Notes on Exodus 33-35

God is still quite angry at the children of Israel in the beginning of Exodus 33. Moses once again tries to stand in for his people to assuage God’s anger.

Notice that God gets angry. In our modern churches, we often hear only that “God is love,” which is true. God can also be anger, though his anger is only what we would call “righteous anger.” We get mad over trivial things a lot of times. We get angry when our pride is hurt or we feel embarrassed. God gets angry when His laws are violated. When we love someone, we get angriest when they do something that can lead to them being hurt. We get mad at our children for not listening, because we want to protect them from harm. This is the type of anger that God has.

God commands Moses to make two new stone tablets so that he can again copy the Ten Commandments (double inspiration!), only this time Moses requested to physically see God.

The LORD presents another dire warning. When the enemies of Israel are removed by God, the Israelites are to “destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:” (Ex. 34:13). God wants all traces of false religions and idols to be eradicated. Why? Because “thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:” (verse 14).

Notice again that God gets jealous. Yes, “God is love,” yet here He tells us that his name is Jealous. We find ourselves jealous of someone else’s success, beauty, possessions, and other trivial things. God gets jealous when he is not loved with all our hearts. He loves us so much that for us to love anything else makes him jealous. Like his anger, God’s jealousy is pure. Ours is not.

God half-grants Moses’ request to see him. The LORD passes by so that Moses can only see his back, yet the glory of God is so magnificent that Moses’ face glows. It glows so bright that it scared the children of Israel, so Moses had to put a vail over his face to cover it when addressing them.

This vail is represented by the vail in the Tabernacle and later the Temple that is designed to separate the common areas from the Holy of Holies, where the ark of the testimony and the Mercy Seat of God are found. The Jews were not meant to see God. However, when Christ was crucified, the vail was ripped in half (Matt. 27:51). We have access to God through Jesus Christ. Christ is our way of looking upon the face of God without a vail.

My, how we take this for granted. Because of Christ’s death, we have so many privileges that even God’s chosen people who were freed from Egyptian bondage and supernaturally conquered dozens of powerful armies to come into the land of milk and honey did not have. We have unfettered access to God. We have eternal security in our salvation. We need not be concerned with works, but merely Faith. All we must do is believe in Christ and accept his gift of eternal salvation. It is a process so simple that even a child can do it.

What do we do with this gift? Squander it without caring or horde it to ourselves. Once we become Christians, we sit on our precious gift as if no one else deserves it. Our friends, family, co-workers, and children must go elsewhere to seek salvation, when we could tell them about it ourselves.

This is an amazing phenomenon when you really think about it. It would be like your parents giving you a Porsche and offering to give everyone you know a Porsche as well, but you keep driving your Ford Focus around as to not draw attention to your gift. Meanwhile, your parents are sitting on hundreds of beautiful luxury cars desiring to give them away. All you have to do is let people know where to go, and you all could have the same awesome cars for free, but you keep that a secret.

When we sit on our Christianity, we are ensuring that everyone around us is going to Hell. We could be the seeds of their salvation, but we’d rather them spend eternity in Hell than potentially embarrass ourselves for a few minutes. I am as guilty as anyone of this.

Don’t you think it is time to change that?

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