8 July 2013

Deuteronomy 9:22-10:11

“At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Carve out two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you smashed, and you shall put them in the ark.’” (10:1-2)


Today's passage carries on from the preceding week as we work our way through the book of Deuteronomy, following the story of Moses as he lead the Israelites through the wilderness. The events that happened shaped the people into the nation that they were to become and echo down through the centuries. Their actions, reactions and emotions are common to the human condition.

Just before this passage, Moses discovers the rebelliousness of the people. He had left them for forty days and nights and during that period has received the ten commandments. On returning he discovers that they have made an idol in the form of a golden calf (Deuteronomy 9:16), breaking the second commandment (Exodus 20:4-6). Whether he breaks the tablets of stone (10:2) out of frustration, or as a symbolic action showing the breaking of the commandments, it is not clear. Either interpretation is possible.

Now as their leader, Moses has to take charge. And he does so through prayer, remonstrating with God, appealing for mercy and begging for forgiveness. It is not just a prayer in words, heartfelt though they may be (try reading them aloud), but in physicality as Moses lay prostrate before the Lord.

God's response after that time is to call for two new tablets of stone in order to write out the commandments again. Here is God's call to obedience (again). And the passage ends with God's instructing Moses "Get up, go on your journey at the head of the people, that they may go in and occupy the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them" (10:11).

To Ponder

  • Moses lays prostrate before the Lord. How do you use your body in prayer? Do you find it easy or difficult? Or something you have never tried?
  • How important is obedience in your discipleship? Are some things easier to obey than others? What might they be?
  • Despite all that happens, all that you may do, God does not abandon you or the promise that is made to you (cf Isaiah 43:1-7). How do you respond?

Bible notes author

Ken Kingston

Ken Kingston preaches in the High Wycombe Circuit. He has worked for the Connexional Team since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been involved in 'Called by Name' and 'Time to Talk of God' amongst others.