There are interesting parallels in the scriptures telling of Word of God made of Stone and the the Word of God made Flesh. In these parallels we find great truth and the challenge to live well.
“The tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets” -Exodus 32:16
Moses descended and broke the tablets when he saw the golden calf. He returned to the cloud of glory, carrying new stone tablets before descending a second time in the glory of the LORD, carrying the new stone tablets of the renewed covenant.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. -John 1:14
Just as Moses brought the word of God twice, the first time to be broken on account of sin, so too our Lord Jesus Christ will come twice as the living Word of God, first broken because of sin.
Exodus 32 recounts the sin of the golden calf. When we see movies such as the “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston, we do not see that the Lord gave the children of Israel His commands before Moses was given the stone tablets.
In the movies, Moses is in some sort of holy daze and more or less leaves the people wondering why he had to leave them.
In the bible, the Lord has Moses prepare the people to receive His commands. Moses ascends the mountains and the descends with instructions, then up and then down. Finally, once everyone has gone through the process of washing themselves and abstaining from marital relations, once they understand the boundaries they are not to cross. The Lord comes down to speak his commands.
The Lord speaks the commandments (see Exodus 19 and 20) starting with the 10 commandments that prohibit making an idol. The Lord keeps giving instruction for several chapter until we reach Exodus 24 where Moses repeats what the Lord spoke and it is all written down in what we now call scripture.
This was done before a few million people, not Moses running off by himself. After Moses takes the time to write it all down and read the commands of God again to the people, the people actually state that they agree to obey these things.
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” -Exodus 24:3
These were not empty words. The Lord was entering into a covenant with His people similar to a marriage. Vows were being exchanged, this was personal to the Lord.
Bear this in mind when you read Chapter 32, the Lord was heart broken over the sin of the golden calf. Just as a husband who loves his wife dearly would be heart broken to find her with another man during their honeymoon, so too God was crushed by the people’s unfaithfulness so soon after the covenant was signed by the finger of God.
That is why the Lord’s reaction seems so intense, because it is intense. The Lord is so angry at this betrayal that He states His intention to remove them from the face of the earth. But Moses cannot bear the thought of the Lord destroying everyone and He pleads with God for the lives of the people.
The Lord repents and it falls to Moses to deal with Israel. Moses descends the mountain once more carrying the stone tablets written by the finger (the Spirit) of God. Upon seeing the sin of the people Moses breaks the tablets with the commands on them and challenges the people.
Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. -Exodus 32:15-16
There is an explanation given by Jewish scholars that is very interesting. The story goes that the very word of God written by God’s Spirit leaped off the tablets. This is compared to a person who has died, once their spirit has left they become heavy.
At this point the tablets are too heavy for Moses to carry and so he throws them to the ground. The stone tablets which contained the Word of God were broken on account of sin.
Jesus is the Word made flesh (see John 1). He too was broken for our sin. The Lord had inscribed on His heart the very word of God, and just like the tablets of stone there was no part of His heart that did not have the Word of God written.
We are saved by an act of grace. The Lord showed grace and mercy to his people when he did not destroy them for their sin. He saves us when we agree to accept His grace and the sacrifice made on the cross.
What we should also consider is that the Lord is finishing that which He started in us. He is writing on our hearts His commands. There are still some blank spots that He is working on, but when He is finished, every part of our hearts will be covered in His Word.
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