The LORD said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.”
One thing we learn time and time again throughout the ongoing chronicles of human history is that you can’t break the words of God. Think of some of those first words that started the whole drama, such as, “Let there be light!”, and “Let the seas swarm with living creatures”, and “let their be stars in the heavens to mark signs and seasons.” These words of genitive power have pulsated through the universe ever since, binding every atom, holding every molecule, connecting all things in perfect harmony and balance, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them. We can deny them of course—deny that God ever spoke the words, deny that these words are still speaking with perpetual potency. We can even craft theories of origin and pretend that the cosmos rides on the back of a giant turtle or that life is an accidental cataclysm that sprung from some amoebic explosion or that the finite world has no depth of purpose outside the words we speak into it. But the sun keeps shining and the tides keep flowing and the seasons keep changing like a carousel dancing up and down to a heavenly song.
Now relate that truth back to Exodus 34:1. Yes, Moses shattered those testimonial stones in a fit of rage, and, yes, the people broke their covenant when they defiled themselves before that golden idol, but God’s words aren’t subservient to man’s will. His promise isn’t made null and void by our weakness. The truth of the testimony isn’t buried in the rubble of Sinai’s gorge; it’s as living and active as ever. See, friend, God doesn’t give Moses new words here in Exodus 34 as if Moses has broken the old ones; he just gets new stones. And He doesn’t speak a new promise to these rebellious sons and daughters of Abraham because they spoiled the first; He just reiterates the original promise afresh.
“Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will never pass away,” our Lord reminded us in John’s Gospel, and that’s a good word for us today as we watch our own society collapse around us.