In Exodus 19 Moses goes up Mount Sinai where God cuts out two stone tablets, and writes the Ten Commandments upon the tablets. As Moses comes down from the mountain, the people are worshipping a golden calf they have made and sacrificing to it. (Exodus 32) In anger, Moses throws down the two tablets and breaks them. The golden calf is destroyed and Moses pleads for God to forgive the children of Israel. Then, in Exodus 34, God tells Moses to cut out two more stone tablets, come up the mountain and God would write the commandments on these tablets. Did you notice that in the first situation God cut the tablets and God did the writing, then in the second instance Moses has to cut out new tablets and God would do the writing.
As I read this account I can’t help but think: the children of Israel are rebellious; they make a golden calf; they worship false idols; Moses get angry with them and he has to do the hard work. Why didn’t the Israelites have to cut out two new rock tablets, why did Moses need to do that? Three principles are seen.
First we realize that anger always has consequences. Even though Moses could have been justified in his mind, because of the waywardness of the Israelites, Moses was still responsible for his own actions. Moses got angry; Moses broke the tablets; Moses needed to cut out two new tablets. God did not blame Moses’ actions on the wrongdoing of others. We always have to answer for how we act even if provoked by others.
Secondly, notice how people are not isolated in their actions. The Israelites could have said, “I am doing what I want, it doesn’t effect others, it only effects myself.” But their action did affect others. Their actions made more work for Moses. If a great leader like Moses was affected by the inappropriate actions of others, how much could our improper action affect those around us; those who likely are not as strong in doing what is right as Moses was.
Thirdly, notice that something is always lost by sin, even when the sin is forgiven. The first tables were the “work of God”, the second were hewn by the hand of Moses. Part of the original beauty of God’s work was lost.
Lord Jesus help us to respond rightly when we see evil around us. Help us to control our anger and help us to influence those around us in godly ways.