Exodus: Idols and Irons

Devotional

God's Hand in the Law

By Samantha Rodriguez

“Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.”—Exodus 32:15–16 (NIV)

I want you to think of an adventure movie you’ve seen, whether new or old, which has this one thing they all seem to have in common: The treasure being looked for involves a historical artifact that’s very important, authentic, and either crafted or beheld by a very important person. There’s something intriguing, capturing, and beautiful about a piece of authentic history that reminds us we’re a part of a bigger story.

When I read this chapter of the Bible, and specifically these verses, I think of how beautiful it is that our God quite literally wrote the law down with His very own hands for His people. He knew how important these commandments would be because He fashioned them for their good, so they may know how to live a good life. However, as we’ll see in the next few verses and throughout the rest of the Scriptures, the people fall short of these commands frequently, easily, and oftentimes ignorantly. We also fall short all the time! So, what is the purpose of these commands if we can’t possibly live up to them?

Well, in the Old Testament, they served a great purpose of guiding the Israelites by giving them tangible rules to follow as they embraced their identity as God’s chosen people surrounded by other nations who lived very different lifestyles than they did.

In the bigger picture; however, God knew this law would not justify His people and reconcile them to Himself because they wouldn’t be able to perfectly fulfill or obey it. Reconciliation had to come through someone else—a mediator; a Savior. When Jesus came, He claimed, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17 NIV). The Law often referred to in these instances means the Torah, which is what we know as the first five books of the Old Testament where much of the Law is located. Jesus fulfills this Law because He is the only human being to live a completely perfect life and yet still pay the price for sin: death. When He rose again three days later, He defeated sin and death so the law could act as what it was meant to be all along: a guide for us to live by in light of the grace and redemption Jesus already won for us!

So, thinking about this reference again, how beautiful is our God to have personally written the Law with His own hand and then personally send Himself, in God the Son, to fulfill that Law on our behalf? We truly serve a mighty and incomprehensible God, so let’s not forget His grace and sovereignty as we go about our day and continue reading through His Word.

Pause: Reflect on this question: How does this concept of the Law impact my faith today?

Practice: The 10 Commandments are summed up by Christ in this statement: Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30–31). Think about a practical way you can do either or both of these things today—and commit to doing it.

Pray: Father God, thank You so much for Your grace and intentionality. Your plan is so much better than anything a mere human being could have crafted. Your story is so much more beautiful and redemptive, and for that I am immensely grateful today and every day. May You be glorified and honored in the way I live my life today. I love You. Amen.