Exodus 34

Law and Order:

There is one other article to go into the Ark of the Testimony- the Ten Commandments written
on the stone tablets. These laws, commandments given by God have not been amended, nor
edited or deleted. They have stood as absolutes throughout the ages. There is a story behind
these tablets which would be placed in the ark of testimony. They were not the original tablets
written by the finger of God. These were the second tablets carved by Moses own hand. We
will want to look at the story behind these replacement tablets.

When asked which law is the greatest, Jesus replied- ‘thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two
commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’( Matthew 22)

Do you see the order of the law based on priority- relationship with the Lord is first and
foremost, for being rightly related to God is the only way we can be rightly related to others.
This is God’s law and order. This is His law and this is the order of importance. God does not
change. And guess what- neither does human nature. Human nature longs for something to
satisfy its deepest longings. Elvis Presley was once asked late in his career what did he want
most? His answer: someone to love, someone to love me and something to look forward to. Is
this not the longing of our hearts?

What is interesting is the stone tablets that would be placed in the Ark were not the originals.
Do you remember what happened to the stone tablets written by the very finger of God?
Moses came down the mountain with the two original tablets to confront the sin of the people
and shattered the original tablets to pieces.

During Moses’ absence from the camp while he was atop the mountain receiving the law, the
people grew restless. Exodus 32 describes this great sin the people committed. “ When the
people saw that Moses was so long in coming down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron
and said, “ Come make us gods, who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us
up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Let us remember that Moses is a type of redeemer. He has gone up on the mountain of
glory after bringing the people up out of Egypt by God’s mighty hand per God’s will. As they
waited for his return, the people grew restless and questioned if and when Moses was coming
back. Has not our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus gone up into the Mount of Glory, the very throne
room of God, and in God’s Presence He now sits at His right hand. Waiting can be tiring and
we know the enemy who goes about like a roaring lion is looking for tired, anxious prey as a
perfect candidate for temptation. One of our human weaknesses is we tend to grow weary and
frustrated in waiting.

After all, here we are in 2012, two thousand years after the Lord’s ascension to the mount of
Heaven. He promised to return, yet we grow weary waiting sometimes don’t we? Waiting to
hear an answer to a prayer, waiting for problems to be resolved, waiting for eyes to be opened,
waiting, waiting, waiting. And so we sometimes, like Abraham, decide we must go ahead and
do it ourselves. Are we not acting like our own gods? Here is what Peter warned us about: “
First of all you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following
their own evil desires. They will say, “ Where is the coming He promised? Ever since our fathers
died everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget
that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water .
By these waters also the world at that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word
the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and
destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day
is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His
promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient, with you, not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.” ( 2 Peter 3)

So we must not grow weary in well doing, for in due time we will reap the harvest if we do not
give up.( Galatians 6) If the people had waited another day- Moses would have been back and
lives would have been saved.

The Lord has not come down where we can see Him, yet, for this reason, we must live by faith
and not by sight. The world cries out- I will believe it – when I see it. But Jesus told Martha this
truth: “ Did I not tell you, that if you believed , you would see the glory of the God?” (John 11)

Does your faith waver and cut out like an engine which is running out of fuel sometimes?
Do you sometimes find yourself listening to the crowd who says- ‘where is the coming He
promised?’ It is in these times of waiting, we must be on guard. For here is where the enemy
conspires with our old nature to question the wisdom of waiting on a God you cannot see. That
is why people want to make gods, they can see.

Notice in our story in Exodus 32, the people rose up early the next day and sacrificed burnt
offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got
up to indulge in revelry. This word in Hebrew has sexual connotations. Many people rise up
early to sin- but not to pray. One of your first actions to safeguard you against wavering faith is
seek the Lord early. Arise early and spend time in His Word and in prayer- for faith comes by
hearing and hearing by the Word of God. ( Romans 10:17)

This people knew God, knew about God, had seen God work in mighty ways, and yet they
had grown weary in waiting in the wilderness. The wrath of God is about to be revealed from
heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their
wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it
plain to them. Notice how I have made Romans 1 fit this very situation that occurred in Exodus
32. Let’s continue with these verses in Romans 1: “ For although they knew God, they neither
glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish
hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, became as fools and exchanged
the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like man and birds and animals and
reptiles.” ( verse 21-23) Have you ever become foolish and made something more important
to your life than God? People do it all the time. They are like the people invited to the banquet
who had one excuse after another, which was really I have something else I want to do rather
than spend time with you, Lord. Their excuses ran the gambit from relationships- just married,
to business, – just bought some property; to materialism- just bought a team of oxen.

Do you see any parallels? I am going to get involved in church, serving you Lord, someday, right
now we are busy with : __________________________ you fill in the blank, what is keeping
you from serving the Lord, has priority over Him.

And then in Romans 1:28-29: “ Furthermore since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the
knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity.”

Do you see what one does with knowledge is very, very important. Your life depends on it. In
Romans 6- Paul tells us the truths we must know, as time after time- he repeats this phrase: ‘
know ye not..’ In that chapter Paul tells us we need to know and count it as true the following
facts: know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death; we
were raised with Him to live a new life; united with Him in death and united with Him in His
resurrection; our old self was crucified so anyone who has died is freed from sin; know also
that to whomever you offer yourselves to obey, you are slaves to whom you obey; whether
slaves to sin, which leads to death, or slaves to obedience which leads to righteousness. You
have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of righteousness. As a believer, you
are under new ownership. You were bought with a great price.

Remember Egypt is a picture and symbol of the world, a world culture and society that we
know today is under the control of the evil one. The love of idols was born in the heart of Israel
in Egypt. The love of this world is born in the heart of each of us because we are born with
sinful natures. How does a worm get into an apple? The egg is laid in the blossom. The hole in
the apple is not where the worm went in- it is where it went out. We were born with the sinful
nature, the love of this world in our hearts.

Israel had exchanged the glory of God for the image of an animal, a golden calf.

Moses threw the stone tablets, the original tables written with the finger of God breaking them
to pieces at the foot of the mountain. The breaking of the stone tablets was a symbolic act for
Israel had broken the covenant and would have to face the consequences. So here we see- the
10 Commandments are no sooner written, than they are broken. The first commandment was
to have no other god before Me.

What were the consequences? The Levites executed 3000 of the people plus a plague came on
the people of which we do not know how many were killed . God in His grace forgives sins. But
God in His government allows sin to work out its terrible consequence. We reap what we sow.

Do not miss this part of the story. From the very beginning, man has not been able to keep the
law. There is only One who kept it. Jesus said He did not come to abolish the law, but fulfill it-
every jot and title.

In Exodus 33, God tells Moses to leave this place and go to the land I promised you. God then
tells Moses I will send an angel before you to drive out the enemies. But I will not go with you,
because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.

But Moses says- God if you are not going with us- we are not going. Listen to what Moses said: “
How will anyone know your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and
your people from all the people on the face of the earth?” ( Exodus 33:16)

Could it be the church in the 21st century is not growing, is seeing attendance erode, fewer
baptisms, young people giving up on religion because God is not with us and there is nothing to
distinguish us from all the people on the face of the earth?

How will anyone know us unless you go with us, God?

How does anyone know you are a believer? What distinguishes you from all the people on the
face of the earth?

What evidence is evident in your life that you are a child of God?

Is God’s glory reflected in your life? Is God’s glory reflected in this body of believers called West
Jackson Baptist?

So here in this Ark of Testimony- the manna, the budding staff of Aaron, and the Ten
Commandments on the stone tablets were all preserved in the ark.

Only through the death of the Lamb of God, the One to come would there be: true bread from
heaven on which man can live; there would be only One Great High Priest to intercede for us,
the Lord Jesus, who is the True Vine; and since He is the only One who kept the law, fulfilling
every jot and tittle we have freedom.

For the New Covenant could not be established until the Old Covenant was fulfilled, and the
Lord Jesus was the Only One who ever could keep the law. For He was and is the last Adam,
born under the law, tempted in every way we were, but without sin thus qualifying Him as the
One who could take away the sin of the world.

“For if many died by the trespass of the one man ( the first Adam), how much more did God ‘s
grace and the gift that came by grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the man. For
just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through
obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” ( Romans 5)

Here is the question this lesson prompts us to ask ourselves: have you ever been guilty of
creating your own God of making for yourself an idol?

The first two commandments are against idolatry. The first sin we see after the 10
commandments are given is flagrant idolatry with the golden calf.

In the beginning, human beings were made to worship and serve God and to rule over all
created things in God’s name. In Genesis 1: 26-28, we read that God created man in His image,
in our likeness to rule over all created things. Paul tells it like it is in Romans 1: 21-25: “They
exchanged the glory of the immortal God and worshipped and served created things rather
than the Creator.” Instead of living for God, we began to live for ourselves, or our work, or for
the love of others, or for material goods. Do you see how the order has been reversed? We
begin to worship and serve created things and notice when you serve created things, created
things now rule over you, master you. We work to pay for those things and those things we
possess now possess us, as we measure our success by how many things we have.

Here is the truth: what we worship, we serve. For worship and service are bound together. We
will either worship the uncreated God or we will worship created things, which are by definition
– idols.

All sin is rooted in idolatry.

We usually think of sin as doing bad things. But sin can also be making something that is
fundamentally good into the ultimate thing. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything
more than on God.

Sin is building your identity and life – your self worth and happiness on anything other than
God. If you accept this definition- then you realize how subtle and deceiving is the nature of

Paul says it begins when thinking became futile and foolish hearts became darkened. They
claimed to be wise. That is the first step and it will inevitably lead to the second step-‘they
worshipped and served created things.’

Do you know the reason we turn to idols? The same reason the Israelites did in the wilderness-
we want to control our own lives, though we know we owe everything to God.

This is God’s Law and God’s Order: 1. You shall have no other gods before Me. 2. You shall not
make for yourself an idol in any form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or
the waters below. You shall not bow down to them for worship them.

That is God’s Law and that is God’s Order. Seek First the Kingdom of God and His righteousness
and all these things will be given to you as well. ( Matthew 6:33- the Lord Jesus speaking.)

Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14