Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Wanderings Amid Humanly Hopeless Trials
Q. Taking God's Steps Of Renewal Following Repentance
(Exodus 34:1-35)
  1. Introduction
    1. 1 John 1:9-10 teaches that we believers all fail the Lord, so we must confess our sins unto Him.
    2. However, such failure must be followed by an effective renewed commitment to the Lord (as follows):
  2. Taking God's Steps Of Renewal Following Repentance, Exodus 34:1-35.
    1. Following Israel's idolatry and repentance, God directed Moses in Israel's steps of renewal, Exodus 34:1a.
    2. These steps reveal special adjustments are needed for a believer who has failed the Lord, Ex. 34:1b-27:
      1. The believer must return to the point of failure and correct the steps that led to sin, Ex. 34:1-4; 32:19:
      2. The believer must recall that his renewal is based on God's grace, that there is nothing of his own merit that provides for his renewal, making him humbly worship the Lord in thanksgiving, Exodus 34:5-11.
      3. The believer must be specially attentive to avoid repeat sins, both learning to reject them as well as to replace them with meaningful preoccupations for protection from future failure, Exodus 34:12-27:
        1. In Exodus 34:12-27 that records the covenant renewal, not all the original commands are repeated, but emphasis is placed on handling idolatry, Israel's recent sin, Bible Know. Com., O. T. , p. 158.
        2. As such, the commands repeated in Exodus 34:12-27, though in no way fully repetitious of the full covenant, are recorded here with sterner emphasis due to Israel's recent past sin, Ibid.
        3. Accordingly, God's first concern was to direct Israel to oppose idolatry, Ex. 34:12-17: (1) Israel was to make no covenant with the evil inhabitants of Canaan that they not become a snare to pull her into the idolatry she had just committed, Ex. 34:12. (2) She was to destroy Canaan's false altars, images and groves, for God was a Jealous God Who could not tolerate a divided loyalty between Himself and any other god, and He did not want Israel to leave herself vulnerable to mixing in fellowship and marriage with the evil Canaanites lest she follow them into idolatry, Ex. 34:13-16. (3) God wanted Israel to avoid making any molten image gods, a call clearly recalling Israel's recent sin with Aaron and the people regarding the golden calf, cf. Exodus 34:17 with Exodus 32:3-4.
        4. Beyond just rejecting idolatry, God urged Israel to get preoccupied with true worship, Ex. 34:18-26: (1) the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover were to be kept in true worship, Ex. 34:18. The reference to the redemption of the firstborn in Ex. 34:19-20 recalled the tenth Egyptian plague that was associated with the original Passover, Ibid., p. 158-159. (2) Before naming the second and third feasts, God reminded Israel to keep the Sabbath Days even in busy harvest days when the men were tempted to put income above God's worship, and so get sidetracked by such a preoccupation that could eventually lead to false worship elsewhere, Exodus 34:21, Ibid., p. 159. (3) The Feast of Pentecost (Weeks) and Ingathering (Tabernacles) were to be kept as well, Exodus 34:22. (4) All the men were to appear at the tabernacle (later the temple) three times a year, and they were not to be lax to do so for fear that their borders would be invaded since God promised to protect them from their enemies, Exodus 34:23-24. This command further directed men to avoid getting sidetracked out of concerns for their borders that could lead to other forms of worship. (5) Closing commands dealing with ritual corruption or the copying of pagan customs (boiling a kid in its mother's milk, Ibid., p. 144) were given in Ex. 34:25-26 as final focuses on a preoccupation with correct worship!
    3. Following this renewal, God indicated His blessing in the glory He bestowed on Moses, Exodus 34:28-35.
Lesson: God directed repentant Israel to take steps to a renewed walk in Him: this involved (1) getting back to the point of failure (2) in God's grace and (3) giving attention to avoid temptations of sin as well as (4) getting preoccupied with good practices God assigns that inhibits exposure to evil temptations.

Application: After sinful failure, may we not only (1) confess our sin(s), but (2) take effective steps to (a) return to the point of our sinful failure (b) in God's grace (c) and reject the original temptation that got us into our sinful failure. Then, may we (d) REPLACE errant functions in getting preoccupied with GODLY orientations that inhibit our becoming unnecessarily vulnerable to sinful temptations!