Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3


The Tables of the Law Broken

Moses came from the mount with the precious record in his hands, a pledge of God to man on condition of obedience. Moses was the meekest man upon the earth, but when he viewed the apostasy of Israel he was angry and jealous for the glory of God. In his indignation he cast to the ground the precious pledge of God, which was more dear to him than life. He saw the law broken by the Hebrews, and in his zeal for God, to deface the idol that they were worshiping, he sacrificed the tables of stone. Aaron stood by, calmly, patiently bearing the severe censure of Moses. All this might have been prevented by a word from Aaron at the right time. True, noble decision for the right in the hour of Israel's peril would have balanced their minds in the right direction. 3T 341.1

Does God condemn Moses? No, no; the great goodness of God pardons the rashness and zeal of Moses, because it was all on account of his fidelity and his disappointment and grief at the sight of his eyes in the evidence of Israel's apostasy. The man who might have saved the Hebrews in the hour of their peril is calm. He does not show indignation because of the sins of the people, neither does he reproach himself and manifest remorse under the sense of his wrongs; but he seeks to justify his course in a grievous sin. He makes the people accountable for his weakness in yielding to their request. He was unwilling to bear the murmuring of Israel and to stand under the pressure of their clamors and unreasonable wishes, as Moses had done. He entered into the spirit and feelings of the people without remonstrance, and then sought to make them responsible. 3T 341.2

The congregation of Israel thought Aaron a much more pleasant leader than Moses. He was not so unyielding. They thought that Moses showed a very bad spirit, and their sympathies were with Aaron, whom Moses so severely censured. But God pardoned the indiscretion of honest zeal in Moses, while He held Aaron accountable for his sinful weakness and lack of integrity under a pressure of circumstances. In order to save himself, Aaron sacrificed thousands of the Israelites. The Hebrews felt the punishment of God for this act of apostasy, but in a short time they were again full of discontent and rebellion. 3T 341.3