May 13, 2019

Bow, Beam, and Behold

Exodus 34:11–35

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11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

17 “You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.

18 “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. 19 All that open the womb are mine, all your male1 livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20 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.

21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22 You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. 24 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.

25 “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. 26 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.”

27 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.” 28 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.2

The Shining Face of Moses

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.3 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.

34 Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35 the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.


[1] 34:19 Septuagint, Theodotion, Vulgate, Targum; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[2] 34:28 Hebrew the ten words
[3] 34:29 Hebrew him

Bow, Beam, and Behold

Key Verse | Exodus 34:29-30

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 

Bio | Louie Garcia

Hi, everyone! My name is Luis, but I go by Lui (or Louie, or any spelling you can think of). I've been going to Watermark for almost six years and serve at Dealing with Divorce for Teens and Wake, Watermark's junior high ministry. I have an amazing wife, Annalynn, and daughter, Abigail. I am an expert at making quesadillas and a non-expert at writing bios. The most important thing about me is I am a sinner graciously saved by God. I deserved justice, but He gave me mercy; and my desire is to live in light of this!

Central Truth

We typically resemble what we revere most. Only when we are completely transfixed on the glory of God are we truly transformed. 

Devotional | Exodus 34:11–35

A 40-day fast isn't a surefire way to obtain a visible radiance. Yet upon Moses' return from Mount Sinai, there was something different about his physical appearance.

God had just declared...

A 40-day fast isn't a surefire way to obtain a visible radiance. Yet upon Moses' return from Mount Sinai, there was something different about his physical appearance.

God had just declared attributes that characterize Himself, and Moses immediately responded by dropping to the ground (Exodus 34:6-8). His natural reaction to being in the presence of God was to bow in worship. After this beautiful moment in Scripture, we see God restore His covenant (Exodus 34:8-16) and restate His commandments (Exodus 34:17-28). We also see that God is a jealous God—not in the sense that God is insecure or petty, but His exclusive call to worship reflects His love and the fact that He alone can save. Idols cannot save. This is especially true and fresh in light of the golden calf incident in Exodus 32. God is also a God of rest (Exodus 34:21), as well as a sovereign protector of His people (Exodus 34:23-24).

Moses spent 40 days and nights interceding for Israel and nourishing on the Word of God. He didn't know it at first, but his appearance was dramatically altered. His face was physically transformed by being transfixed on the glory of God. He bowed down in humble praise in Exodus 34:8, remained bowed, and humbly reflected the glow of his wonderful God. The radiance of Moses' face caused the Israelites to react in fear. Referencing this account, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:7, "[T]he Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end."

The glory in Moses' face was fading. But in the face of Christ, the glory of God shines with radiance and effulgence (2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 1:3). If you believe in Christ, you are part of a grander covenant of grace and transformed by beholding God's glory (Hebrews 8:6; 2 Corinthians 3:18). By the transforming life of the Spirit, all who bow at the glory of Christ beam with an unveiled face, beholding the glory of God!

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Discussion Questions

1. What's your natural reaction to hearing that God's name is Jealous? Read Exodus 34:6-7 again. Would you say that His jealousy stems from insecurity, or is it the natural result of His infinite holiness? (See also Isaiah 42:8)

2. What do you spend most of your time looking at or meditating on? Do you radiate that thing? Would anyone wonder if you habitually spend time with God and behold His glory?

3. How can you keep a strong desire to know God more deeply?

4. As we saw, the glory of God is in the face of Jesus. Compare the different reactions to the Lord's face in Revelation 6:14-17 and Revelation 22:3-5. Would you hide from His face, or would He be your light?

5. No question here. Just meditate on this glorious truth in Revelation 21:22-23: "And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb."

11 Comments available

Jay Caruso about 1 year ago

Thank Luis for your devotional. Great perspective. I feel lost when I am not ready his word. This journey is keeping me accountable to keep up and retain what I am reading

Don Freeman about 1 year ago


Sue Bohlin about 1 year ago

Louie, I love that your devo includes the delightful phrase “radiance and effulgence”!! I hope that heaven offers videos of Moses’ shining face as well as Jesus’ full-body radiance on the Mount of Transfiguration. Was Moses’ face a sneak peek of Jesus’ minutes of revealed glory when he and Elijah had a literal “come to Jesus meeting” on the mountain? Did it occur to Moses that, as he looked at Jesus, he got to experience what his fellow Hebrews did when they looked at HIM (only more so)?

I have so many questions…and an ongoing request: Lord, please give me a “Moses face”!! I want to shine with “Jesusness”!

Sue Bohlin about 1 year ago

Hope, I love that your daily time in the Word and your passion for growing in your biblical worldview means that you can be surrounded by the folks in Austin rightfully concerned about violence and abuse in their community, and your response is, “What does God think about this, and how does He feel about it?”

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

Q1 I think God protects his holiness. What he does out of love for his holiness can work itself out as wrath or jealousy.

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

Here it says “…All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem…”

But in the book of Hebrews “… the church of the firstborn one(s) …” Firstborn in Greek there is plural. Perhaps this is because everyone in the church is a redeemed firstborn (firstborn in a sense) and maybe also because everyone in the church is a coheir with Christ (firstborn in another sense)

greg jones about 1 year ago

Q3 I think there is a true statement contained within the question-knowing God more deeply produces a strong desire to know God more deeply.

If jealousy was the only thing I knew of God’s character I would know a right thing about Him. Knowing that only thing, and only ever knowing that one right thing would eventually cause me to, A) not worship Him, or B) worship Him wrongly. Deeper for me often feels like knowing Him more “unwrongly”

Knowing how many adjectives the Bible uses to describe the spectrum of God’s character is a different knowledge than the ability to knowingly distinguish the degree of His character we are experiencing.

If God’s character could be described as 180* spectrum I don’t want to avoid 1* of wrath. I want to know His wrath, in light of, 179* other degrees of His character-Hebrews13:13-written, expected, and practiced.

Hope Harris about 1 year ago

GM JTJ Peeps (1/2)

In today’s passage, I am reminded the importance of guarding my heart Proverbs 4:23. Verses 12-17 caused me to reflect back on my time in Austin last week. I was surrounded by mostly by non-believers who were intensely driven around social justice issues surrounding dating violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

Two main themes kept surfacing rights and needs of LGBT people in dating/marriage relationships. Intense feelings were expressed against the faith community for not caring to advocate for victims of dating/domestic violence and sexual assault. Yikes, every day I felt the pull of their passion and logic. Today’s passage brought me to place of new awareness of how grounded in Christ I must be in world filled with people advocating for their own causes. Guarding my heart from the sway of righting the injustices of this world on my own terms and power

Hope Harris about 1 year ago

(2/2). I see how important it is to remain faithful and committed to God’s truth. To advocate for how God values dignity and respect of all people. Yet He calls us to responsibility and freedom with limits AKA boundaries.

We live in a broken fallen world where most people are driven to right wrongs under their own power. One that does not understand God hates violence and abuse more than we do. That God values every person and desires to heal the wounds inflicted upon them by violent abusive people. That God is for every person and will respectfully honor their choice to live life on their own terms.

God guard my heart and allow me to trust you right the wrongs of this world and advocate for victims of violence and abuse.

Hugh Stephenson about 1 year ago

Feasts and Firsts

I am taught that the seven festivals of the Jewish year center around the agricultural cycle and therefore God’s provision of food and water.

I note that God commands me to observe the “Feasts” and to give Him the “Firsts”. He provides and I give Him credit because without Him I have no food or water, (John 15:5). He gets the first/best to remind me that I am to worship Him - otherwise I will worship myself and/or the material world. I have proven that and continue to provide plenty of evidence.

Our recent readings teach me the craziness of rescue, the insanity of rebellion and the inexplicable renewal of the covenant.

I have been taught to seek to know the goodness and kindness of God. What could be greater evidence than these last several passages? I deserve Hell and He consistently renews His offer of Heaven.

Lindsey Driscoll about 1 year ago

Q2- I love that everyone saw Moses face was radiant. Verse 34:29 says “he was not aware his face was radiant.” I imagine Moses was so focused on the Lord that the radiance of God’s glory on his face was not on his mind at all. When we drive out all other competing idols in our lives, like Israel was called to (v.11-16) we can completely focus and mediate on the Lord. Praying we identify those idols in our life that need to be cast down or bondraries we need to set.

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