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When Adjectives Fail

Exodus 31:18
And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

It goes without saying that you don’t see treasure hunters travelling around the world today looking for mere rocks, do you? Plenty of them are digging through rocks to find the good stuff, like golden lampstands and an Ark of the Covenant, which is why I find our Lord’s choice of material here the most effervescent part of this entire project. To me, these rudimentary stones most distinguish this masterwork as uniquely His.

For four chapters now, God has given Moses elaborate blueprints that include acacia-wood tables, objects covered in pure gold, priestly attire arrayed with sapphires and onyx stones, and a scarlet, purple, and blue-threaded veil that shimmers in constant candlelight, sparing no expense in His design of this heavenly embassy on earth, even recruiting the most talented craftsmen to bring the work to pass. Yet, now how he seals the project with the most precious touch of all—His own autograph as it were—the unique fingerprint that commemorates the masterwork as His—but in this one instance He doesn’t demand pure gold or unfiltered olive oil or the rarest rocks Moses can find from some dark cave in the remotest region of Sinai’s summit. He just chooses tablets of stone—that’s it. He could’ve written His testimony on the toughest stones to signify that they’re unbreakable, or on the sharpest stones to signify that they’ll cut to the heart, or on the whitest stones to signify their purity, or on ashen stones to signify that they’d been forged through holy fire, but He doesn’t! He effectively chooses the most common, most basic, most run-of-the-mill element of earth on which to leave His fingerprint.

What a picture of our Lord’s incarnational humility, friend! Even the golden Minora and the ornate Ark of the Covenant don’t shine with gospel-light like these tablets. We’d expect the King of heaven to write His Name in gold and sapphire and onyx stone and the most precious things of earth. But to find His fingerprints in ordinary places, in mangers and fishing boats and wildernesses, even in the very crevices of our common lives; that will always be the wonder of wonders.