Chapter 34:18-28 (ESV) - “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.
“You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.”
And the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
Question to consider: In what ways does the LORD’s summary of the Law point to Christ?
After the LORD allowed Moses to get a glimpse of Him from behind the cleft of the rock, He took the freshly hewn tablets of stone and once again wrote the words of the covenant. In yesterday's passage, the LORD summarized the stipulations of the covenant (the Law) and His promises to Israel, and in today's passage, the LORD summarized the various feast days and parameters of worship.
Of primary importance was that they remember it was the LORD who spared their firstborn sons and livestock and delivered them out of slavery in Egypt. They belonged to the LORD and needed to be redeemed (bought back) from Him. All of this pointed to Christ as the only begotten Son of God who would redeem us from the penalty of sin. People bristle at the idea of being bought by Christ as a bondservant, but without Christ we become a slave of sin. I think Psalm 84:10 captures this idea nicely, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
They also were to remember that it was the LORD who made their labor fruitful. Thus, they were to keep His Sabbaths and give back to the LORD three times a year in faith, and the LORD would bless them and keep their enemies from having a desire to take their land. Labor and rest also point to Christ who is our eternal rest from works of the Law. As Jesus said in Matthew 11:27-30, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Finally, they were to remember to keep the sacrifice pure. Their sacrifices and offerings served to cover over their sin when they failed to keep the Law perfectly, and they ultimately pointed to the perfect sacrifice of Christ which would take away the sin of the world.
Miraculously, Moses neither ate nor drank while he received the word of the LORD. Before Israel would enter the land, Moses would emphasize to them that “...man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) Today, the word that comes from the mouth of the LORD has been assembled for us in the pages of scripture. I hope that if you are reading this, you have made the study of God’s word a priority in your life.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for glorifying Christ in Your word so that we can recognize His work in the world. Thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit who gives us wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and the fear of the LORD. Amen.