Smashed Tablets

According to a Midrash, Moshe smashed the tablets of the Ten Commandments when he saw the Children of Israel worshiping at the golden calf. The Midrash raises the question of why Moshe smashed them. After all, they were the very words of God to Israel. They were the Torah. We are taught to honor the Torah. Torah etiquette requires that we treat the scrolls of the Torah with great respect, not even touching it with our bare hands, and kissing our tzitzit after they have touched the scroll as it passes in procession. Yet Moshe, our teacher and lawgiver, smashed the tablets written with the finger of God. The Midrash goes on and explains that as the people worshiped at the golden calf, they were guilty of idolatry and stood condemned by the commandments. They would have been struck down for their sin. Moshe looked at the people, and looked at the tablets and realized Israel would die. He smashed the tablets in order to save the Jewish people.

Yeshua taught us that if we believed Moshe, we would have believed him, because Moshe spoke of him. The incident of the golden calf, as do many other places in the Torah, points to Yeshua. Yeshua is the Torah, the Word incarnate. He embodies the Torah of God. Yeshua did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Scripture teaches that we all stand condemned before God. God so loved us, that as Moshe smashed the Ten Commandments to save Israel, so God smashed his Son, the living Torah, that we might not be condemned. As Israel was redeemed at the cost of the destruction of the Ten Commandments, so we have been redeemed by the death of Yeshua.

Moshe returned to the mountain, and a second set of the commandments was brought forth and received by the people. So too, Yeshua will return, and be received by the people. This parallel does not prove Yeshua’s Messianic identity, it is part of many witnesses to who he is.

The question for us is this: God gave us his Torah to live by. To what extent do we order our lives by God’s commands? We may kiss it as it goes by, and read it every week, but when we go home, do we live according to the Torah, or are we worshiping at a golden calf of our own making? The majority of the commandments teach us how to live with those around us. I knew a man who liked to rant and rave about people not following the rituals and Holy Days of the Torah in a proper manner, and one could say he was zealous for the Law. Yet he treated people like garbage. A person can not treat someone like crap and claim to love God. The way we treat one another is an indication of how we really feel about God. A friend of mine said “You know you have made an idol when God hates the same people you do.” Moshe loved Israel. Even when they complained against him, he interceded for them. Yeshua said, “bless those who persecute you, and love your enemies.” It was the same thing. We were redeemed by God at a great cost. We should take it to heart and consider how we treat those around us.


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