
So, I think there is no wisdom to be found for people who are not yet believers.
OH DEAR. I just read your complete comment...and you said it all, much better than I could have (and thank you for the citation of 1:7), But I still wanted to leave my comment, to be part of the discussion!
I do appreciate your comments, Ramona.
Posted by: Heart | February 12, 2011 at 06:22 AM
Ramona, I got the same question for what was the import of God creating the tablets and then Moses having to create the tablets. I am not sure the reason, I like your idea Ramona, but I don't see the metaphor to be focused on Moses' rebellion, but on Isreal's rebellion. What God had wrote had been destroyed by the sin that occured while Moses was on the mountain. It could not be accepted, and so those precious God inscribed words had to be destroyed. it reminded me of the Garden of Eden. Man had to be thrown out, and now man had to work to produce their own food etc. ??? I don't know. But appreciate others comments.
Proverbs is food for life, I love the whole bible, but in Proverbs always brings me back to how to handle different situations and help me see myself as a reflection instead of my own artistic interpretations.
Posted by: Jenniffer Hosler | February 12, 2011 at 09:47 AM
Psalm 33:18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.
The Lords eyes are on those who fear Him and put their hope in his unfailing love. To fear God is to hate evil and trust in his endless supply of Love. It’s easy to forget this when something pops up threatening our secure little world, perhaps the relationship is at a rocky spot, or the security of your job is suddenly threatened. At times like these it’s a lot more difficult to trust His unfailing love but God knows this and sometimes allows difficulties in order to move us out of a rut were stuck in. The Lord’s eyes are on us, this is comforting knowing He is present with us during difficult times and seizes the opportunity to improve us. As we let go and trust in Him, it is through His unfailing love that we are changed into instruments of righteousness, clothed in His peace.
Posted by: Steve T | February 12, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Ramona, when we put to use principles that we have learned from studying Scripture, as you do...this to me is a sign of great wisdom. Seldom does a great teacher or a person displaying great wisdom invent their words or actions. They borrow them,gleen from other sources the truths that they contain. It just so happens that your source is the greatest source of information and power, the Holy Scriptures.
Thank you for you studies, sharing the Word, and for sharing with us the wisdom that you have acquired by being so devoted. We all have benefited greatly from it, for sure.
Posted by: Art | February 12, 2011 at 05:29 PM