The verses before us this morning give something of a positive plan for Israel to retain covenant fidelity to Yahweh. Yes, the program echoes the covenant laws of Exodus 23, but they show that Israel’s covenant with Yahweh has two key facets. Israel must reject false gods, but they must also be devoted in heart and hand to Yahweh, the true God.
In the beginning of Exodus 34, God told Moses to make two new tablets. this is a signal really for what will follow in chapters 34-35:3. At the core of Exodus 34 is a reestablishment of the covenant God gave in Exodus 20-23 and ratified in chapter 24. Verses 6-7 are crucial. But they are part of a bigger picture in this passage related to the covenant, which still hangs in the balance. This passage shows the effects of God’s grace. As the text continues, we begin to understand more the relationship of God’s grace to his dealings with Israel.
Then, we read in ch 20:1, “And God spoke all these words.” So, while Moses was up at the mountain peak, the Lord spoke audibly to him so that his people could hear. And what the Lord said that great day was none other than what we call the Ten Commandments. As they enter into covenant, God presents covenant stipulations that they must follow as his people. This morning, we will consider the first of these.