Daily Family Worship

Exodus 34: In the Cleft of the Rock

by | Mar 23, 2022

exodus 34

When God made Man in His own image, the moral law was written in his heart by the finger of God, without outward means. But that covenant was broken when Adam sinned; and since then, the Lord has caused the law to be written in the Scriptures, and He also writes it afresh in the hearts of those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. When Moses threw down the tables of stone with the Commandments written upon them, it symbolized the breaking of that covenant which the Lord’s people had so recently agreed to. However, when God was reconciled with them, He wrote His law again upon two new stone tables.

When Moses had gone up onto Mount Sinai again, the Lord descended in a cloud, showing an open token of His presence and His glory. Then He proclaimed His name – that is, the perfections and character which are denoted by the name Jehovah. The Lord God is merciful and ready to forgive the sinner, and to relieve the needy. He is gracious and kind, and ready to bestow undeserved benefits. He is long-suffering and slow to anger, giving plenty of time for repentance, and only punishing when it is absolutely necessary. He is abundant in goodness and truth; even sinners receive the riches of His bounty abundantly, although they shamefully abuse them. All that the Lord reveals is infallible truth, and all that He promises is in faithfulness. He has mercy in store for thousands, and He continually shows this mercy to sinners. His mercy and goodness reach to the full and free forgiveness of sin. And yet He will by no means clear the guilty, for His holiness and justice are part of His goodness and love toward all His creatures; it is in Jesus’ sufferings that Divine holiness and justice are fully shown, and the evil of sin is made known. The Lord’s forgiving mercy is always attended by His converting and sanctifying grace; none are pardoned except those who repent and forsake the willful practice of sin. Nor shall anyone escape punishment if they abuse, neglect, or despise this great salvation.

After this manifestation of the Lord’s glory, Moses bowed down and worshipped reverently. In prayer to God, the believer may plead every perfection in the name of God for the forgiveness of his sins and the making holy of his heart.

Moses could not bear to gaze upon the awful brightness on Sinai until he was shown a cleft in the rock, where the Lord shaded him with His hand as His glory passed by, so that he might not be overpowered. Think now upon the first verse of Psalm 91: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Moses was abiding in the secret place – the cleft where the Most High had set him – and he was sheltered by the shadow of the Almighty. He stood safe when the wondrous sight passed before him. Why? Because he was hidden in the rock, “and that Rock was Christ.” No human can see or know anything of God, except through His only Son, Who has shown us what God is. In Jesus’ holy, loving, compassionate, tender, sympathizing character, we may see our God in a form that we can endure to look upon!

What is Jesus to you? Is He the Rock upon which all your trust is built? Is He the Secret Place in which you love to abide, and where your heart and your treasure are laid up, and where you find a peace that the world and its troubles can’t disturb? Jesus is everything to His people. He is their Shepherd to seek them, the Bread and Water of Life to feed and cleanse them, and the Door by which they get into heaven. And He is the Cleft in the Rock of Ages, where His children shall be kept safe on that awful day when the Lord shall pour out His righteous wrath upon all who are outside of that Hiding-Place!

The Lord told Moses that the Israelites must destroy every monument of idolatry when they entered the land of Canaan. They were also to refuse all alliances, friendships, or marriages with idolaters. We cannot worship God aright if we do not worship Him alone. He ordained that once a week, His people should observe a day of rest, even in plowing-time and in harvest. We must show that we prefer our relationship with God over all worldly business. Moreover, when the Israelites arrived in the Promised Land, they were to leave their homes three times a year and appear before the Lord to observe His feasts. The three feasts mentioned here are the Passover, in remembrance of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt; the Feast of Weeks (also called the Feast of Firstfruits), when the people were to offer the firstfruits of their crops to the Lord; and the Feast of Ingathering (also called the Feast of Tabernacles), when the harvest was over. Moses was to write down these words, so that the people might know them better. We can never be thankful enough to our God for His written Word.

Close spiritual communion with God improves the graces of a regenerated and holy character, and it puts a luster upon a person’s countenance that commands esteem and affection. The veil which Moses put on when he came from the Lord’s presence on Sinai symbolized the obscurity of that covenant, compared with the New Covenant in the Gospel. The veil was also an emblem of the natural shroud that covers the unconverted hearts of human beings in relation to spiritual things. This veil can only be taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, which reveals Christ as “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth!”

Lord, how precious it is to remember that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus! Write Your laws upon our hearts; and by the sweet influences of Your Holy Spirit, make us able and willing to walk in Your commandments. Amen.

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