The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3 No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” …
10 And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you…
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
Making a covenant
This declaration of God’s name in verses 6-7 is a preamble to verse 10, “Behold, I am making a covenant.” Exodus 34 and following is a renewal of the covenant that God began in Exodus 20 where God gave the ten commandments.
There is great significance to Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” The preamble is, “I am the Lord your God.” The historical prologue is; “who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” God delivered them from their enemy and now requires their loyalty: The first facts of the Mosaic covenant and the foundation for the ten commandments.
This is classic covenant language that can be found in ancient mid-Eastern treaties know as a Suzerain Treaty. God structured his covenant dealings with Israel and the church in language that we humans are familiar with. That is one manifestation of his condescension to us (he is merciful and gracious).
Breaking a covenant
As an illustration of just how depraved we humans are, before Moses could even get down off the mountain, Israel had already made a mess of things by worshipping their golden calf. Moses, in his righteous anger, broke the tablets that God had given him. The covenant had been broken before it had even been ratified.
Renewing a covenant
This brings us to Exodus 34 where the covenant is being renewed. This time, God doesn’t give such a short preamble, “I am the Lord your God,” but goes into the extended declaration of his name we have been looking at in these past two devotionals. The declaration of his name is the character of our covenant making and covenant keeping God.
The basis of our confidence
When considering the reliability of the promises we have in the New Covenant, I find it comforting to know at his core God is “steadfast love and faithfulness.” The essence of his being is to perform on what he promises.
Since our relationship with God is dependent on God and not on us, I have every confidence that he will not fail to keep his promise to himself, the promise from the Father to the Son. “Yours they were, and you gave them to me…” John 17:6
Does this increase your confidence in his promises? In the security of your life in Christ? Tell us about it.