Exodus 34

* The tables of the law renewed. (1-4) The name of the Lord

proclaimed, The entreaty of Moses. (5-9) God's covenant. (10-17)

The festivals. (18-27) The vail of Moses. (28-35)

1-4 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 since the covenant then made with man was broken, the

Lord has used the ministry of men, both in writing the law in

the Scriptures, and in writing it in the heart. When God was

reconciled to the Israelites, he ordered the tables to be

renewed, and wrote his law in them. Even under the gospel of

peace by Christ, the moral law continues to bind believers.

Though Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, yet not

from the commands of it. The first and the best evidence of the

pardon of sin, and peace with God, is the writing the law in the

heart.
5-9 The Lord descended by some open token of his presence and

manifestation of his glory in a cloud, and thence proclaimed his

NAME; that is, the perfections and character which are denoted

by the name JEHOVAH. The Lord God is merciful; ready to forgive

the sinner, and to relieve the needy. Gracious; kind, and ready

to bestow undeserved benefits. Long-suffering; slow to anger,

giving time for repentance, only punishing when it is needful.

He is abundant in goodness and truth; even sinners receive the

riches of his bounty abundantly, though they abuse them. All he

reveals is infallible truth, all he promises is in faithfulness.

Keeping mercy for thousands; he continually shows mercy to

sinners, and has treasures, which cannot be exhausted, to the

end of time. Forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin; his

mercy and goodness reach to the full and free forgiveness of

sin. And will by no means clear the guilty; the holiness and

justice of God are part of his goodness and love towards all his

creatures. In Christ's sufferings, the Divine holiness and

justice are fully shown, and the evil of sin is made known.

God's forgiving mercy is always attended by his converting,

sanctifying grace. None are pardoned but those who repent and

forsake the allowed practice of every sin; nor shall any escape,

who abuse, neglect, or despise this great salvation. Moses bowed

down, and worshipped reverently. Every perfection in the name of

God, the believer may plead with Him for the forgiveness of his

sins, the making holy of his heart, and the enlargement of the

Redeemer's kingdom.
10-17 The Israelites are commanded to destroy every monument of

idolatry, however curious or costly; to refuse all alliance,

friendship, or marriage with idolaters, and all idolatrous

feasts; and they were reminded not with idolaters, and all

idolatrous feats; and they were reminded not to repeat the crime

of making molten images. Jealously is called the rage of a man,

#Pr 6:34|; but in God it is holy and just displeasure. Those

cannot worship God aright, who do not worship him only.
18-27 Once a week they must rest, even in ploughing time, and

in harvest. All worldly business must give way to that holy

rest; even harvest work will prosper the better, for the

religious observance of the sabbath day in harvest time. We must

show that we prefer our communion with God, and our duty to him,

before the business or the joy of harvest. Thrice a year they

must appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. Canaan was a

desirable land, and the neighbouring nations were greedy; yet

God says, They shall not desire it. Let us check all sinful

desires against God and his glory, in our hearts, and then trust

him to check all sinful desires in the hearts of others against

us. The way of duty is the way of safety. Those who venture for

him never lose by him. Three feasts are here mentioned: 1. The

Passover, in remembrance of the deliverance out of Egypt. 2. The

feast of weeks, or the feast of Pentecost; added to it is the

law of the first-fruits. 3. The feast of in-gathering, or the

feast of Tabernacles. Moses is to write these words, that the

people might know them better. We can never be enough thankful

to God for the written word. God would make a covenant with

Israel, in Moses as a mediator. Thus the covenant of grace is

made with believers through Christ.
28-35 Near and spiritual communion with God improves the graces

of a renewed and holy character. Serious godliness puts a lustre

upon a man's countenance, such as commands esteem and affection.

The vail which Moses put on, marked the obscurity of that

dispensation, compared with the gospel dispensation of the New

Testament. It was also an emblem of the natural vail on the

hearts of men respecting spiritual things. Also the vail that

was and is upon the nation of Israel, which can only be taken

away by the Spirit of the Lord showing to them Christ, as the

end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Fear and unbelief would put the vail before us, they would

hinder our free approach to the mercy-seat above. We should

spread our wants, temporal and spiritual, fully before our

heavenly Father; we should tell him our hinderances, struggles,

trails, and temptations; we should acknowledge our offences.
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