Saturday, December 7, 2013

Exodus 34

Today's reading in our daily plan is Exodus 34. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • God instructs Moses to meet with him alone early one morning on a mountain. 
  • He tells Moses to bring two stone tablets that are "like the first ones." In chapter 31 God gave Moses a set of stone tablets that contained commands written by God himself. In chapter 32 Moses became upset with his people's worship of idols and, in anger, broke the tablets God had given him. In today's reading we see God giving Moses a second chance. 
  • God establishes a "covenant" with Moses and his people. A covenant is a formal agreement between two parties, and in this case it is established to allow God to better love his people. He commanded the Israelites to do certain things (and celebrate specific occasions) so that his presence would lead them, and so that he could dwell among them. There are several strange-sounding conditions that God sets forth (for example, the directive in verse 26 to "not cook young goat in its mother's milk").
  • After he comes down from the mountain after meeting with God, Moses is physically glowing. 

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God wants us to take time to meet with him one-on-one, away from life's distractions and busy-ness.
  • In hindsight, we know that part of the reason God made this covenant with the Israelites and set forth oddly specific rules was to set the stage for Jesus. Throughout the Old Testament, God asks his people to adhere to more than 600 specific laws (!). People were unable to live "perfectly" according to these laws and had to sacrifice animals to make up for their sins and make them right with God. Jesus served as the ultimate sacrifice, and it is through him we can now enter into a loving relationship with God.
  • When we have an encounter with God, something about us should change noticeably. In Moses' case it was his physical appearance, but for us that may mean a change in our attitude or relationships or actions or plans.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Are you taking intentional time to meet with God one on one? Starting today, adjust your daily schedule to include uninterrupted time alone with God. Maybe you could start by taking 10 minutes every morning to read the Bible and talk to God about what is going on in your life.
  • If you've encountered God, what about you has changed? How can you share that with other people? Inviting your friends to church is a great starting point.