Exodus Chapter Thirty Four

The Sinai Contract

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In our study of Exodus chapter thirty four, we look at the Sinai Covenant and its implications for us as followers of Yeshua Messiah.

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Exodus 34:1-3

ADONAI said to Moshe, "Cut yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones; and I will inscribe on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready by morning; in the morning you are to ascend Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain. No one is to come up with you, and no one is to be seen anywhere on the mountain; don't even let the flocks or herds feed in front of this mountain."

In chapter 32, we saw that Moshe threw down the first set of stone tablets when he saw the idolatry of the people. Now, we see God call him to come up onto the mountain to receive a new set but Moshe is to carve the tablets out of stone and bring them with him. This carving shows us that there is going to be a spiritual outcome to these new tablets. We also see that Moshe was to go alone this time and that not even the livestock were to graze in front of the mountain while he went up. This emphasizes the call upon the life of Moshe and the authority that is being given to him by God.

Exodus 34:4-7

Moshe cut two stone tablets like the first. Then he got up early in the morning and, with the two stone tablets in his hands, ascended Mount Sinai, as ADONAI had ordered him to do. ADONAI descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of ADONAI. ADONAI passed before him and proclaimed: "YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents' offenses to be experienced by their children and grandchildren, and even by the third and fourth generations."

We see that Moshe prepared and obeyed and then God moved and that pattern continues in our lives even as followers of Yeshus Messiah. Here, the cloud which is associated with the Spirit of God descended and proclaimed the name of God and we are reminded that the name is associated with character in the Torah. This passage reveals thirteen attributes of God and the number thirteen relates to unity between the people of God and God. In these attributes, we see the fact that God guards grace and lifts up the sin from His people but we also see that sin is rooted in genetics. Just as the sin of Adam was passed on to all of humanity, the sins of a father can be passed on to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren if that sin is not dealt with by the blood of Yeshua Messiah.

Exodus 34:8 & 9

At once Moshe bowed his head to the ground, prostrated himself and said, "If I have now found favor in your view, Adonai, then please let Adonai go with us, even though they are a stiffnecked people; and pardon our offenses and our sin; and take us as your possession."

We see that, when Moshe sees the character of God, the immediate outcome is worship and that should be the case with us as well. We do not worship God for what He gives us; we worship God because He is worthy of worship and everything else is just a blessed outcome of that worship. Moshe goes on to acknowledge the fact that it is only through the grace of God that He will dwell in our midst and we will be His inheritance.

Exodus 34:10

He said, "Here, I am making a covenant; in front of all your people I will do wonders such as have not been created anywhere on earth or in any nation. All the people around you will see the work of ADONAI. What I am going to do through you will be awesome!

God's response to the worship of Moshe is what is known as the Sinai Covenant and this covenant promises something new and awesome that God is doing with Moshe and it begins with these two stone tablest.

Exodus 34:11-16

Observe what I am ordering you to do today. Here! I am driving out ahead of you the Emori, Kena'ani, Hitti, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi. Be careful not to make a covenant with the people living in the land where you are going, so that they won't become a snare within your own borders. Rather, you are to demolish their altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their sacred poles; because you are not to bow down to any other god; since ADONAI -whose very name is Jealous - is a jealous God. Do not make a covenant with the people living in the land. It will cause you to go astray after their gods and sacrifice to their gods. Then they will invite you to join them in eating their sacrifices, and you will take their daughters as wives for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves to their own gods and make your sons do the same!

Once again, we see that God is going to cast out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan and give the land to Israel by His grace but we also see that the people have a part in this covenant. The people of Israel must not cut a covenant with the inhabitants of the land as God says they must guard themselves and guard the truth contained in the commandments. To guard the truth, they must utterly destroy everything that is associated with the idolatry of the Canaanites. We see that the result of not doing this will be a snare and the Hebrew word for this is where we get the modern term for landmine. A landmine is hidden and waits for the opportunity to explode and destroy and that is what God is saying will happen to the people of Israel if they make a covenant with these people.

Exodus 34:17

"Do not cast metal gods for yourselves.

In this we see that allowing the influence of non-believers into our lives will cause us to go into idolatry but guarding the commandments of God will be a hedge of protection for us.

Exodus 34:18-20

"Keep the festival of matzah by eating matzah, as I ordered you, for seven days during the month of Aviv; for it was in the month of Aviv that you came out from Egypt. "Everything that is first from the womb is mine. Of all your livestock, you are to set aside for me the males, the firstborn of cattle and flock. The firstborn of a donkey you must redeem with a lamb; if you won't redeem it, break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you are to redeem, and no one is to appear before me empty-handed.

In this passage, we see that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was to be kept by the people as a reminder of their redemption from Egypt. This also teaches us about the firstborn which speaks of Yeshua Messiah and his redeeming work on the cross. Although we cannot keep the feast today, it is still beneficial for us to observe this time and to remember the lessons that it gives us today.

Exodus 34:21

"Six days you will work, but on the seventh day you are to rest - even in plowing time and harvest season you are to rest.

Another part of this Sinai Covenant was that the people were to keep the Shabbat no matter what work was needing to be done and this teaches us the principle of grace. Although we do not have to observe the Sabbath for our salvation, when we do so it guards us from thinking that our works will bring about salvation and it reminds us of the grace of God.

Exodus 34:22-24

"Observe the festival of Shavu'ot with the first-gathered produce of the wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Lord, ADONAI, the God of Isra'el. For I am going to expel nations ahead of you and expand your territory, and no one will even covet your land when you go up to appear before ADONAI your God three times a year.

Now, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles are to be observed and it is three times per year that every male 20 years old and older were required to journey to Jerusalem to appear before the Lord. We see that God promises to protect their lands while they are gone for these times to Jerusalem. We see that three names of God are given for who the men were to appear before and this speaks of the fact that these feasts have implications for the future as well as today and in the past.

Exodus 34:25 & 26

You are not to offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, and the sacrifice of the feast of Pesach is not to be left until morning. You are to bring the best firstfruits of your land into the house of ADONAI your God. "You are not to boil a young goat in its mother's milk."

This passage reminds the people that they were to pay attention to the details when they were dealing with the things of God and it is summed up with the command to avoid pagan idolatry.

Exodus 34:27 & 28

ADONAI said to Moshe, "Write these words down, because they are the terms of the covenant I have made with you and with Isra'el." Moshe was there with ADONAI forty days and forty nights, during which time he neither ate food nor drank water. [ADONAI] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.

Now, we see that the Ten Commandments were written on the tablets and Moshe was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. Throughout the Bible, the number forty is associated with change and a transformation. In this case, the transformation was coming about through the giving of these commandments to the people of God.

Exodus 34:29-31

When Moshe came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, he didn't realize that the skin of his face was sending out rays of light as a result of his talking with [ADONAI]. When Aharon and the people of Isra'el saw Moshe, the skin of his face was shining; and they were afraid to approach him. But Moshe called to them; then Aharon and all the community leaders came back to him, and Moshe spoke to them.

We see that Moshe's skin gave off light after he had been in the presence of God and this caused the people to be afraid of approaching Moshe but Moshe spoke to them and eased their fears.

Exodus 34:32-35

Afterwards, all the people of Isra'el came near; and he passed on to them all the orders that ADONAI had told him on Mount Sinai. Once Moshe had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But when he went in before ADONAI for him to speak, he would take the veil off until he came out; then, when he came out, he would tell the people of Isra'el what he had been ordered. But when the people of Isra'el saw Moshe's face, that the skin of Moshe's face shone, he would put the veil back over his face until he went in again to speak with [ADONAI].

Moshe revealed the Ten Commandments to the people and then he covered his face with a veil but, when he went before the Lord again, he would remove the veil.

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