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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

March 4, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Exodus 34:29–35

It must have been something to have been one of those Israelites, seeing Moses make his way down from Mount Sinai. Something was definitely different about him. There was this glow. The story says, “The skin of his face was shining.” It was so unusual the people were afraid to come near him.

The glow on Moses’ face was the result of having seen God up close and personal. It couldn’t have been an ordinary glow, but rather was more similar to “shining like the noonday sun.” Maybe it was blinding and that’s what caused the fear. Or maybe the fear was simply because they sensed Moses had been changed and therefore they would be changed too. After all, this wasn’t the first time the people had heard what was on those tablets. They’d heard all of the commands before but had ignored them and sinned wildly. Moses had gone to bat for them, prayed intensely for them. Maybe they wondered if God finally had said to Moses “Enough is enough.” They were scared for so many reasons.

We take the Ten Commandments for granted. Even if we can’t recite them in order, they are embedded in our consciousness. Some of us view them as rules pronounced by a punitive,  Old Testament God, which is always a mischaracterization of God whether in the Old or New Testament. What strikes me most is that Moses’ face was glowing, reflecting bright, blinding light. He could have come down from that mountain with something more like a dark Darth Vader mask. Amidst all of the many layered meanings in this story, what I see is grace upon grace, light from light, forgiveness abounding. Moses glowed because he’d met the God of Infinite Love face-to-face, a God who sheds light and love and forgiveness.

God, thank you for your infinite grace, for the blinding light of your love, and for always being willing to change us, hoping to transform us more and more into your image. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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