By Tyshawn Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Samford University
Does It Align with God’s Character?
In this chapter, God instructs Moses to make new tablets for His commandments. Moses broke the first tablets (32:19) out of frustration with the children of Israel due to their worship of the golden calf. In God’s faithfulness and mercy, He instructs Moses to go to the mountain to receive His Word again. God’s people are stiff-necked, but His love is steadfast, and His mercy is everlasting.
God, however, warns Moses His divine characteristics of mercy and steadfast love are not an excuse for His people to continue in sin. He “will not leave the guilty unpunished” (34:7). God’s presence on the mountain revealed He is holy and just. Those who are called by His name should reflect His holiness, justice and righteousness in our lives.
God is holy and establishes a covenant relationship with His children. (1–5)
The Lord is faithful in His love for His people. This steadfast love is manifested in His covenant relationship with them. Even though His people constantly abandon their faith in Him, He has never abandoned His covenant. God possesses certain moral qualities, such as holiness, righteousness and justice, along with grace, mercy and faithfulness.
In His holiness, He is both unique and sacred. When Moses experienced God’s holiness, he worshipped in response. Goodness is another characteristic reflected in God’s holiness. God cannot be evil or wrong. He cannot be influenced by evil in the world. Israel experienced these moral qualities of God through His covenant. In a greater measure, we have inherited a better covenant in Christ. Our covenant with God through Christ requires the character of our words and actions to be in line with God’s character and His Word.
God’s character is perfect and unchanging. (6–7)
God is consistent in all His ways. Scholars refer to this truth as immutability, meaning He does not change. God cannot be swayed by politics, economics or changes in the world. As He was in Exodus 34, He is for us in the present. He can be trusted.
Israel trusted God to bring them out of Egypt, but they lost patience in the transition from Egypt to the promised land. Though the way we travel may take unfamiliar twists and turns, we need not fret. God is unchanging in His faithfulness, goodness and love. Growing older brings us face to face with changes in family dynamics, health and careers. Just as God could be trusted in our youth and young adulthood, He can be trusted in the golden years of life. We change, but God does not change in His care and love for us.
Our response to God’s holy character is to repent and worship Him. (8–9)
Moses worshipped God because of His distinct holiness and majesty. Likewise, our proper response is to worship and obey Him. Moses also confessed the sins of God’s children. He knew God is merciful and forgiving. We may go astray, but we can repent and respond in worship to the one and only true and living God. Our character must always align with God’s character. We are created in His image. We are His people. All who confess their sins, confess Christ and repent of their sins can know this Holy God who loves us beyond our deepest faults. May our character align with His.
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