Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Chapter thirty-four of Exodus, the record of Moses’ stay with God, covers three main subjects: feasting with the Lord and resting with Him, five conditions for enjoying the Lord, and God’s infusion of Himself into Moses. In the two foregoing messages we covered the three feasts and the Sabbath and the five conditions. In this message, after a word of introduction and review, we shall consider God’s infusion of Himself into Moses.
We have seen that Moses broke into pieces the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. This indicates that the covenant made by God with the children of Israel was broken. A covenant was made in chapters twenty through twenty-four, and this covenant was sealed by the sprinkling of the blood of the redeeming sacrifice. We may say that the sealing of the covenant was actually the signing of the covenant by God. God signed the covenant by sprinkling it with the redeeming blood of the sacrifice. The terms of this covenant were the Ten Commandments with all the ordinances. God wanted to have His people completely and thoroughly covenanted to Him. But because of the incident of the golden calf, the covenant was broken. However, in His mercy God came in to recover this broken covenant. This was the reason God told Moses to hew out two tablets of stone and to come up to the mountaintop to meet with Him. God’s intention was to recover the covenant.
Moses no doubt expected God to repeat the giving of the Ten Commandments and the ordinances. He may have been happy as he prepared the two tablets of stone for this purpose and brought them with him to the mountaintop. But after Moses arrived there and God descended to him, God did something else instead of giving Moses the Ten Commandments. What God spoke to Moses before giving him the Ten Commandments the second time was according to the real desire of His heart. It was not God’s intention merely to have a people to keep His commandments and ordinances. God’s intention was to dispense Himself into His chosen people so that they would be fully infused with Him in order to express Him.
From the very beginning, the law did not have a standing as part of God’s original intention. In typology, the position of the law is that of a concubine, typified by Hagar. This indicates that in the sight of God and in His economy the law does not have a place of honor just as a concubine does not have a legal position. The Bible says that the law was something added. It was not a part of God’s original intention and therefore does not have a place of honor. In a sense, God was forced to decree the law.
God was not unhappy because the two tablets were broken. God was angry not because of the breaking of the tablets, but because of the idolatry of the golden calf. When He met with Moses in chapter thirty-four, He did not at first say anything about the Ten Commandments.
First God told Moses that He would do marvels in order to bring the people into the good land: “And He said, Behold, I am making a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels which have not been wrought in all the earth, nor in all the nations; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of Jehovah, for it is a fearful thing which I am doing with you. Observe what I am commanding you this day; behold, I will drive out from before you the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite” (vv. 10-11). God would do miracles for the purpose of bringing the people into the good land where they could enjoy Him.
Second, God warned the people regarding idolatry (vv. 12-17). The Lord said, “You shall not bow yourself down to another god, for Jehovah—Jealous is His name—is a jealous God” (v. 14). He also said, “You shall not make for yourself molten gods” (v. 17). God definitely warned the people to stay away from every kind of idolatry. We must not allow anything to be a substitute for God or a replacement for Him. We must take Him and Him alone as God.
Then the Lord went on to speak to Moses concerning feasting with Him and resting with Him. In verse 18 He said, “You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread: seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.” In verse 22 He continued, “You shall observe the feast of weeks, the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of the ingathering at the turn of the year.” In verse 21 the Lord spoke to Moses about keeping the Sabbath: “Six days you shall work, and on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.” We can see, therefore, that the Lord spoke to Moses about idolatry and about feasting and resting. But at this time He did not say a word concerning the Ten Commandments and the ordinances. Instead, He told Moses that the males were to feast with Him three times a year and that every seven days they were to remember Him by resting with Him.
In a previous message we pointed out that the three feasts mentioned in this chapter indicate that we need to feast with the Lord three times a day. Furthermore, we have seen that the weekly Sabbath indicates that during the day, perhaps every fifteen or twenty minutes, we should take a break to remember the Lord by resting with Him. A year is a turn of time, and a day is also such a turn. Daily we should feast with the Lord and rest with Him. Both the feasting and the resting are for the enjoyment of the Lord.
In Exodus 34 the Lord not only spoke to Moses about feasting and resting; He also charged him with five matters that are conditions to be fulfilled in order for God’s people to enjoy Him. According to our natural understanding, each of these five points is insignificant. The first of these conditions is the matter of redeeming the firstling of a donkey with a lamb (v. 20), and the last is the word about not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (v. 26). Why did the Lord not speak to Moses about the honoring of parents or about the commandment concerning murder? Why did He speak to him about such things as redeeming the firstling of a donkey with a lamb and about not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk? The reason is that if we do not fulfill these five conditions, our enjoyment of the Lord will be broken. If we would maintain our enjoyment of the Lord by feasting and resting with Him, we must take care of these five seemingly insignificant requirements.
If we study Exodus 34 only with our mentality, we shall not be able to understand this chapter. But if we consider this chapter in the light of our spiritual experience, we shall see that the key here is the enjoyment of the Lord. This chapter reveals that we need to enjoy the Lord all day long by feasting with Him and resting with Him. Furthermore, along with this enjoyment and as a requirement for maintaining it, we need to fulfill five conditions.
It seems that in Exodus 34 Moses was concerned for the decree of the law, not for the enjoyment of the Lord or for the infusion of the Lord into him. If we are enlightened as we read this chapter, we shall realize that we should not focus our attention on the Ten Commandments and the ordinances, because God is more concerned that we take care of the feasts and the Sabbaths. We need to take care of the repeated feasting and resting with the Lord. We need to feast on Him and rest with Him for our full enjoyment of Him. Then we shall be infused with Him. As a result, we shall be filled inwardly, and we shall shine outwardly.
If we do not have the key, we shall find Exodus 34 very difficult to understand. Who can explain why in this chapter God mentions only three of the seven feasts? Why are so many important commandments and ordinances set aside, and instead there is mention of five requirements related to redeeming a donkey with a lamb, not offering the blood of the sacrifice with leavened bread, not allowing the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover to remain until the morning, bringing the firstfruits of the ground to the house of God, and not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk? If we have the key of the enjoyment of the Lord, we shall see that these five matters are not insignificant. On the contrary, concerning the enjoyment of the Lord, these matters are crucial.
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