The Second Set
1One day the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two flat stones like the first ones I made, and I will write on them the same commandments that were on the two you broke. 2Be ready tomorrow morning to come up Mount Sinai and meet me at the top. 3No one is to come with you or to be on the mountain at all. Don't even let the sheep and cattle graze at the foot of the mountain.” 4So Moses cut two flat stones like the first ones, and early the next morning he carried them to the top of Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded.
5The Lord God came down in a cloud and stood beside Moses there on the mountain. God spoke his holy name, “the Lord.” 6 Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, “I am the Lord God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. 7I keep my promises to my people forever, but I also punish anyone who sins. When people sin, I punish them and their children, and also their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
8Moses quickly bowed down to the ground and worshiped the Lord. 9He prayed, “Lord, if you really are pleased with me, I pray that you will go with us. It is true that these people are sinful and rebellious, but forgive our sin and let us be your people.”
A Promise and Its Demands
(Exodus 23.14-19; Deuteronomy 7.1-5; 16.1-17)
10The Lord said:
I promise to perform miracles for you that have never been seen anywhere on earth. Neighboring nations will stand in fear and know that I was the one who did these marvelous things. 11I will force out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, but you must do what I command you today. 12Don't make treaties with any of those people. If you do, it will be like falling into a trap. 13 Instead, you must destroy their altars and tear down the sacred poles they use in the worship of the goddess Asherah. 14I demand your complete loyalty—you must not worship any other god!
There is nothing sweeter than having a relationship restored. Strained friendships are a burden for both parties. An unwillingness to forgive robs everyone of joy.
The forgiveness of God is complete and thorough. The invitation extended to Moses highlights the restorative mercy of God. Moses is asked to chisel two tablets of stone like those he broke in anger. He is invited to return to the place of initial favour. Though in these tablets Moses would do the writing, the words of God would still be spoken. The blessings of obedience would still be offered.
Such a picture of restoration is heartening. All of us find ourselves holding onto broken pieces of unfulfilled promises. All of us given the invitation to return to the place where obedience was first fractured. We are all offered grace and a shared gift of redemption.
To experience the grace of God is to request it to be shared with others. Moses immediately asked God to restore favour on all the people. He associated himself with the people in their error and asked for corporate forgiveness. The joy of restoration is infectious. It yearns to be as inclusive as possible.
It is good to be reminded of the grace of God. Such mercy deserves constant recognition and gratitude is best displayed in generosity. To rejoice in forgiveness is to generously extend forgiveness to others. To appreciate mercy is to liberally grant mercy to others.
Lord, fill this day with reminders of your grace and mercy. And grant me opportunities to extend your grace to others.