10And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or 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. 11“Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods. 17“You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal. 18“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed. 21“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. 23Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year. 25“You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. 26The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” 27And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. 29When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
When I was a kid in school, I just hated the “review” days. I was arrogant and probably not terribly kind about it either. My mind always said, “I heard this the first time. Why do we have to do this again?” Like I said – arrogant. There probably wasn’t another student in the room that needed the review more than I did. What we’re going to find for the next 5½ chapters is a review of the Covenant. Since the Children of Israel didn’t actually hear God the first time, as was evidenced by that golden calf incident, they clearly needed a review. And, as long as God had to rewrite the 10 Commandments anyway, it looked like a great time to review the Code.
The entire Old Testament can often appear to be a record that skips, repeating the same message over and over again; repent and turn back to God. But there’s a reason God has to continually remind us of what He has said: our memories are short. No wait, let me revise that. Our memories aren’t short for we most certainly remember what He said. What seems short is our willingness to be obedient. How quickly we decided to go our own way!
Discussion of this passage cannot skip over the last few verses. When Moses spent time with God his face actually shone with the glory of God. That is absolutely remarkable. It was so striking that the people were even troubled by it. They asked Moses to cover his face after spending time with God because they were unnerved by that glow. I’ve only met one person in my life for which that glow seemed almost visible to the naked eye. As soon as he began to speak you knew that you were hearing from someone who had only recently been with the Lord. It was a humbling experience to spend time with him and it happened every time I had a chance to be in his presence. I could only hope to be like that in my own life. That’s a mistake to “hope” for that. It would be possible because I too have the option of spending time (much time) with God in prayer and study of His Word. Apparently I don’t because I’m fairly certain people don’t say those kinds of things about me. So today we are reminded yet again to try out a little obedience in our lives. Perhaps if I spend even more time in the presence of our Holy God I might find that obedience ever easier.