Exodus: Idols and Irons

Devotional

Take Two!

By Pastor Dan Hickling

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain. And no man shall come up with you, and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain; let neither flocks nor herds feed before that mountain.’”—Exodus 34:1–3 (NKJV)

You’ve probably heard it before, “God is a God of second chances.” Actually, He’s a God of third chances, fourth chances, fifth chances—you get the idea. But the main point of that idea is the Lord doesn’t just cut us off after our first failure. His heart is to forgive, restore, and renew His good plan for our lives. We see a strong picture of this in the account above, as God commands Moses to “cut two tablets of stone like the first ones.”

The “first ones” that He’s referring to are the first two stone tablets the Ten Commandments were written on. Moses smashed them in anger when he saw how the Israelites had fallen into idolatry while he had been away receiving them from God. But the Lord wasn’t going to leave things like this. There was a reason He inscribed the Ten Commandments on stone. He wanted His people to have a visible and touchable representation of His Word and will to them. In some Bible translations, the word “testimony” is used to describe these tablets, because they “testified” or spoke concerning the things of God. Their presence made it impossible for the people to question or doubt what the Lord revealed and required of them.

So, the Lord tells Moses, after having broken His testimony to His people, to take two more tablets and to go through the entire process again—to once again climb to the top of Mount Sinai (whose summit is about 7,500 feet) where He would once more engrave His commandments in stone. This simultaneously reminds us of the Lord’s persistence and the importance of His words. The Israelites didn’t know what they’d encounter ahead, but God did. He knew they would encounter many trials, many temptations, and many traps in the wilderness. And He also knew how important the testimony of these two tablets would be to them. They would anchor their society, not just in the moral code they contained, but also in the assurance that God was real, His will was real, and He cared enough to communicate it to them.

As we consider the importance of God’s Word in our own lives, we live under a very similar principle. As we cast our eyes to the horizon, we don’t know all that lies beyond it. Most of the future remains a mysterious wilderness filled with trials, temptations, and traps. But our God knows all that we don’t know. He foresees everything we will encounter and He’s given us His Word to guide us on each step of our journey and to assure us in our relationship with Him. The Bible is not just a book, it’s a bond, a lifeline, and a cord that connects us to the One we call Father and to whom we belong for eternity.

We really can’t exaggerate the importance of God’s testimony to us. It’s something He always wants for His people, even as He commanded Moses to “take two.” Let’s always set aside its proper place in our hearts and look to it throughout our wilderness wanderings.

Pause: What does God’s command to Moses to “take two” reveal about Himself and His Word?

Practice: Spend time reflecting on how these truths should affect your life.

Pray: Father, thank You for Your testimony, Your Word. Help me to lean upon it and look to it for the duration of my sojourn here on the earth. Amen.