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Let’s look at the first time the Lord gave the tablets of the commandments to Moses.  Exodus 24:12 says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.”  So, here on Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments which had already been spoken, would now be etched permanently onto stone tablets by the very finger of God.  Moses’ time alone with the Lord was very lengthy.  Exodus 24:18 tells us, “And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.”  We later read in Exodus 31:18, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”  This shows us the Lord did everything in giving Moses these tablets.  The Lord hewed these tablets and wrote the commandments with His own finger.  We are told in Exodus 32:16, “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.”

Even as the Lord was giving these commandments to His people through His servant, Moses, the people fell into idolatry.  Because of Moses’ long absence, the people asked Aaron to make them a new god.  We read in Exodus 32:2-4, “And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”  Seeing that these people had so quickly turned to idolatry, the Lord determined to destroy them, but Moses interceded on their behalf and sought His mercy for these idolatrous people.  We then read of Moses coming down from the mount in Exodus 32:19, “And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”

Upon seeing the Lord’s people dancing naked around the golden calf, we read in Exodus 32:26-28, “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”  When Moses next interceded for the people, he was interceding for those who had sinned, but yet had repented and took a stand to be on the Lord’s side.

The Lord then calls Moses back to Mt. Sinai as we read in Exodus 34:1-2, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.”  Repentant Israel was now reconciled to the Lord through the work of their mediator, Moses, so the Lord had this intercessor hew the stones himself.  This teaches us at least a couple of lessons.  One is that since they had sinned, the people would not have the perfect stones once created by the hand of God.  They would always be reminded of their unfaithfulness by these man-made stones.  The second lesson we learn here is the power of the mediator.  It was through the sincere and earnest work of Moses that the Lord would reconcile with His people.  This is a type of Christ, of whom we read in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (108.3)