When Moses came down Mount Sinai, he brought with him the most valuable documents ever held in the hands of mankind. This was far more valuable than the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, or the text of Martin Luther King’s, “I have a Dream” speech. Moses held two stone tablets (Exodus 24:12) containing the Ten Commandments, “stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). “The two tablets of the testimony in his hands ... were inscribed on both sides—inscribed front and back. The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets” (Exodus 32:15–16). Imagine. God etched the Law into the granite. God’s finger miraculously carved God’s words into stone!
Sadly, and I think sinfully, “Moses became enraged and threw the tablets out of his hands, smashing them at the base of the mountain” (Exodus 32:19). Moses lost his temper, pitched a fit, got ticked off, came unhinged, flew off the handle, and hurled the stone tablets to the ground. Maybe we can excuse Moses for his righteous indignation. Or maybe we should just admit that Moses, our hero, lost his temper.
Obviously, God forgave him, because sometime later, “the Lord said to Moses, ‘cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke’ ” (Exodus 34:1). Obediently, “Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. He got up early in the morning, and taking the two stone tablets in his hand, he climbed Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him” (Exodus 34:4).
Like Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36), Moses entered the Lord’s glorious presence. The disciples heard God’s voice proclaim, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5). Moses heard God’s booming voice declare, “The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth” (Exodus 34:6). “Moses immediately knelt low on the ground and worshiped” (Exodus 34:8).
Today, we don’t have to climb a mountain. We can sit under the lamp at the end of the couch, or we can sit on a park bench under a shade tree. There, we can open God’s Word and hear the voice of God announce His glorious grace and mercy!
As Moses communed on the Mountain Top, God made a covenant, an agreement, a promise, a contract with Moses and the Hebrews. Read the text in Exodus 34:10-28. To summarize, God promised continued victory in exchange for obedience. “Observe what I command you today” and I will promise “to drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hethites, Perizzites, Hivites” and termites (Exodus 34:11).
When he had been in the Lord’s presence for forty days (Exodus 34:28), “Moses descended from Mount Sinai—with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands as he descended the mountain—he did not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord” (Exodus 34:29). Moses was transformed!
Ponder this... shouldn’t we be transformed when we hold the priceless Word of God in our hands and worship the True and Living God?