“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.’ ” Exodus 34:1
A few days ago, as I was writing the post about God giving the children of Israel his version of the silent treatment, I said that God had commanded Moses and the children of Israel to leave Mt. Sinai and that they’d actually left. Well it turns out that, while it’s true that God had commanded Israel to move out, they hadn’t obeyed that command. Instead, they went into a period of mourning and repentance for their sin right there at the foot of Sinai. We know this because today’s passage makes it clear that Israel is still at Mt Sinai, because God calls Moses to once again climb up to meet Him on Mt. Sinai.
Moses is once again on the mountain for forty days and while there God writes a second set of stone tables of his law. The difference between this set of tables and the first is that where God had cut out the first set it was Moses who fashioned the second set of blank tables for God to write his law upon.
Exodus 34 says that God once again descended upon the mount and stood with Moses and declared his name, and his greatness, and his goodness, and his mercy, and his patience, and his forgiveness, and his justice and Moses fell on his face and worship the Lord.
And having worshipped Moses plead with God, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”
“Let my Lord, I pray, go among us.” Moses knew that without God’s presence dwelling among them they could never enter into the land God was leading them to. Moses knew that without God’s presence dwelling among them they could never become the people God was calling them to become. Without God’s presence they were helpless, leaderless, and lost. To have God in their midst was their greatest need.
The same is true for us. Our greatest need is to have Jesus in our hearts. That’s why in Revelation chapter three Jesus presents himself as standing before the doors of our hearts knocking and calling out for us to let him in. It’s not enough that Jesus has gone before us and charted the path we’re to walk and given us an example of how to live and behave. Without Jesus actually coming into and abiding within our hearts we’re weak, and helpless, and capable of nothing. We’ll never become God’s people and we’ll never reach the promised land without him.
Jesus died and rose to make a way for us to be his and for him to be ours forever. That forever can begin today. Like Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai we’re not in the promised land yet but with the strength, forgiveness, and presence of our Savior we know we can get there.