Moses had just come down Mt. Sinai. He wondered why those who saw him became frightened. He wasn’t aware that strange, dazzling shafts of lights were beaming out from his skin!
Aaron was among those present to meet Moses, and even he fell back with others when he saw the rays of light shooting forth from Moses’ face.
“Why are you people staring and backing away from me?” Moses demanded. “Don’t you recognize me?”
No one answered him. The wide-eyed people silently continued moving back. Moses stepped up his pace until he was closer to the retreating crowd. Suddenly, even in the growing darkness, he spotted Aaron.
“Approach me, Aaron!” Moses called out. Aaron slowly but obediently moved out of the crowd and toward Moses.
“Why do these people keep walking away?” Moses asked in a puzzled tone. “They act as though they are afraid of me.”
“They are!” Aaron replied, shielding his eyes from the strong glow of Moses’ face. “Don’t you know that your skin is shining so brightly that one can hardly see your eyes, nose and mouth?”
Moses was indeed startled to learn this from Aaron (Ex. 34:29-31).
“It must be because of the close contact I have had with God,” Moses observed thoughtfully. “My skin must have absorbed a bit of His glorious radiance!”
“Night is coming on, and your face appears to be glowing even stronger,” Aaron said. “Take my cape and hide your head in it while I accompany you to your tent. If you go through the camp without a covering, you will surely create too much alarm – especially among the children.”
Moses took Aaron’s suggestion, and the two of them, along with some servants, reached Moses’ quarters without causing any fright. However, a curious, murmuring crowd followed them all the way from the slopes of Mt. Sinai.
Next morning Moses summoned the elders together to tell them what had happened to him while on Mt. Sinai. But before appearing before them, he put a heavy veil over his face so that they wouldn’t be troubled by the dazzling light from his skin.
After speaking to the elders, he appeared before the congregation. Again he wore the veil, but the Israelites could plainly see light coming through. Some, including small children, were somewhat frightened. Others felt a sense of guilt and discomfort at the mere sight of this light that had come from God. Most of them were so curious and excited over this mysterious light that they regarded their leaders with renewed interest and respect, and listened closely to all he had to say.
As the days passed, Moses continued to wear the veil except when he was alone or when he went out to talk with God in the tent pitched outside the Israelites’ camps. There were times when certain ones saw his dazzling face, but not very often (vs. 32-35).
Moses’ skin gradually lost its unusual glow as the weeks went on, and when at last it was again normal, he no longer had any use for the veil. Moses was wondrously blessed in having this exciting experience of being so close to the Creator that his skin shone brightly for many days. Wouldn’t you be happy and excited to have such a thing happened to you?
Believe it or not, it’s possible for you to experience a blessing that is very much like that given to Moses. It can come by your being truly sorry for the wrong things you have done, and turning to being faithfully obedient to all of God’s living laws, as Moses was. When that happens, your face won’t glow with a blinding light. But it will glow with happiness, and you’ll become a shining example of how God wants all of us to live. And as long as you stay close to God you will be a strong light to those about you (Matt. 5:14-16).
In his talk to the people after he had come down from Mt. Sinai, Moses told them that God had reminded him again to warn them that they should be very faithful in carefully observing the weekly Sabbath. Any who forgets it soon forgets that God is Supreme Ruler and soon forgets His truth.
“God wants us always to keep both the weekly and annual Sabbaths. They are an eternal sign that we are God’s people and that He is our God,” Moses explained.
“But now I bring you news of a very special work we are to do right away. Some of you will be so ambitious in this task that you will be tempted to work on the Sabbath. Our God knows this, and therefore He has instructed that no fire shall be kindled on the Sabbath for the purpose of sharpening tools, melting metals or any other such reason having to do with unnecessary labor. God is aware of your needs. He hasn’t forbidden the use of fires on the Sabbath for light or heat or other necessities” (Ex. 35:1-3).
Moses had constantly been discouraged by the manner in which many of the Israelites had failed to obey that 4th commandment. But if he could have foreseen how so-called spiritual leaders of the future would twist, distort and even turn their backs on that particular law, he probably would have been a lot more discouraged.
Posing as ministers of God, these men today proclaim to any who will listen that it is impossible to obey the Ten Commandments, and that a curse will be upon any who try to obey these eternal spiritual laws. One of their many arguments is that it isn’t possible to observe the 4th commandment because people can’t live without kindling a fire every day of the week!
“Jesus nailed the Ten Commandments to the cross,” they foolishly argue.
The Ten Commandments were not nailed to the cross. Christ was nailed to the cross to pay for our sins by dying in our stead. Because Jesus Christ was the supreme sacrifice, the temporary laws having to do with sacrifices are no longer necessary. They were given in Moses’ day to remind us of sin and our coming Saviour. We don’t need them today since Christ has already come (Gal. 3:19; Heb. 10:3-4). But the Ten Commandments are everlasting. They are not ceremonial but spiritual.
Eternal life is a gift from God. You can’t earn eternal life – but God will not give you eternal life unless you are willing to obey Him!
To seek for the gift of living forever as a son of God – as a spirit being – we must first repent of our sins. That is, we must really feel deep regret and sorrow for all the wrong things we have done. Every human being has sinned, which means that every one has at one time or another failed to obey God’s sacred laws – and the Ten Commandments are the main laws.
When we repent, and ask that Christ bare our sins away, God is pleased to forgive us of our wrong ways – neglecting to live by the Ten Commandments. When God forgives us, all the mistakes we have made in the past are blotted out. But from this time on, if we hope to gain the priceless prize of everlasting life, we must continue to please God by living by His rules. These rules are for our own happiness, good health and success. Some of them are difficult at times. But if God knows we want to keep them, He helps us do so. Sticking to those rules gradually changes our lives. We become stronger and stronger in character – in the ability to obey God. We overcome, one by one, the ways of living that aren’t good for us.
God shows us, through His Ten Commandments, the way of life we are to follow. And if we follow it to the very end of our lives, we have the great hope that we will one day be changed into ever-living spirit beings (Matt. 10:22).
When we stop to consider that most of the churches of this so-called Christian world teach the exact opposite of many things God teaches through the Bible, we begin to realize how careful we must be to see if the Bible actually says what many self-styled spiritual leaders have to say.
This matter of “kindling fires,” though it may not seem very important at first reading, is just one example of how those who dislike God’s laws vainly try to talk away the Ten Commandments. They just do not see the spiritual intent of God’s law.
Having warned the people of the importance of observing the Sabbath, Moses outlined to them God’s wonderful plan for a tabernacle in which He could be with the Israelites as they moved toward Canaan.
“Even though we have greatly sinned, Moses told the people, reminding them of their shameful conduct before the golden calf idol,” our God has promised to stay in our midst.”
Watch for the next installment of The Story of the Bible as Moses continues to lead the children of Israel to the Promise Land.