Ex 34:2. What are you gonna make of God Himself telling you "Be ready by morning"?
In other words, put yourself in Moses' place. He asked for something like this in 33:13. God continues in 34:2, "...and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me on the top of the mountain."
On the one hand, "be ready by morning" is not a type of command that sends a person running off. It's like an appointment setup. Also, this is not Moses' first meeting with God. It's almost a procedural meeting in its sound: God is going to write on some new tablets to replace the old ones, and Moses is to make blank ones and bring them (34:1).
On the other hand, that's not all that happens. God gives Him the 33:13 request. And if the word 'more' could hold what happens, then I would say and "more." But "more" doesn't hold it (34:5-7).
The closest thing in my experience to this is the experience of hoping and asking for something good from someone you love, and not knowing whether the answer will be yes or no. And then, completely out of your own control, their love hits you like you were on a train track and you never saw the high-speed train coming. Some people say such a thing has never happened to them. Some people will say maybe. But it happened between Moses and God here.
Moses had asked "Let me know Your ways." In support of the significance of 34:5-7, and the fact that we're still figuring it out, is the translation in 34:7. Why do the translators add "the guilty," confessing (in the translations that confess to such things) that the phrase is not in the original? It's because we don't comprehend very well how God "forgives iniquity, transgression and sin, yet He will by no means leave unpunished, visiting the iniquity..." on the same people. So we are still trying to say those must be other people, and we put it as "He will be no means leave the guilty unpunished." The truth is, both forgiveness and punishment can occur to the same people regarding the same sin. Numbers 14:20-25 is an illustration of how this can be, in the temporal sense, and perhaps something like 2 Cor 5:10 explains how something like this is part of the relationship of God and Christians, not just God and the people of 34:5-7.
So we're still figuring out Ex 34:5-7. An easy way to remember the location of this passage is Exodus 3 4 5 6 7. Thought I'd share that. ;)
There is something regarding theodicy here, just as there is in Romans 3:25-26 on this same subject, the relationship of God's righteousness to sin. Non-Christians feel this intuitively. They know because of a sense of right and wrong that the glib self-association of Christians with God's approval and non-Christians with God's rejection just sounds like the taunt of a proud older brother to the younger, saying the younger brother is "out" and he is "in." When a non-Christian hears passages saying (Ga 6:7) "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap" -- that actually can used by God to appeal to the person's conscience. Who could trust a deity that is a god of partiality? Romans says unequivocally (Rm 2:11) that "there is no partiality with God." Grace is not partiality. The way God exercises grace is NOT partiality. The non-Christian might listen, if we can explain how 3 4 5 6 7, and other verses, must be used to explain, not compromise, God's righteousness.
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