Exodus 34 – July 3
Moses experienced the Lord’s presence in a myriad of unique and fascinating ways during his lifetime. There are also various parallels that God intended to draw between Moses and the greater future deliverer of God’s people, Jesus Christ. Today we are going to highlight one distinct way that Moses foreshadowed Christ. Although the majority of the focus that you have probably heard from this chapter is on the shining face of Moses, I want you to notice something a little bit different.
40 Day Fasting
Did you catch what it says about Moses’ fast in vs. 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.” Moses fasted during his time with the Lord on the mountain. It seems that this was able to occur because of the sustaining grace of God. It is as if Moses did not need the sustenance required during that time because God was preserving him. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days during this fast.
Flash forward a few hundred years and you will find another man who fasted for 40 days. This man was not on Mount Sinai, but he was heading in that direction. In 1 Kings 19, we read about the aftermath of Elijah’s successful competition against the prophets of Baal. The Lord God had sent fire from heaven displaying that He alone was to be worshiped. Elijah led the project to slaughter the 450 false prophets who were leading the nation in Baal worship. Needless to say, the wicked Queen Jezebel was not pleased. She sought to kill Elijah, so he ran into the wilderness without any provisions. He came to rest under a broom tree and asked the Lord to let him die. God had other plans. He instead sent angels to provide food and water for Elijah. Here is how that turned out,
1 Kings 19:7-8 - And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
Did you catch what happened? Elijah had a meal to prepare himself for the 40 day journey that he was required to take. He traveled for 40 days in some of the harshest terrain on earth in order to go to the exact same mountain (possibly the exact same spot) where Moses was in Exodus 34. Both Moses and Elijah experienced the manifest presence of the Lord on top of that mountain during a fast of 40 days.
Flash forward a few hundred more years and you will find Jesus Christ fasting for 40 days. Luke 4:1-2 tells us, “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.” The Father sent Jesus in the power of the Spirit to reveal that Jesus was indeed to be understood as the continuing work of God on earth. Moses and Elijah were the figureheads of the Jewish faith and practice. Moses represented the law and Elijah represented the prophets. But, just in case you would possible make the mistake of considering the three to be equals, we must remember what occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was there that Jesus ascended a mountain with His disciples and Moses and Elijah appeared. When Peter equated the three of them, God replied, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Jesus is the greater Moses. He is the greater Elijah. He is the true Deliverer from bondage and the Ultimate Prophet with a greater message of good news.