Select Wisdom Brand

Moses and the Red Letters

Exodus 34:27-28
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.” 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.

Let’s contrast Moses’ forty-day excursion on Mt. Sinai with Christ’s forty-day excursion in the wilderness and see what we can uncover.

Luke 4 relays the scene of our Lord’s endeavor in this way: “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into 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 devil said to him, ‘If you are the son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live by bread alone.”’”

The first contrast I notice is that Moses comes to Sinai to receive a special word, but Jesus comes to the wilderness to deliver a special word. And the second is this: that Moses is in the safest haven he could ever be, sitting as it were at the doorstep of heaven, nourished by the sustaining words of God; but Jesus is in the most solitary and insecure place He could ever be, standing as it were at the doorstep of hell, bombarded by the suffocating words of the devil. What a juxtaposition! Effectively, Moses is the greatest man of his generation because he’s the only one capable of facing God for forty days and making it back alive. Jesus is the greatest Man in any generation because He’s the only One capable of facing the devil for forty days and coming out victorious.

But wait: isn’t it Christ Who teaches Moses in Deuteronomy 8:3 that “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD”? Isn’t it Christ Who speaks the Law to Moses here Exodus 34:27-28? Yes! Which means that the comparison between Exodus 34 and Luke 4 is greater than the contrast.

Because Christ’s words are the power and substance of both accounts!