Re-establishing Relationship


Series: Exodus

Passage: Exodus 34:1-35

Speaker: Jeff Thompson

When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai the second time, his face is glowing. In this study, we'll look at how we can radiate God's mercy, grace, patience, goodness, and truth to those around us.

Transcription (automatically-generated):

We've been watching Moses intercede for the nation of Israel following their catastrophic fall into sin at Mount Sinai, where they forsook the true and living God in favor of worshiping an idol of a golden calf.

In our last study, we got to listen in on the conversation between God and Moses. We saw Moses acting as a type a picture of Jesus serving as a mediator between God and man. At the end of that conversation, Moses asked the Lord to show him his glory. And incredibly, the Lord did just that, showing Moses as much of his unrestrained glory as possible, which involved allowing Moses to see his wake as one would see the wake left by a boat even after the boat has turned a corner and disappeared from view.

And so now we pick things up in Exodus, chapter 34, verse one, let's dove in. And the Lord said to Moses, cut to 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 top of the mountain. And no man shall come up with you and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain. Let neither flock's nor herds feed before that mountain.

So we cut to tablets of stone like the first ones. Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai as the Lord had commanded him, and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.

Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with them there and proclaimed the name of the Lord, and the Lord passed before him, and proclaimed the Lord the Lord, merciful and gracious in the Bible, names are significant because generally they reveal something of the character of the person God declares his name, literally Yahweh. Yahweh is how we think it was pronounced.

And then God speaks of his own character, explaining what your way means or part of what it means.

It means mercy not getting what we deserve, which is judgment, condemnation and eternity in hell. Yahweh means grace, receiving kindness that we don't deserve in the form of forgiveness, blessings, adoption into the family of God and eternity in heaven. God tells Moses my name.

Yahweh speaks of my mercy and it speaks of my grace. It also means long suffering. We would say patient.

Aren't you glad that one of our gods defining characteristics is patience, ma'am? Bless God for his patience with you and me.

One of the wonderful reassurances that Israel's story provides for us today is that we serve a God who keeps his promises and is incredibly patient.

And I'm so thankful for that reassurance. And then the Lord says his name also means that he's abounding in goodness and truth, abounding in goodness and truth.

So think of a fire hydrant that's just gushing out water. That's the way goodness and truth flow from our God.

There's an infinite supply of goodness and truth, and it's just constantly flowing from him, pouring out of him.

I want to pause here and ask you a question that I don't want anybody to ask me.

Do the people the Lord has placed in your life regularly experience God's mercy, grace, patience, goodness and truth through you? That's a painful question, isn't it? Do the people the Lord has placed in your life regularly experience God's mercy, grace, patience, goodness and truth through you?

And what are we supposed to do if we find ourselves trying to exemplify those Christlike qualities, but it's like we're trying to draw water from a well that's dry.

I want to share with you a truth of the Christian life that is absolutely essential. It is foundational. This does not mean that it is only for those of you who are young in the Lord. Those of us who've been walking with the Lord for decades are still incredibly able to forget this truth with ease, myself included.

Here's the truth I'm talking about. It's the first fill in on your outline.

We can only love like the Lord loves if we're constantly experiencing the Lord's love. I'll say it again. We can only love like the Lord loves if we are constantly experiencing the Lord's love.

Because if we're not. Then we are indeed trying to draw water from a well that is dry and I hope you know this, the Lord doesn't ask us.

To give or pour out from a place of emptiness, now, let's be honest, we often try we often try to give from a place of emptiness, but that emptiness is never because the Lord is withholding anything from us.

It's because we haven't returned to him to be filled up again.

The Lord's invitation is always to first experiences goodness be filled with it before letting it flow out of you.

You see, that's the issue.

We do not intrinsically have the love of the Lord in us to pour out to other people. We can't produce it within ourselves.

The love of the Lord can only be found in one place and we can only be filled up with it again in one place.

The presence of the Lord, the presence of the Lord. And this is why we need to experience God's presence every single day. This is why we need to connect with the Lord throughout the day. And this is why our brother Paul exhorted us to pray without ceasing.

Because as we go through our day, God's love and mercy, goodness and grace are meant to be flowing out from us, meaning that we need to be filled up again over and over and over again. And I believe that's what Paul is talking about when he says pray without ceasing. He was just constantly talking to the Lord throughout the day, going into conversations, coming out of conversations, in and out of meetings and interactions with people, because he had this awareness that he needed to be filled up over and over and over again because he was constantly pouring out God's love to others whenever you feel like you're running low.

On some Christlike quality, the answer is to come into the presence of God and experience it for yourself again. So when he that's Jesus had washed their feet. Taking his garments and sat down again, he said to them, Do you know what I've done for you?

You call me teacher and Lord and you say, well, for so I am. If I then your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly I say to you a servant is not greater than his master. Nor is he who was sent greater than he who was sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you, if you do them.

Jesus didn't just say serve people. He himself served people and he himself served us, and then he said, now you know what it feels like, what it looks like to be served. So now go and do that for other people.

One, John for 19 tells us simply, we love because he first loved us. Jesus didn't just command us to love people. He loved us first, exorbitantly, extravagantly and ridiculously. Jesus calls us to love others out of our own experience of being loved by him in Ephesians.

Four thirty to Paul commands be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

We're not supposed to stir up forgiveness within ourselves.

We're to draw on our own experience and encounters with God's forgiveness toward us. And then we are to forgive out of that, out of our own experience of being filled with God's forgiveness. Being inundated with it were to pour out forgiveness from that place. This is one of the primary reasons for communion.

When we take communion, we are brought face to face once again with the cross of Calvary, face to face, with God's mercy, God's grace and God's kindness.

And we're invited through communion to soak in God's goodness, to meditate on his grace, to be transformed once again by his mercy, and to be filled up again so that we can release it to others by having it flow through us.

And as we reflect on the cross, we experience the benefits of Jesus laying down his life for us.

And from that place we respond to his call to lay down our own lives, to love him and love others. You can try to give from a place of emptiness. But it never works real well, and it's not what the Lord is asking you to do.

Jesus said, come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn for me, for I am gentle and lovely and heart and you'll find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light, says the Lord. If I'm not experiencing the kind of rest that the Lord speaks of, perhaps it's because I'm ignoring the part where he says, Come to me.

Come to me. And I'm trying to draw water from a well that is dry. Verse 8 seven is a reiteration of Exodus 25 through six, so you can go back and listen to that study, if you want that explanation, let's skip down to Verse 8. So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. That's always the right response to a revelation of God. Why do we worship after the message at our church services as well as before?

Because we want to do this. We want to respond in worship to the revelation of God that we've received through his word. It's always right to follow revelation with worship.

Verse nine. Then he that's Moses said, If now I have found Grace in your sight. Oh Lord, let my Lord I pray go among us. Even though we are a stiff necked people, a stubborn people and pardon our iniquity in our sin and take us as your inheritance.

If I were you, I have it in my Bible, I would underline all of verse nine because there's something here I really want us to notice and see. It's your next fill. Honesty, confession and repentance release God's grace.

Honesty, confession and repentance release God's grace, Moses's appeal to God is never listen, Lord, you're overreacting. We aren't that bad. Our sin isn't that big of a deal. We're still better than most of the other pagan cultures around us.

No. Most Gas is appeal is always. Lourdes, you're right. We are stubborn. We are sinful, we do mess up all the time, but we're your people and we're sorry. Please forgive us and show us mercy and grace anyway. The word declares, God resists the proud. But gives grace to the humble.

Honesty, confession and repentance release God's grace, and if you haven't noticed, that rule is generally true for human relationships, too.

We still see offenders even found guilty or innocent based on whether they show contrition.

We see sentences adjusted based on whether the offender shows contrition.

Why? Because we're made in the image of God, there's just something in us that responds to contrition and honesty, confession and repentance tend to release and activate grace even in us.

Why do you think Satan is constantly working in culture to inflate our view of our own importance? Why do you think our culture is constantly telling us that we need to view ourselves as mini gods for all intents and purposes?

Why do you think our culture is so obsessed with concepts like self-love and puffing up our self-image?

It's because my first step towards salvation. Is the recognition that I'm a sinner and I need a savior. I'm broken and I cannot heal myself, and the more you and I buy into the culture's message of self-importance, the more difficult we find it to accept that first step toward Calvary. That we are indeed broken sinners in need of a savior. The Christian self-worth comes from the Lord, we're not valuable because we're so amazing, we're valuable because the Lord has loved us and placed the value of his own life on our lives.

The Lord assign that value to us. What are you worth? More than you could possibly imagine. More than you could possibly imagine. Because you're so incredible and perfect and powerful and amazing, no, no. Because Jesus has made you beautiful and God has assigned infinite value to your life, what's so incredible is that through Jesus we can know and understand that our value is priceless.

And yet we also still at the same time have to stay humble because the value assigned to us is a gift of God. It's entirely God's doing, and it's all the grace of God. It's not based on anything we've done.

We don't have to do anything to maintain it. Our value is not determined by what we do. Our value is determined by how much God loves us, and he's loved us with his own life.

So it's a wonderful, wonderful thing to be a Christian because you know that your life is priceless.

But at the same time, you have no choice but to remain humble about that because your life is only priceless because of what God has done for you. It's a wonderful thing.

And if you need a touch of God's grace today, let me invite you to come before the Lord in brokenness and humility and just share your struggles with him honestly, because honesty, confession and repentance release God's grace toward us.

I share this verse often and I will keep sharing it as long as I live, at least until every single one of us has has it memorized.

Hebrews four declares, We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We can come boldly before the throne of God because it's a throne of grace. Verse 8 10, and he the Lord said. Behold, I make a covenant before all your people, I will do marvels that just means wonderful acts such as have not been done in all the Earth nor in any nation.

And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. That's a high bar.

When you consider what God has already done in getting Israel out of Egypt. They've already seen the plagues. The Red Sea parted the glory of God at Mount Sinai and God says I'm going to do even more for you.

What's he talking about? Well, primarily. The land of Canaan, which he would give Israel in the future, the promised land, Israel's conquest of that land would indeed be miraculous.

And you can read all about it in the book of Joshua. You have to love a God who says, yes, you are a stubborn, rebellious and foolish people.

You sabotage yourselves repeatedly. But guess what?

I'm going to come and dwell among you anyway. I'm going to show you Grace anyway. I'm going to be kind and merciful towards you any way you and your people are going to see me move and work and do awesome things among you. I wonder how many of us can testify from personal experience that, yes, that is indeed what the Lord is like, that is who he is, that is what he does. And we've seen him do it in our own lives.

Verse 8 11. Observe what I command you this day.

Behold, I am driving out from before you the animal rights in the Canaanites and the Hittite and the parasite and the divide and the GEB. You say God will now reiterate commands.

He's already previously shared with Israel, but he will speak now with even greater intent, tenacity and urgency in light of their recent failure and the golden calf incident of Exodus 32.

And because I believe these are the things that will hinder Israel from experiencing God's blessings and presence.

You know, the sun is massive, it's massive, it is infinitely more powerful than any man, it is overwhelmingly bright, and yet I can block out the sun.

With my thumb. I can hold up my hand and make the sun. Disappear. I can let my flesh come between me and the sun and then find myself saying, who wears the sun?

Oh, it's gone, I'm not experiencing it. The sun isn't there. The sun has left me.

But guess what? If I just get my flesh out of the way. Suddenly the sun would be back, nor did the sun ever leave. Of course not. I just allowed my flesh to get in the way and stop me from experiencing the sun. If I choose to, I can block out all the sun's light. The sun's warmth, its life giving power, and then things get very, very dark in my life, not because the sun has disappeared, but because I chose to block it out.

That's why our brother Paul said the grace of God means that I'm free and I'm saved no matter what I choose to do, no matter what decisions I make. But not everything I could choose to do is good for me. Not everything I could choose to do allows me to experience the benefits of the sun. And so Paul said, I want to choose and do the things that will enable me to experience as much of God's presence, goodness and blessings as possible.

I can make whatever choice I want. I'm still saved. God loves me. But listen, not every choice I can make is good for me. And I want to make choices that are good for me.

Do you want to experience God's blessings in God's presence or pay attention? Listen up. These are the things that will cause your flesh, your sin to get in the way and block out the experience of God's presence in your life.

Verse 8 12. God says take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you're going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars and cut down their wooden images.

Those wooden images were phallic symbols related to the fertility rights of the Canaanites.

God tells Moses that a surefire way to block out his presence is to assimilate into the world, into the culture around you. In other words, to view yourself as part of this world to such a degree that you not only accept the practices of the culture, but you incorporate them into your own life.

You watch what the culture watches, you listen to what the culture listens to, you live like the culture lives.

You view relationships and sexuality as the culture views, relationships and sexuality. And what's the inevitable result? Will you adopt the values of the culture rather than the values of God? And what else does the word say about this, I just want to read you some quick fire lines from Scripture to help us understand how consistent and how serious the Bible is about this issue.

These are all in your outlines. You can find the references on there.

I'm just going to read them without the scripture references. The word says, do not be conformed to this world. Do not love the world or the things in the world. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the Earth. Adulterers and adulteresses. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Our citizenship is in heaven. Beloved, I beg you, this is who you are as Sojourners and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

And Jesus said, enter by the narrow gate for why it is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it. God says that the things of this world, the things of the culture which are contrary to God's word and will are to be destroyed in our lives and in our families.

We're not to make peace with them or compromise with them, we are to destroy them in our lives and our families, there's no place for them in our lives. We are to do everything we can to remove even the option of sitting with them. I can't stop looking at pornography, Jeff, I've tried everything really. Have you tried putting accountability software on your devices? Have you tried making your wife your accountability partner? Have you tried not having a computer?

Have you tried switching to an old school flip phone that doesn't even have an Internet browser?

That's the kind of attitude God wants us to have towards sin in our lives. Write this down. God expects his people to war against sin in their own lives, to war against sin in their own lives, to do whatever it takes. We covered Verse 8 14 when we went through Exodus 20, Verse is four through six, so let's pick it up at verse 15.

God says, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice and you take of his daughters for your sons and his daughters, play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.

What happens when you become friends with the world, when you embrace the culture? Or first you begin to embrace the values of the culture and then inevitably. You begin to embrace the gods of the culture, and before you know it, you're a Christian by name, but you're just worshiping the same gods as the culture.

When you look at your life, you suddenly find that you're worshiping money just like the culture your whole life is about that new vehicle, that new house, that next vacation, or suddenly you're worshiping your kids more than you worship God or you're worshiping sex or you worshiping a relationship, you're worshiping the same gods as the culture. First you begin to embrace the values of the culture and then inevitably. You begin to embrace and serve the gods of the culture, that's why God says there's no room for this, there's no room for this in the lives of my people.

Verse 8 17, you shall make no molded gods for yourselves.

If that sounds a little specific, it's because Exodus 32 told us that the idol the Israelites worshiped was a, quote, molded calf.

This is, of course, still a wildly popular type of God, the kind that can be molded, the kind of false God that you get to make in whatever form you desire, with whatever values you want. If you can't find an established God that lines up with what your flesh wants, you can just make your own.

You can just mold your own God.

Or like many churches and Christians these days, you can make a molded false God and call them Jesus and mold this Jesus into a God of your own making.

Israel tried to make your way into a god of their own making, what happened, God wasn't having it. And he was crystal clear that just because they made this idol and referred to it as your way, just because you create a God and give them the title Jesus. Does not make them yours. It does not make them Jesus, God says that was not me you were worshiping.

We've talked before about the folly of claiming that you serve a God who just happens to perfectly mirror the current values of the culture.

If you're worshiping a God who perfectly mirrors the current values of the culture, who mirrors the values that you believe God should have, you are an absolute fool.

If you cannot figure out, if you cannot put two and two together and deduce that you've simply created and invented a God to reinforce your own views and opinions, you're projecting yourself onto God. You're lying to yourself. You're willfully deceiving yourself. In our home group, a couple of weeks ago, we were discussing times when the Lord has spoken to us with real clarity. It was just a wonderful conversation.

And the question came up, how do you know if it's God who's speaking to you and not just last night's pizza? That's a good question, right? The consensus was that the biggest indicator is that when God speaks to me, it doesn't sound like my own thoughts.

The things God says, the things the voice of God calls me to do are far more gracious and humble and servant hearted and often much more difficult than any thought.

I would have any scenario I would dream up, anything I would choose to do, because as the word says, his thoughts are not my thoughts and his ways are not my ways.

But if your God is simply reinforcing everything you believe, everything you'd like to do, every choice you want to make, then you might as well bow down in front of a mirror. Because that's the God that you're worshiping. And by the way, you can look in the mirror to find out exactly how powerful your God is to there, exactly as powerful as you. Because they are you. Do not be a fool and deceive yourself and think that a God of your own invention.

Is is foolishness. Verse is, 18 through 20 were covered back in Exodus 13, Verse is 11 through 13 and Verse is 20 through 26 hours, a reiteration of Exodus 23, verse is 14 through 19. So we're going to skip down to 27. Then the Lord said to Moses, write these words for according to the tenor of these words, I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. So he was there. Moses was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights.

And he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments. These are the second set of tablets with the Ten Commandments upon them.

The first set, you'll recall, were smashed by Moses in righteous anger and rich symbolism when he descended from Mount Sinai and found the nation of Israel engaging in pagan worship rituals around the idol of the Golden Calf Verse 8 29.

Now, it was so when Moses came down from Mount Sinai and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses hand when he came down from the mountain that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him, while he talked with God.

You know, going 40 days without food or water does not usually improve the outward appearance of a man, especially when that man is 80 years old.

And yet we're told that while Moses was speaking with God up on Mt. Sinai, somehow God's glory had a physical effect on Moses and left the skin of his face glowing, sort of like a supernatural suntan or should I say son, S.A.M. tan.

Your move, B.J., if you're not aware when it comes to bad puns and dad jokes, BJ and I are constantly lowering the bar.

Anyway, Moses comes down Mount Sinai with the two new tablets, his face glowing and he doesn't even know it. Verse 30. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses behold, the skin of his face shone and they were afraid to come near him. Then Moses called them and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. I think with me in typology, Moses being a type of Jesus, a picture of Jesus.

What do you think that this scene speaks of prophetically?

Moses going up the mountain and coming down his face, glowing. What do you think the speaks of in typology? It's the transfiguration of Jesus.

And I put the references on your outline. You can look them up later. When Jesus went up on the mount and was transfigured, transformed into his glorious state before Peter, James and John.

There's huge typology going on their verse 32 afterword. All the children of Israel came near and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

Have you ever noticed that people have an easier time receiving instructions or commands when there's a glow on your face as opposed to a glare on your face? And I find this truth extremely problematic, as I tend to have a resting face position that has been described using a term that I cannot repeat in church.

The people listen to Moses because they could see that Moses had been with the Lord.

They knew that the things Moses was sharing with them were coming out of his time in fellowship with the Lord.

That's a good model for us, husbands for you, wives for you, moms and dads, and I don't want to spend too much more time on that because I think I would only be further incriminating myself.

But I urge you to meditate on that truth some more.

This week, Verse 8 33. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with them, he would take the veil off until he came out and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel, whatever he had been commanded by the Lord. Why did Moses cover his face with a veil?

I've heard lots of theories, and I would just say with any of these theories, you have to make sure that it's consistent with the character of Moses that we've seen in the Book of Exodus. And I've heard some theories that are absolutely ridiculous because it's not in line with the character of Moses. So why does he covers face with a veil? I'm guessing it's real simple. I think it's because he didn't like having people stare at his face all the time.

People are weird, you know, and it would only have been a matter of time until sick people started saying, can I just touch your face? I know that I'll be healed. Can I touch your magic face, Moses?

Listen, Moses had to lead Israel. He had to have meetings almost every day and delegated authority to people. And he probably got really tired of people saying, oh, what?

I'm sorry, I wasn't listening. I was too busy staring at your magic glowing face. Moses, what what did you say? He's probably got tired of that.

And so he covered up his face so that he wouldn't be some sort of religious relic, you know, like Catholics go and try to find these statues of Weeping Mary or something like that. Moses didn't want people to start making pilgrimages around his tent to just see his glowing face because he wanted their attention to be on the Lord.

But on a more serious note, the glow God placed upon Moses, his face did serve as evidence, did serve as an indicator of a few really important things.

Firstly, as we mentioned, it proved that Moses had been in the presence of the Lord, the true and living God, Yahweh, meaning that Israel could be confident that Moses was indeed serving as their mediator with the Lord.

It also testified that Israel was still favored by God. He was indeed still with them and among them and speaking to them through Moses.

Lastly, God's presence among Israel needed to be reestablished before the Tabernacle could be built, which is documented in Exodus as Exodus chapters 35 through 40.

Because what would be the point in going ahead and constructing and building the tabernacle if God wasn't even going to show up an inhabitant?

The glow on Moses's face meant nothing ultimately had changed. God is faithful, God is merciful, God is good, God is gracious, he keeps his promises and his covenant with Israel is still intact. Last verse, and whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses that the skin of Moses, his face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again until he went in to speak with him next week.

We are definitely most likely, very much probably going to finish the Book of Exodus.

In closing, let me say this, whoever you are, however you're doing. You need to be filled up again with God's mercy, grace, patience, goodness and truth so that it can flow out of you to others so that you're not trying to draw water from a dry well.

Secondly, honesty, confession and repentance release God's grace. So if you're in bondage to sin, if you're feeling overwhelmed by guilt and shame, come before the Lord and honesty.

Confess your sin and your failures. Repent and you will find a gracious God waiting to meet with you and help you.

You'll find a healer for the soul and a lifter of burdens. And lastly, if there's sin in your life that needs to be dealt with with a real action step.

Do it if you need to take action. Do it if there's an ever present option in your life to deal with it. Deal with it. With those things in mind, would you buy your head and close your eyes? Let's pray together. Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for your wisdom. And thank you for your character that you're a God is merciful and gracious, a God who's patient, a God who is good, and a God who is the definition of truth.

And so, Father, I ask right now in Jesus name that you would just fill us up with all of those things again as we come before your throne of grace. Phyllis, applaud and help us to return over and over again, not only daily, but throughout the day to be filled with your spirit that it might be poured out of us, flow out of us, Lord, coming in from your spirit and then flowing out to others. Lord.

Help us not to try and draw water from a dry well, but to be filled over and over and over again in Jesus name and Lord, if there's a sin that we need to confront, would you just reveal it right now?

Would you just bring it to our attention, Lord, that we might be obedient and deal with it? Jesus, we love you, Lord. We're so thankful for you. It's in your precious name. We pray. Amen.

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