DHW Lesson 24 Exodus 33-34 - Sydney Bible Presbyterian

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CALVARY PANDAN BIBLEPRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
[Adapted from Bethel Bible-Presbyterian
Church, 10 Downing St. Oakleigh, Vic.,
3166]
DHW BIBLE CLASS
LESSON 24
THE BOOK OF EXODUS
CHAPTERS 33 & 34
INTRODUCTION
The children of Israel had sinned a
great sin against God. Moses had
interceded in behalf of the people. It
moved God with compassion and
renounced His intention to destroy the
people. God cancelled the punitive
action because of His oath He made
with the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
However, God would plague the people
because they made the calf (32:35).
These two chapters reveal more of the
nature and character of God, which
should encourage every believer. If we
sin and repent of our sins, God is
merciful and gracious to forgive us.
While our sins are forgiven, we must
bear the consequences of our sinful
actions.
God removed His presence from
among them. That was the result of their
sin. However God reiterated His
covenant promise. Moreover, God
repeated some of His instructions to
them so that they would remember and
obey, and not incur the wrath of God.
God honoured His servant Moses in the
eyes of the people so that they would
listen to Him. Moses served as their
mediator between God and them.
OUTLINE
A. The Children of Israel Forfeited
Their Privilege of God’s Presence
by Their Sin (33:1-11).
1. The punishment of the children
of Israel for their sin (33:1-3).
a. The LORD reaffirmed His
promises to Israel (v.1).
b. The LORD would send an
angel to go before them and
possess the Promised Land
(v.2).
c. The LORD would not be in
their midst because of their
sin (v.3).
2. The children of Israel repented
and promised to reform (33:4-6).
a. The people expressed their
sorrow and repented (v.4).
b. The LORD charged them for
being a “stiff-necked “
people (v.5).
c. The people stripped off their
ornaments as an expression
of repentance (v. 6).
3. Moses erected a “tabernacle of
the congregation” outside the
camp (vv.7-11).
a. Moses erected a temporary
tent of meeting outside the
camp for those who would
seek the LORD (v.7).
b. The LORD honoured Moses
each time he went to the
tent of meeting (vv.8-11).
B. Moses Prayed and Petitioned the
LORD (33:12-23).
1. Moses needed the LORD’S
assurance to lead him (vv.1214).
2. Moses requested the LORD’S
confirmation to be with him
(vv.15-17).
3. Moses asked to see the glory of
God (vv.18-23).
DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
C. The LORD Made a Second Tables
of the Law (34:1-4).
1. The LORD commanded Moses
to hew for himself two tables of
stone like the first ones (vv.1-2).
2. The LORD instructed Moses to
bring the two tables of stone up
to the mount (v.3).
3. Moses obeyed (v.4).
D. Moses’ Intercession and the
Renewal of the Covenant (34:528).
1. The LORD appeared to Moses
(vv.5-9).
a. The LORD descended in the
cloud and stood with Moses
on the top of the mount
(v.5).
b. The LORD passed by Moses
(vv.6, 7).
c. Moses quickly bowed and
worshipped the LORD (v.8).
d. Moses interceded in behalf
of the children of Israel (v.9).
2. The LORD reaffirmed the
covenant, which He had made
with them (vv.10-28).
a. The LORD reaffirmed His
covenant He made with
Israel (vv.10, 11).
b. The LORD warned Israel to
keep His commandments
(vv.12-17).
 Make no covenant with
the inhabitants of the
land (v.12).
 Destroy their altars and
idols (v.13).
 Worship no other gods
but the LORD, whose
name is “Jealous” (v.14).
 Eat not their sacrifices
(v.15).
2

No intermarriage with
the Canaanite daughters
or sons (v.16).
 Make no molten gods
(v.17).
c. The LORD reminded Israel
to keep the feasts and
Sabbaths (vv.18-28).
 Keep the feast of
unleavened
bread
(v.18).
 Consecrate the first fruit
of everything to God
(v.19).
 Redeem the firstling of
an ass with a lamb
(v.20).
 Remember to keep the
Sabbath (v. 21).
 Observe the feast of
weeks and the feast of
ingathering (v.22).
 Three times annually all
their man folks were
required
to
appear
before God (vv.23-26).
 Moses commanded to
write the Words of the
LORD (vv.27, 28).
E. Moses’ Face and Skin Shone
(34:29-35).
1. Moses came down and returned
to the camp and his face shone
(vv. 29, 30).
2. Moses assembled the children of
Israel and told them all the
words of the LORD (vv.31-33).
3. Moses covered his face with a
veil whenever he spoke to the
people (vv.34-35).
DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
COMMENTARY
Divine Presence Withdrawn
The LORD instructed Moses to lead
the people whom he had brought out of
Egypt into the land God had sworn that
He would give to Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. God clearly showed that He
never breaks His covenant promise that
He made with the patriarchs. The
faithfulness of God is unquestionable
and His promises irrevocable.
The LORD also told Moses that He
would send “an angel” before them. This
change is significant when we compare
it with the Angel who bore His name
whom God earlier mentioned (23:20,
21). God would drive the Canaanites out
of the land.
However, the LORD
mentioned that He would be absent in
the midst of them (33:3). It was an act of
mercy for they were a “stiff-necked”
people. The withdrawal of God's
presence was a preventive measure
from utter destruction should they
commit another sin similar to the making
of a calf.
Repentance and Humiliation
When the people heard the
judgement of God, they mourned and
stripped off the ornaments or jewellery.
This is a clear indication of their inward
humiliation and repentance for their sin,
and also their deep sense of God’s
displeasure. The people should always
maintain this spirit of humility and
obedience so that the LORD would
know how to deal with them (33:5b).
In accordance with God not being in
their midst, Moses removed the
tabernacle far away from the camp. This
tabernacle was not the great tabernacle,
which had not been erected yet. This
was a temporal tent of meeting until the
great tabernacle was built. However,
anyone who would seek the LORD
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could go out to the tabernacle of the
congregation. Once again, God showed
them that He had not entirely forsaken
them. They could still go out to the
tabernacle outside the camp to seek the
LORD for counsel and direction.
Moses' Special Position
As Moses entered into the
tabernacle, the pillar of cloud stood at
the entrance of the tabernacle indicating
God's presence with Moses. God
showed His special approval of Moses
before the people. The children of Israel
saw the pillar of cloud standing at the
door
of
the
tabernacle.
They
spontaneously stood up and worshipped
God at the door of their own tent.
Moses’ special status was further
vindicated by the fact that the LORD
spoke to him face to face or mouth to
mouth (Numbers 12:8). This does not
mean that God has a face and a mouth.
These are figurative expressions. They
mean that Moses had a unique position
as a spokesman of the LORD who
spoke to him personally, directly and
freely. The LORD conversed with Moses
not through an intermediary, dreams or
visions.
Dialogue with God
This section relates Moses’ dialogue
with the LORD. Observe the openness
and frankness with which Moses spoke
to the LORD. Now Moses asked God
concerning the angel He had sent to
guide them to the Promised Land—who
he was and whether he had the name of
the LORD in him. Moses reasoned that
if God “called him by name”—treated
him close, special and unique—he
entreated God to show him His way so
that he might know Him (33:13). Moses
was asking to know about God’s
character and the ways He was dealing
with him and the children of Israel. The
DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
LORD answered that His presence
would be with Moses. This was evident
by the pillar of cloud, which stood at the
door of the tabernacle when Moses
entered it (33:9-10). The LORD also
mentioned that He would give Moses
rest. Moses was indeed under great
stress and strain in leading a stiffnecked people. The LORD promised
that He would lighten his burden. God’s
special grace and presence with the
children of Israel would be the only
evidence that they were God’s special
and chosen people.
Moses asked to see the glory of
God (33:18). The glory of God is God’s
essential character. God’s goodness is
singled out here. The name of the
LORD (YAHWEH) would be proclaimed
as His glory passed Moses. This
request was granted based solely on
God's sovereign will—“will be gracious
to whom I will be gracious, and will show
mercy on whom I will show mercy”
(33:19). The mention of “my hand”, “my
back”
and
“my
face”
are
anthropomorphic expressions. Moses
could only get a glimpse of God. God’s
ultimate or complete Being is a mystery.
The Covenant Renewed
Moses had shattered the original
tablets. God told Moses to get ready two
tablets like the first ones and bring them
up to the mountain in the morning. God
would write the words, which He wrote
in the first tablets. Moses was to go up
alone. The people were strictly
forbidden to come near to the mountain,
not even the beasts lest they would be
destroyed (34:3). Moses did accordingly
and went up to the top of the mountain.
The LORD came down to the top of
the mountain in the pillar of cloud. God
granted Moses’ two earlier requests:
that he might know the ways of the
LORD, and that he might behold His
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presence (33:13). The LORD God
passed before Moses. God revealed
that He is merciful and gracious,
longsuffering and abundant in goodness
and truth. He will ever forgive sins but
that does not mean that sinners will not
be
punished
(34:5-7).
Moses
immediately responded with great
humility and bowed his head to the
ground and worshipped the LORD.
Moreover, he interceded on behalf of
the children of Israel. He acknowledged
that the children were stiff-necked as
God had charged them, and pleaded for
God’s forgiveness on them for their sin,
and to take them as His inheritance
(34:8, 9).
The LORD answered that He would
make a covenant with them and would
perform marvellous works before all the
other nations. He would drive the
Canaanites out of the Land. The
renewal of the covenant required that
the
people
obeyed
God’s
commandments.
The
list
of
commandments was not exhaustive.
They were but some of those already
declared earlier (Exodus 21-23). The
LORD warned them that they should not
make any covenant or agreement with
the inhabitants of the land. They must
destroy their altars, idols and grooves
(sacred trees or poles). The Israelites
must worship no other god except the
LORD their God. God revealed that He
is Jealous. By making a covenant with
the inhabitants of the land, they might
go “a whoring” after their gods, sacrifice
to their gods and even eat their
sacrifices—to worship the other gods is
to commit spiritual adultery against God!
They must make no “molten gods”, a
reminder of what they had done by
making a molten golden calf.
God singled out three festivals,
which the children of Israel must not
DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
forget to observe. These were: (1) the
Feast of Unleavened Bread; (2) the
Feast of Weeks or the First Fruits of
Wheat Harvest; and (3) the Feast of the
Ingathering or later known as the Feast
of the Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34).
The LORD reminded them that the
firstborn male of man and cattle and
sheep belonged to God. The firstling of
the ass must be redeemed with a lamb
or else the ass had to be killed by
breaking its neck (34:20). In worshipping
the LORD, they must not appear before
God empty handed. The appropriate
offering was the male firstborn of their
cattle and sheep. They were also
reminded to keep the Sabbath, even
during harvest time.
Concerning the three feasts, all the
men were to gather before the LORD
God corporately. They must leave their
fields even during harvest time and
present themselves before the LORD to
worship Him. This was a test of their
faith. If they put God first by not working
in the fields and gathered themselves
together to worship God, the LORD
would take care and protect their land
from any kind of claims. This reminds us
of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Seek first the kingdom of God and all
needy things will be met and more
(Matthew 6:33). Some might not obey
for fear that their crops might be stolen
and their land encroached by others. If
they obeyed God, God could be trusted
to protect their possessions.
Reflecting God’s Glory
Moses had been with God for quite
a while, forty days and nights. The effect
of God’s glory upon Moses was
unmistakable. When Moses went back
down to the camp of the Israelites his
face shone to the extent that even
Aaron and all the children of Israel were
afraid to come near him (34:30). Moses
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called them and they came near to him.
Moses told them all that the LORD had
spoken to him in Mount Sinai. The
spiritual thrust here is clear. Any
Christian who walks close to God all the
time will eventually shine with the love
and character of God; the fruit of the
Spirit; and with the likeness of Christ.
People all around will be able to see it.
SUMMARY
God revealed that He is gracious
and merciful. He is ever forgiving. But
that does not mean that His children can
habitually sin. Christians do sin. While
God will forgive when we repent and
seek His forgiveness, we will not be
delivered from the consequences of our
sin. We learn too that it is a serious
matter to break God’s commandments.
If not for our Intercessor, the Lord Jesus
Christ, we would already be consumed
by God. Take heed lest we sin against
God.
Much is mentioned here about
Moses. We simply cannot overlook the
fact that Moses cared more for his
people than for himself. In his
encounters with God, he always prayed
and pleaded for the children of Israel.
Every Christian should emulate Moses.
A third lesson we learn is the
specific instructions that God repeated
and emphasised to the Israelites. They
fall into three areas of our life. We must
be very careful that we do not fall into
spiritual apostasy or idolatry. Any thing
or any one that we prize or love more
than God is idolatry and it incurs the
wrath of God. Beware of idols. When
appearing before God each Lord’s Day
and special days of worship, we are
obligated not to present ourselves
before the LORD empty handed. We all
readily agree that all that we are and
have belongs to God. So be generous in
DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
giving to the LORD for the maintenance
of the church and the advancement of
His kingdom. Finally, the LORD is
faithful and worthy of our trust. If there is
need to make some sacrifices in order
to obey His commandments or meet our
spiritual obligations unto God, we can
and must trust Him. When we humble
ourselves and honour Him as Moses
did, God will honour us.
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DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
Bethel Bible-Presbyterian Church
DHW Bible Class
7
2. What did the children of Israel have
to do? What is the significance?
LESSON 24
THE BOOK OF EXODUS
Chapters 33 & 34
DAILY READINGS & DISCUSSION
QUESTIONS
DAILY READINGS
Monday: Exodus 33:1-12; Psalm 103:118.
Tuesday: Exodus 33:13-23; Hebrews
4:11-16
Wednesday: Exodus 34:1-9; James
4:5-10
Thursday: Exodus 34:10-27; Jeremiah
32:36-44
Friday: Exodus 34:28-35; 2 Corinthians
3:3-18; John 14:8-14; Hebrews 1: 1-4
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. In spite of Israel’s sin against God,
what did God say to Moses? What
does it tell us about God?
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3. How
would you describe the
relationship between Moses and the
LORD?
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4. What spiritual wisdom and maturity
on the part of Moses is revealed in
his petition to the LORD?
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5. What does God indicate about His
character and nature in His answer
to Moses?
DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
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6. In the proclamation of His Name,
what did God reveal about His
essential nature?
Can you
summarise them in two words?
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7. List out the ten instructions God
gave to the children of Israel.
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10) ……………………………………
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8. Why do you think God repeated only
these instructions which He had
previously given to them?
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9. What happened to Moses after
seeing God’s glory? Why?
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3)
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5)
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8)
9)
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10. How can we be like Moses who
desired to see God’s glory and be
transformed?
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DHW LESSON 24 EXODUS 33-34
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