I. ON THE STONE
ON the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled!
Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord descended on it in fire (Ex.19:16, 17)
And GOD SPOKE all these words: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery… “(Ex. 20:1). And He spoke out the first ever Laws to be followed by His people.
Gist of the… “TEN COMMANDMENTS:”
1. You shall have no other Gods before me. 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven or earth or waters … bow down to them or worship 3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God…. 4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 5. Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land of the Lord…..6. You shall not murder. 7. You shall not commit adultery. 8. You shall not steal. 9. You shall not give false testimony against neighbor 10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife or his man/maidservant. (Exodus 20:3 to 17 NIV)
They became the Basic Laws for man to adhere to, so that the community will not suffer due to an individual’s indiscipline, fault, crime or sin. These basic rules, especially #5 to #10 and others told in latter chapters in Exodus are adopted by many countries. Other laws were derived from them to give out the Philosophy of Law. The Lord gave many more rules to the Israelites to follow which are told in detail from Exodus 20:1 to 31:17. There is an elaborate list of laws and punishments for disobeying them. Laws for protection of property, personal injuries, social responsibilities, justice and mercy, Sabbath laws, annual festivals etc. were given. “Moses wrote down everything the Lord had said.” (Ex. 24:4). But God gave them written on his own creation, the stone, which will not decay or wither out due to climate. The Israelites preserved them in the Ark of the Covenant and carried The Ark, wherever they went. If they did not obey these laws, punishments were very severe.
“And when the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets OF STONE inscribed by the finger of GOD.” – (Exodus31:18).
II. ON THE WALL
“MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN”
BELSHAZZAR, the King of the Babylonians was scared to the core, when he saw A HAND moving on the wall and its fingers writing something which he could not understand.
It was in the middle of a banquet thrown by him for one thousand of his nobles, his wives and his concubines. While they were enjoying the party, the King came out with a novel idea. He ordered his men to bring the gold and silver goblets brought by his father Nebuchadnezzar from God’s temple in Jerusalem. They all drank wine from them and praised their gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron and stone. God did not approve of this and sent His judgment in the form of the ‘Writing on the Wall.’
He called all his wise men. But the King’s wise men could not decipher the writing. All were puzzled. Then the Queen suggested to the King to call Daniel for she knew that he had correctly interpreted the meaning of a dream for his father. Immediately, he called in Daniel and offered him a purple robe and a gold necklace if he could explain. Daniel refused the gifts but agreed to explain the meaning. He said:
MENE – God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
TEKEL – You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
PARSIN- Your Kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple (the royal robe of those days), and a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the Kingdom.
‘That very night, Belshazzar, King of the Babylonians, was slain and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom.’ (Read the story in Daniel Ch. 5 NIV). God did not forgive him for his misdeed. God had given the same laws to Moses to enact them strictly. No mercy was shown even to the King.
The phrase, ‘The Writing on the Wall’ thus became a Proverb.
III. ON THE GROUND
THERE WAS a large gathering in the Temple courts at Jerusalem. Pharisees and many Teachers of Law were also present in the big crowd. All of them were watching A WOMAN sitting in the middle of the crowd and another man silently writing something on the ground with his fingers, a little away from her.
Someone suddenly lost patience and shouted at the man: “Oh, Teacher! How long will you be silent? We brought this woman to you because she was caught in the act of adultery. (Read John.8:4) In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. Now, what do you say?” (Jn.8:5). (Their intention was to find fault with him).
JESUS, the Teacher, who was writing on the dusty ground with his finger. …. now lifted up His head and said: “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn.8: 6, 7).
And He stooped down and went on writing on the ground.
Sins like murder, drunkenness, orgies, debauchery, jealousy, and robbing the poor etc. were listed by Him. Those who went near to Him and read them were pricked by their conscience and left one after another, “for there is no one who does not sin.” (1 Kings 8:46). Soon, only the Teacher and the woman remained there. All those who accused her had left. There was none to throw a stone.
Jesus lifted up his head and asked – “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? (Jn. 8:10) She said: “No one, Sir”. “Then neither do I condemn you”-Jesus declared and told her: “Go now and leave your life of sin” . . . (John 8:11 NIV)
God bless the men who have consideration for the girl-child and for women and problems related to them. The law of ‘Forgiveness’ – the Gospel of Jesus is the same for men as well as for women. For the Word says: “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life.” (1 Peter 3:7 NLT). Even the First man tried to put all the blame on his woman for leading him into sin; let us avoid such temptation. God made Woman to support Man. She is not a servant or a slave to man. Be gentle to her- provide for her needs, protect her, and respect her.
SHE was forgiven of her sins by JESUS…!
The manifestation of God’s mercythrough Jesus!
‘To throw the first stone ‘ – became a proverb.
‘Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight …’
Author – C. Samuel Gift (Bethel Seniors Fellowship, Bethel AG Church, Bengaluru)
Read My Story