DAY FIFTY-FOUR : Exodus 33 v. 7 – 34 v. 35; Mark 7 v. 1 – 30; Psalm 25 v. 8 – 15;
The Tent of Meeting – the tent is pitched some way outside the camp (this is a temporary tent/tabernacle, until the one they have full instructions for is completed in Ex. 40); Moses would go and meet with God there (and the pillar of cloud would represent God’s presence outside the Tent); all people would worship God outside their own tents.
“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young assistant, Joshua, son of Nun, did not leave the tent.”
v. 7 says that whoever enquired of the Lord would go to the Tent of Meeting.
Moses and the Glory of the Lord – Moses pleads for God’s help, for God’s direction in his leadership; God’s promise (like Jesus’ to the disciples) is that He will be with Moses and will grant Him rest; Moses pleads for God’s presence, or there’s no point, then asks to see God’s glory (brave man!!); although Moses is not allowed to see God’s face, God promises to ‘pass by him’, so that Moses sees His back (God will cover Moses with His hand as He passes by); what an awesome promise!
EXODUS 34 – Moses prepares two stone tablets for a new copy of the Commandments; he goes up Mt. Sinai; God proclaims Himself, “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”, both ‘forgiving’ and ‘just’ (punishing sin); Moses pleads for his people, “although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and sin, and take us as Your inheritance”.
God makes a covenant with Moses, that He will do wonders, awesome works, as the Israelites show their obedience to Him. They will reach the promised land, but the Israelites must not make any compromising treaties; “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
God wants His people to remain pure, untainted by the peoples whose land they will inhabit.
In this encounter on the mountain top, Moses is reminded that the Israelites are :
– not to make idols
– to celebrate the feasts (Unleavened Bread, Weeks, Passover
– to tithe (offer the firstborn males of livestock, best of the firstfruits of the soil)
– to keep the Sabbath as a rest-day
This time, (over a period of 40 days and nights) Moses, himself, carves out the Ten Commandments, as a covenant sign between God and the Israelites.
The Radiant Face of Moses – Moses’ face is glowing, radiant, having been in God’s presence (and Moses didn’t know it); the Israelites fear Moses, but they all come to him and receive the commandments. Moses wears a veil which he only removes when he is in the Lord’s presence;
Moses, unawares initially, is reflecting the Holy Presence of God to the people; when we have been in God’s presence, our physical appearance can change, and we can glow with His Holy Presence.
Clean and unclean – the disciples are eating with unclean hands, and the Pharisees want to point this out to Jesus; Jesus points out their hypocrisy, caring more about external traditions than internal direction of the heart, “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
The man-made traditions have become more important than the commandments, and he gives and example of them using a tradition of “Corban”, devoting money to God, as an excuse for not honouring / caring for mother and father;
“Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’….it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’.”
Jesus shows Himself to be much less interested in which foods are clean / unclean, but rather pointing out the unclean marks of a heart – evil thoughts, etc. which lead people to break the commandments.
(mmm…why did this image of ‘Dusty Bin’ come into my mind when reading the folly of judging things ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ (fit for the bin!)?..what’s the real rubbish in our lives (internal, not external)?…why did the ‘quality show 3-2-1’ come into my mind when thinking of what’s pure and what’s rubbish? You decide !!)
The Syro-Phoenician Woman – again (we had this story in Matthew 15), Jesus is revealed to have a ministry amongst the gentiles (the Jews considered the gentiles to be ritually ‘unclean’, so this story is as much about Jesus proclaiming ‘clean’ those others judge to be ‘unclean’, just as He is seen to claim ‘all food’ is clean in the previous verses).
The woman receives her faith-filled desire, that her daughter be healed, and Jesus’ mission to ‘all’ is made clearer.
PSALM – God is upright, good, desires to teach His people, is loving, faithful, forgiving. It’s amazing that God shares His will, His thoughts, His commands with us…
“The Lord confides in those who fears Him;
He makes His covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only He will release my feet from the snare.”