A normal day today with a good night’s sleep, a great conversation with our customer this morning, and a good set of meetings in the office on campus. Brooklyn is slowly getting better but still has a cough as do I.
12 Since we have such a hope (a permanent hope in eternity because of the new covenant), we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains un-lifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:12-15 [ESV]
Paul could be bold because he ministered under the provisions of a permanent covenant, whereas Moses lacked boldness because the covenant under which he ministered, and its splendor, were fading away. We know that Moses veiled his face because he did not want the Israelites to be scared of the brightness of his face from seeing the Lord’s back as He turn away so that Moses could see Him on the mountain. When you read Exodus 34:33-35 you will read no inference that Moses veiled his face ‘so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor‘. Paul seems to have drawn two inferences of his own from the text: 1) that the brightness of Moses’ face did fade after a short while; and 2) that the reason Moses veiled his face was to conceal the end of the fading splendor from the Israelites. Paul saw in the fading brightness a symbol of the transitory character of the Old Covenant, and inferred that Moses, lacking boldness because he was the minister of a fading covenant, veiled his face so that the Israelites might not see its end.
“Israelites minds were hardened” – Remember that while Moses was on the mountain, the Israelites made a golden calf to worship, and it was likely the effects of that sin that resulted in their being unable to look upon the brightness of Moses face. This removes any impression that it was Moses fault that the Israelites could not see the splendor of the Old Covenant reflected in Moses’ face.
What Paul then goes on to say is that he could see this veil still in effect in his present day; he finds in the idea of the veil, a way of describing that hardness. Just as the veil prevented the ancient Israelites from seeing the brightness of Moses’ face, so too the same veil, as it were, remained un-lifted when the Jews of his own day read the Old Testament. They could not see that the old covenant had come to an end and the new had already arrived.
I have always thought of my sin a veil between myself and the Lord that I allow to exist. When I sin, I throw up a veil between myself and God. As I continue to sin, those become additional veils that more and more prevent me from seeing God’s hand and/or hearing His voice. It is only through brokenness, confession, and repentance that these veils are once again removed. This is why my life must be so closely nestled into my Savior that I 1) joyfully follow His commands in obedience and 2) when I do sin, the separation from Him causes me to dive back to His feet for forgiveness. Through His Love and Grace, I am then once again restored to a clear earshot of His will and purposes in my life. I think a lot of people think that this cycle is a remote thing that happens…but no, it is a daily cycle as we live this life in the flesh.
I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but He Who lives in me; and this life I now live in the flesh [a life wrought with failures, distractions, and sin], I live by faith in the One Who loves me and gave Himself for me.Galatians 2:20