The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 80 of 202
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Once more we see Moses grasping the intention of the Lord by faith, and daring to
urge yet more grace:--
"And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And
he said, If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go
among us: FOR IT IS A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE; and pardon our iniquity and our
sin, and take us for Thine inheritance" (Exod. 34: 8, 9).
Surely Moses knew that God did "clear him who is not clear". Look at the holy
boldness that faith possesses when standing on the ground of grace. The Lord had said
that the reason why He would not remain with Israel was that they were "a stiff-necked
people" (Exod. 32: 9, 33: 3 and 5), yet Moses, with the vision of the glory still
fresh and the proclamation of the name of the Lord still present to his memory, urges this
as a reason for the Lord to alter His threat, to turn away His wrath and to go among them
once more. Truly, the principles of grace and merit are at the two extremes.
The re-stated covenant.
Following this manifestation of grace the Lord re-states covenant conditions in
verses 10-17, following it up in verses 18-26 with a selection of the commandments
which are the working out of the terms of the covenant. It will be observed that, in this
new statement, practically one item only is stressed, the matter of idolatry and the making
of a covenant with idolaters. Every covenant must have at least two parties, with mutual
obligations.  Consequently verses 10-17 are distributed under the pronouns "I" and
A |
Behold, I will make a covenant.
| Before all thy people I will do marvels.
| It is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
A |
Behold I drive out before thee the Amorite.
A | Take heed lest thou make a covenant with inhabitants.
B | Ye shall destroy their altars.
C | Thou shalt worship no other God.
A | Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land.
B | Lest thou take of their daughters unto thy sons.
C | Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
The omission of the remaining nine commandments from these words of the covenant
does not imply that they were not repeated (see verse 28), but the insistence upon the first
commandment would cause Israel to realize that the worship of God alone was the first
essential. No amount of obedience to any other command would compensate for the
breaking of this, the essential clause.