Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” (Exodus 17:14)

God tells Moses to write it down and to read out what he has written. This is a foretelling by God of what He is going to do, so He wants it to be clear. “Write this in a book.” It is going to be set down for all to see; no doubt as to what is there. “Recite it.” Make sure the word gets out; don’t just leave it forgotten in the book. Broadcast it. Everyone will know what is going to happen. And then I will make it happen. This asks for our faith. We cannot deny that the writing is there and we cannot deny what is written.

When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God. (Exodus 31:18)

Moses comes down from the mountain with two tablets of carved stone which the LORD has given to him – the covenant law. Meantime, the people have grumbled and Aaron has gathered their offerings to make a golden calf that they worshipped. Enraged at their rebellion against God, Moses smashes the tablets, but then intercedes for the people and seeks to atone for their sin.

The Ten Commandments were clearly God’s will for us; His instructions to us. The first tablets were a passive revelation: God gave Moses completed tablets, with the Commandments inscribed on them. He Himself had written them: ‘inscribed by the finger of God.’ The second set carried the same message, but it can argued from Exodus 34 that this was participatory revelation: God chose to work with Moses to produce them. This time, He told Moses to “chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones” and said, “I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.” We are told Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.” The ‘he’ in this instance, can be strongly argued to be Moses. This has exercised scholars for hundreds of years. But if they are focussing on that question, are they missing the point? Two points, actually:

  • (1) Perhaps God was showing how He would work with all prophets in creating His divine revelation for us. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We tend to say that William the Conqueror built Winchester Cathedral. We might even say that in fact his appointee, Bishop Walkelin, built it. Or we could drill down a bit and point out that surely the stonemasons and ordinary labourers actually built it. All are correct. And more so the Bible: God-breathed; God-inspired; God-written.
  • (2) The message of the Commandments was so important for us that God ensured they were recreated and set as a permanent reminder; evidence to be seen and read of God’s standard for us all. A reminder, if we choose to consider ourselves, that we cannot meet that standard, no matter what we do. We cannot earn our way into God’s righteousness. It would take a miracle for us to be worthy of God. The miracle of Jesus. Write THAT on your heart.

[from Timothy Pitt]

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